Stop Writing JOKES!

Writer-illustrator-vlogger-blogger, Stephanie Bourbon, has some helpful hints about characterization. Check ’em out right here.

Stop Writing JOKES (and focus on character)
by Stephanie Bourbon

I have a great blog today that will help you if you are writing any story that has characters—-so ALL of you!!

But first, here is a new eBook that I have created and I’m giving it away for FREE.


If you want to write something funny the very first thing you need to do is to STOP WRITING JOKES!

“But, Stephanie, every film writing guru says 3 jokes per page??”  SIGH—they are wrong. 

And here is why. 

Have you ever watched a show or film or even read a book that was supposed to be a comedy but it fell flat? Yes, you have, we all have and it’s like time we can never get back–unless you are a writer and then you can use it to understand more about the process. 

PRO TIP–everything is learning how to be a great storyteller–everything. 

In Steve Kaplan’s workshop for comedy, he talks at length about this and why character drives the story AND THE COMEDY. It all comes from character.

Let me repeat, it comes from CHARACTER, not jokes. 

I have a friend who is now writing for television and for years I would tell him to stop with all the jokes….

Read it all at

Former Larry Brody student Stephanie Olivieri Bourbon has found great success as a writer, illustrator, and expert consultant. This article first appeared in her blog at

No Real Mentor in Your Life? Turn to Your Dream Mentors Instead!

Larry Brody’s first mentors were Emmy winner Bill Blinn, s-f great Harlan Ellison, and some crazy old bird named Gene Roddenberry. He got lucky and would be the first to tell you that.

But what if you don’t get so lucky? Who can a new writer turn to when their RL lets them down? Here’s one answer that’s pretty darn good.

by Elizabeth Yuko

Mentors are great in theory, but don’t always play out the way you want them to in real life. Perhaps your chosen mentor isn’t as helpful as you had hoped, or you can’t find a mentor to begin with. If that’s the case, journalist-turned-blogger Joanna Goddard has a suggestion: Make a list of your dream mentors and ask yourself what they’d do in or think of a given situation. Here’s how to do that.

Harness the power of your dream mentor

When she first started her blog, A Cup of Jo, in 2007, Goddard says that there really wasn’t much out there in the way of advice for creating or sustaining that type of platform. So without any mentors she could work with in real life, she made a list of people she considered mentors from afar—people she had never met, but whose opinion she trusted. For Goddard, this list included “magazine editor Pilar Guzmán, author Anne Lamott, force of nature Michelle Obama, and neck-hater and all-around genius Nora Ephron.” Whenever Goddard wasn’t sure what to do or how to handle a situation, she’d ask herself “What would Michelle Obama think about this?” and then tried to do that (or at least her version of it)….

Read it all at

How Does A Writer Know They Have The Right Idea?

Filmmaker Brian Avenet-Bradley is here to remove all our creative anxieties. (Now all this TVWriter™ minion has to worry about is my uncreative ones.)

Brought to us by our industrious  friends at Film Courage, who clearly know a good idea when they meet up with it.

Cartoon: Balance

TVWriter™’s all-time favorite artist/philosopher, Grant Snider, lets us in on how he balances his life. Well, erm, tries to balance it anyway.

See more of Grant Snider’s extraordinary perception of human creativity at Incidental Comics, HERE

Check out his new book!

Is publishing finally changing for real this time?

Nathan Bransford, one of TVWriter™’s favorite writers and writing consultants speaks his mind about the latest developments in publishing. (You know, that part of the writing biz where our work is said to be “by Your Name Here” instead of merely “Written by Your Name Here.”)

by Nathan Bransford

Could the publishing industry finally be changing? For real this time?

The last few months have brought a huge amount of change to the leadership of some major publishers. Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy, Knopf publisher Sonny Mehta, and Random House publisher Susan Kamil passed away, and editor Nan Talese announced her retirement.

And in a huge, huge shift, the publishing industry is looking outside of its own ranks for more diverse leadership. Simon & Schuster hired Dana Canedy, formerly the administrator of the Pulitzer Prize, as its publisher, and this week Penguin Random House announced that National Book Foundation head Lisa Lucas will be the new publisher of Pantheon and Schocken Books.

This is big for two reasons. For one, the lack of diverse leadership, the lack of turnover, and the publishing industry’s habit of promoting from within meant that, in the words of One World publisher Chris Jackson, “we’re really talking about a 20- or 30-year project to get those people into senior positions as they work their way up.” Essentially, a multi-decade gauntlet through a culture rife with micro-aggressions and systemic blind spots (at best)….

Read it all at

Need help with your book? Nathan is available for manuscript edits, query critiques, and coaching!

For my best advice, check out Nathan’s guide to writing a novel (now available in audio) and his guide to publishing a book.

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