We’re big on filmMAKING as well as *just* screenwriting here at B2W, so make sure you check out these very real ways of ensuring your script actually gets MADE instead of languishing on your desktop forever!

This blog post is courtesy of Samantha Horley, who’s also written 6 Ways To Make Your Screenplay More Likely To Get Made on this site.

Make sure you also check out the giveaway at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!

Do YOU know to help your low budget film get made??

Lots of books, online tutorials and magazines offer hints about low-budget film-making, but they all seem to relate to ways you can cut costs, corners, improvise and save money.

But saving money doesn’t make your film better, it just makes it cheaper. Wouldn’t it be good if there were some just tips about how to make your low budget feature better?

Stephen Cleary is a story developer, author and feature film producer. He has spent the past four years helping to conceive, develop and executive produce low-budget films including 52 Tuesdays (winner best director Sundance Festival, Crystal Bear, Berlin film festival); The Infinite Man (SXSW Visions, winner Fantasia Film festival, Brussels International Fantasy Festival); Shut Up Little Man (Sundance Film festival, best documentary feature, best documentary director, Australian Film Awards), all of which secured domestic and US theatrical releases on budgets of less than £350,000 and in one case less than £20,000, all of which had first time feature directors, writers and producers.

In other words, Stephen Cleary KNOWS what he’s talking about when it comes to low budget, award winning film! So here’s Stephen’s Top 6 Things You Need To Do To Help Your Low Budget Film Get Made and Succeed:

1) Rethink what screenwriting IS

When time is limited you don’t develop, write, revise and polish a script 4 times, it takes too long. So how many drafts of the script should you plan for? Between 0 and 1. If you treat screenwriting for low budget the same you would for a normal film, you’re sunk. You still write, but not on paper so much. With the camera, with the actors, with short documents, in post-production.

2) Leave Your House

The inspiration for your story starts out there, not in your head. Low budget storytelling is the art of making the mundane compulsive. You start the story with what you’ve got, with those things in your life you can use at no cost. Most of those things are commonplace, dull and non-cinematic. All you have to turn them into career-enhancing gold is your imagination, but luckily that’s free too. But don’t imagine what you’d like: transform what you have.

3) Get A Gimmick

Call it gimmick, shtick, or USP, call it whatever you want, but if your film doesn’t have a distinction, something to make it stand out from the herd, then chances are, no matter how good your film is, it will be lost in the background noise created by the thousands of other low-budget films produced each year. In the low budget world, genuine distinction is at least as desirable as real quality. And if you could only choose one, you’d choose distinction. Quality means NOTHING if nobody notices it.

4)  Be Realistic With Time

Your relationship with your film is a brief, passionate affair, not a marriage. You make a successful low budget film for a variety of reasons: to get noticed and advance your career; to make something and learn rather than talk about making something and fester; to tell a great story in its most suitable form. You will most likely lose money though you may hit pay dirt, you will definitely be underpaid while you make it. You and your career just can’t afford to not be earning enough for years on end, because it will exhaust and depress you. So limit your commitment to a short time, but during that time give it everything. A low budget film made over 3 years is not a low budget film, because the time you invest has a price on it too.

5) Embrace The Constraints

Embrace your biggest problems because they are in fact your most exciting solutions. Look at what looks like the biggest problem in making your film. It’s only a problem because you want to tell the story without it. A terrible actor, a location that you can’t record sound in, a shooting period cut in half when funding plummets. Make these issues central to how you conceive the story and shoot the film and you’ll have a startlingly original piece of work.

6) Make Friends

Go to stuff, introduce yourself, take part. Everyone you meet is a potential collaborator, be they someone to become part of your team, support, sounding board, a person who owns a van/location/equipment /pink poodle to add to your list of resources. You haven’t written a list of resources? Write one, you may be surprised at how many you have.

Now, you might read this list and think it’s nonsense, or airy-fairy and impractical?

Well I have been around the conceiving and making of lower budget films more than most people, and I know, through practice and experience, that these are all critically important. Check out 6 Ways To Make Your Screenplay More Likely To Get Made by Samantha Horley.

COURSE:

For even more practical advice and information on how to write a low budget screenplay, come and see me at my “How Low Can You Go: Swapping Money For Imagination” workshop in London on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th June, in association with The Vipers Nest and Samantha Horley.

Meet potential collaborators, watch one of the films I helped get made, “The Infinite Man” which premiered at SXSW, and have a drink with some industry filmmakers. More info HERE.

WIN!

Win a FREE TICKET to this course by liking THIS POST on the B2W FB page and following the instructions. Deadline Thursday, May 5th at 5pm (GMT).

Good luck!

Like this post? Then please check out my books, HERE and share on your social media profiles. Happy writing!

Many thanks to Stacey Wonder at Essay Tigers for this great infographic and food for thought, today – GREAT way to kick off a rainy Monday!

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Having a great idea for a novel or a movie is just the first step to creating one.

The next and the most important step is writing that novel or movie. Do you fear that your work will turn out to be a total disaster … ie. You sit down to start, but all you end up with is a blank page??? Keywords “fear of writing” appears to have 260 monthly searches. This means you’re not alone with your problem.

But why not at least give it a try? One can never be blamed for trying! First, look for some help you may find over the Internet – advice, tips, other beginner author experiences. You can also use the infographic created by the guys from EssayTigers.com below.

Also, don’t forget that preparation is key:

  • Free-write a few pages in the morning to get the creative juices flowing and get your brain working.
  • Read a lot – whenever you have time, read a book, a blog article, a newspaper, even Facebook posts if you find them useful.
  • Rid yourself off all distractions – turn off social media notifications and if you are using the Internet keep your focus only on the articles you need for the story

These three tips have to become a habit for you to see the results. If you read a lot and free-write every day, you will soon start noticing positive changes – the wordflow will become A LOT easier. True story!

To actually ease the writing process look through the strategies in the infographic. The last part of the infographic is a helpful bonus to upgrade your writing – edits you might want to apply after you’ve written the story.

Without further ado, start your novel or screenplay. Give up all the fears and doubts. It will turn out great!

Surefire Writing Strategies
Courtesy of: http://www.essaytigers.com

Like this post? Then please check out my books, HERE and share on your social media profiles. Happy writing!

As any long term Bang2writer knows, I’m a big fan of planning. But yeah, I get why *you* might not be. Planning can be boring. You don’t want to do it. You want to DIVE INTO your draft.

But, look. Even if you ARE one of those uber-lucky people who can plot instinctively, you’re still going to *have* to come up with the goods at some point in the process. Money moguls and agents rarely have time to read entire screenplays (yes, really!), which is where things like “scriptments” and “sizzlers” really come into their own.

One of the most popular articles on this site is How To Write Screenplay Outlines, Beat Sheets and Treatments. The fab @ETyrrellMedia has transformed this post again into an easily referable infographic for you all.

Remember:

As a script editor, I see waaaaay too many good concepts go down the swanny structurally due to lack of planning, but more often: I’ll actually see great writing, yet the concept behind it is confused, derivative or even missing altogether! Yet without a great concept, we got NOTHING.

Planning actually HELPS our writing: it can ensure we road test our concepts; or maybe it will help ensure we set up and pay off.  It can help us FINISH our drafts faster. It can even ensure we sell our ideas “off the page” better to producers, investors, agents or potential audiences!

What’s not to like? (Apart from doing the work, of course).

KNUCKLE DOWN!

How to write Screenplay Outlines

More on B2W About Planning, Pitching & Selling Documents:

8 Tips For Perfect Pitches & Super Selling Documents

On Writing: Why Planning Beats Seat-Of-Your-Pants Every Time 

WHY This Story? … Or 8 Questions They’re **Really** Asking

Infographic: 6 Tips For Writing A Great One Pager

Infographic: How To Write TV Series Bibles

Like this post? Then please check out my books, HERE and share on your social media profiles. Happy writing!

2 HEADS ARE BETTER THAN 1

Writers often see their writing as a task that is done alone, but why is that? In school we learn that two heads work better than one, but often as adults we seem to move away from that.

Here are 5 reasons why you should look into writing collaboratively, starting today:

Reason 1: Stop writer’s block, once and for all

Have you ever begun writing a story, well-planned or not, then got stuck half way through? Maybe you should remember group work in school. Your teacher/professor assigned you a task and you had to work with other students to get a result. Even though you might hope you’ll get an equal effort from every group member (which often times doesn’t happen), you still manage to get the assignment done! The work doesn’t have to be perfect, it’s more the effort that counts. MORE: On Writing: Why Planning Beats Seat-Of-Your-Pants Every Time

TOP TIP: SOME work, will always trump NO work! So keep going.

Reason 2: Write directly **with** your fanbase

There aren’t many things more disappointing than working diligently to finish a story and it not being well received (as Sad Affleck might feel right now!).

So, have you ever wanted to know what your readers would think of your chapter or book BEFORE you finish it? I’ll assume that the majority of you will say YES!

You may be surprised of the many benefits of releasing the beginning stages of your work to the masses before it’s perfect. But doing this gives you the opportunity to read the comments and feedback to reflect on aspects you could have missed, mistakes you could have made, details you needed to add, etc. MORE: 6 Things To Remember When Dealing With Writing Feedback

TOP TIP: Use platforms like Skrawl, Create50 and Wattpad to get feedback AS you write and feed it into your story and revisions. Reason #3: Get Competitive!

In the writing world, you’re competing with hundreds of other writers for notoriety, plus readers for their attention. But when do you compete to test yourself? Hardly ever, I bet.

Sites like Skrawl can encourage writers by having them work together. One person begins the narrative (called a “bit”), then others submit their entry on what they think should happen next. The community then votes on their favourite entry. The winner’s entry becomes the NEXT part of the narrative!

TOP TIP: Using contests like Skrawl’s can motivate you to write, plus contests can also create deadlines and parameters for your stories. MORE: 4 Tips For Building Your Screenwriting Competition Submissions Strategy

Reason # 4: Spark A Debate

It’s never wise to go with just ONE idea or opinion. Whether you are debating on a character’s name, the result of a boxing match last night, or if that dreamy celebrity would make a great spouse, writing it out with a likeminded community can prove to be very helpful. You won’t be tempted to settle for your own thoughts on a matter, instead you’ll see both sides for comparison and reflection … This makes you a better writer!

TOP TIP: Find other people online for discussion and debate, feed it into your writing. Join Bang2writers on Facebook to find your tribe!

Reason #5: Build your OWN community

Building relationships online is the ideal way to find your audience. Social media makes this easier than ever: blogs, Youtube, Twitter hashtags, Facebook groups and other platforms enables you to create a following and ensure you can get your story out to your ideal fanbase. What’s not to like? Get going!

TOP TIP: Create a “following” for your project and bring your fanbase to YOU. MORE: Connecting With Other Writers, Filmmakers & Agents Online

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BIO: I’m Allie Daniel – I work full-time managing communities and making chaos out of my own. I’m what you call an occupational nomad because of the vast amount of projects I love to get involved with. Long story short, I’ve worked in areas of non-profit, production (film/editing) and social media.

Like this post? Then please check out my books, HERE and share on your social media profiles. Happy writing!

NEWSFLASH!

We all know that part of “making it as a writer” (whatever that means) is STANDING OUT. If people don’t know about you, or what you do, then putting it simply: you’re at a MASSIVE disadvantage.

Build It And They Will Come

This is where the internet comes in. I’ve literally built my career as a script reader and script editor via this blog, so I know first hand a GOOD platform can not only help, it can bring you the very people you want to work with!

“Productivity”, “blogging” and “success as a writer through blogging” are three frequent searches leading to this blog, so when Jessica from from BloggingBasics101 got in touch with this infographic, I thought it would be of use to you Bang2writers.

Market Yourself AND Your Writing

What I love about blogging is it basically PROVES you know your stuff. If we have an effective blog, it proves we are effective writers. What’s not to like?!?

I’ve been talking a lot lately with writers who want to STAND OUT from their peers. Each time, I’ve recommended they think of themselves as “content marketers” – in other words, PROVE you know what you are talking about and that you’re easy to work with, the people you want will be pulled into your sphere of influence.

No, it doesn’t happen overnight. It can be a frustrating journey where it feels like you’re merely chucking spaghetti at the wall, I get that – especially when you *think* no one is listening. But trust me, more people are listening than you THINK. Keep going!

Be A Better Blogger, Be A Better Writer

What’s more, though the infographic applies predominantly to blogging, it can also relate to good CREATIVE writing in either screenplays or novels, too.

As everyone knows, I’m a big fan of number 4, for example. The 80/20 Rule is also a GREAT way to think when  finding new contacts, too. If you go out there, wanting to HELP others, you’re more likely to find those who will want to help YOU!

Don’t forget: talent is great, but it’s relationships that get you hired. GOOD LUCK!

More on blogging and productive writing:

5 Habits Of Highly Productive Writers

6 Tips For Boosting Writing Productivity 

6 Ways To Find Success As A Writer With Your Blog

10 Tips On Being A Productive Writer

10 Reasons Your Blog Sucks

Plus, B2W Is Featured In:

13 Tips from Popular Bloggers to Beat Procrastination and Write Productively

Blogging Basics

Being an effective blogger makes you a better writer

Via Bloggingbasics101.com

Like this post? Then please check out my books, HERE and share on your social media profiles. Happy writing!

Wanted: Good Stories, Well Told

If we want to beat the gatekeepers, it’s very simple: we have to give the readers what they want: a good story, well told. But HOW do we do this?? After all, what “good” stories or even “good” characters can vary, person to person … Is it any wonder the odds are against us??

NEWSFLASH: There Is NO Magic Formula

… Or if there is, it’s not talent or luck based, it’s just plain HARD WORK! That’s the bad news.

But it’s also the good news, because if you knuckle on down, you DO have every chance of Making It As A Writer (whatever that means).

Decide on your STRATEGY

Whilst it’s true certain mediums and markets are more difficult to break into than others, but if you want something? Go for it! Wherever your passion lies, whether it’s TV, feature, short, web series, you need to decide what you want AND resolve the pay the price to get it.

So, THIS Is What You Do: “Reader Proof” Your Script!

I talk a lot about “reader proofing” your screenplay, which many think is *just* about ensuring you don’t get busted when it comes to screenplay format. Whilst format and presentation *is* part of it, it reader proofing is SO MUCH more!

“Reader proofing” relates to what Script Readers WANT when they open your screenplay. I decided to break down exactly what B2W wants and came up with this infographic, which I broke down into stages:

READER PROOF FUNNEL

YEP: It’s All About STORY And CHARACTER

As connoted by the diagram, the BIGGER the stage, the more IMPORTANT it is … and check out where Format is!! Oh yes, right at the bottom. That’s not to say Format isn’t important, but there IS a whole swathe of stuff FAR, FAR more important if you want to give that gatekeeper your “good story, well told”!

Want MORE Script Reading Secrets?

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Just some of the orgs B2W has read for

My course with LondonSWF, BREAKING INTO SCRIPT READING (May 7-8th 2016, Ealing Studios) is perfect not only for wannabe script readers, but savvy writers who want to know how script readers work. Can you afford to miss out??

CLICK HERE for full details of the course (or on the pic on the right), including feedback from past delegates. We expect it to sell out again, so act now to avoid disappointment. Enter discount code LONDONSWF to get a whopping £40 off at the checkout.

See you there!!!

Like this post? Then please check out my books, HERE and share on your social media profiles. Happy writing!

How To Get Your New Ebook

So, it’s been a little over two weeks since BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE hit cinemas – and it’s fair to say it’s had the internet and social media in meltdown. Critically panned, overall the “word on the web” is not good (even though 70% of movie-goers reported they liked it, intriguingly).

As any Bang2writer knows, one of my favourite things is jamming a stick in virtual hornet nests, so I decided to wade RIGHT INTO the debate, creating a new eBook, B2W SCRIPT EDITS BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE.

In it, I break down my response to the story and characters I perceived in the movie, based on how I understand the characters of Batman and Superman; what I think I saw on screen; not to mention my experience of script reading, editing and filmmaking. GET THE BOOK HERE, or click the pic below

B2W Script Edits

Want to be a script reader?

Or maybe you’d rather put lit matches under your fingernails than watch BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE? I get that. I’m a somewhat “hostile” superhero fan, having been dragged through just about *every* comic book movie by my nerdy son. (That said, the gratuitous shirts-off action in most of those movies is valid compensation IMHO, so swings and roundabouts!).

However, if you want to be a script reader (and maybe a script editor, too), then this ebook still might be for you. In it, I break down:

  • The difference between script reading and script editing
  • What a script reader assesses in a work
  • How development can depend on whom’s working on the project
  • Why different perceptions matter
  • Why character role function is key
  • Why BATMAN VS SUPERMAN is ultimately a Thriller
  • How structure is nearly always a movie’s biggest concern

In the very least, I watched BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE – several times! – so you don’t have to. SO DOWNLOAD IT NOW!!

Pssssst – Don’t Forget My Script Reading Course!

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Just some of the companies B2W has read for

My course with LondonSWF, BREAKING INTO SCRIPT READING (May 7-8th 2016, Ealing Studios) is perfect not only for wannabe script readers, but savvy writers who want to know how script readers work. Can you afford to miss out??

CLICK HERE for full details of the course (or on the pic on the right), including feedback from past delegates. We expect it to sell out again, so act now to avoid disappointment. Enter discount code LONDONSWF to get a whopping £40 off at the checkout. See you there!!!

B2W Edits BATMAN V SUPERMAN – Reviewed!!

B2W Script EditsMany thanks to my script editing colleague Karol Griffiths for this great write-up on my BATMAN V SUPERMAN ebook. Karol has twenty years’ experience in the script editing trenches, so she’s worked with all the big wigs, such as Warner Brothers, Universal, Disney, Paramount and Fox Studios, Amblin Entertainment, The Coen Brothers, Working Title, Rajski Productions, Interscope Pictures, Sandollar Productions, Revelations Entertainment, BBC, ITV and La Plante Productions! Her book, THE ART OF SCRIPT EDITING came out last year and is available in bookstores and on Amazon. Over to you, Karol:

Bang2Write’s Lucy V Hay (writer, blogger, teacher, script editor and overall powerhouse) has once again journeyed through controversial territory in order to explore the craft and pitfalls of screenwriting.

In her latest ebook, Lucy examines the recent release of BATMAN VERSUS SUPERMAN – a film highly anticipated, and which has now opened to (mostly) negative reviews. Never afraid of swimming against the current, Lucy delights in making up her own mind and sharing her views on what works and doesn’t work within the film and script.

As we all know, storytelling is subjective – I went in to see this film with zero expectations and like Lucy, was pleasantly surprised by how much I actually enjoyed it. It’s not a perfect film but it’s a lot better than most of the comic book films – and certainly deserves better reviews than it has been getting …

But, whether you liked the film or not, this ebook offers substantial food for thought. It’s a quick and fun read that will get you thinking, and Lucy’s insights entertain and inform – all with an eye to helping writers improve their craft.”

I’m delighted Karol is giving the ebook the thumbs up … Thanks Karol!!! (You can see even more reviews from my beta readers, below).

9781843445074BIO: Karol Griffiths currently runs her own freelance consultancy and is passionate about working with writers in all media formats. She is a reader for the BBC Writers Room and The Literary Consultancy in London, and has a Master of Fine Arts Degree from Yale School of Drama and a Script Development Diploma from NFTS. Check out her great book, THE ART OF SCRIPT EDITING (or click the pic on the left), plus you can visit Karol’s website, HERE.

BVS QUOTES

Like this post? Then please check out my books, HERE and share on your social media profiles. Happy writing!

Here at B2W we are always looking for ways to turn the good writing into great writing, so today we’ve compiled a list of 20 talented ‘experts’ that prove talent can only take us so far, but hard work and perseverance will ALWAYS pave the way to our success!

B2W talent

1) Paulo Coelho

“Talent is a universal gift, but it takes a lot of courage to use it. Don’t be afraid to be the best.”

 2) Robert McKee

“Feed your talent. Research not only wins the war on cliché, it’s the key to victory over fear and depression.”

3) Hans Zimmer

“Nobody beats me up as much as I beat myself up. This is what I love doing and I have one life to do it in, I better do it right.”

4) Maya Angelou

“Talent is like electricity. We don’t understand electricity. We use it.”

 5) C.S.Lewis

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

6) Albert Einstein

“Genius is 1% talent and 99% hard work.”

7) Jennifer Lee

“Don’t lose faith in what you are trying to do, even though you will get pummeled emotionally left and right. There are a lot of NOs to any YES. And that’s OK.”

8) Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Talent alone cannot make a writer. There must be a man behind the book; a personality.”

9) Henry Van Dyke

“Use what talent you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.”

10) Stella Adler

“Your talent is in your choice.”

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11) Joseph Campbell

“Follow your talent and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.”

12) Steven Spielberg

“Filmmaking is all about appreciating the talents of the people you surround yourself with and knowing you could never have made any of these films by yourself.”

13) Pete Docter

“Work hard! In the end, passion and hard work beats out natural talent.”

14) Oprah Winfrey

“Talent means following your passion, it will lead you to your purpose.”

15) Johnny Carson

“Talent alone won’t make you a success, neither will being at the right place or right time, unless you’re ready. Are you ready?”

 16) George Lucas

“Everybody has talent, it’s just a matter of moving around until you’ve discovered what it is.”

17) Erica Jong

“Everyone has talent. What’s rare is the courage to follow it to the dark places where it leads.”

18) Dean Koontz

“I really believe that everyone has a talent, ability or skill that he can mine to support himself and to succeed in life.”

19) J.K.Rowling

“Talent and intelligence, never yet inoculated anyone against the caprice of the fates … ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure.”

20) Steve Jobs

“I’m convinced that what separates the successful from the non-successful is pure perseverance.”

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IMG_8071BIO: This list was compiled by Olivia Brennan aka @LivSFB – come find me online at MY BLOG, on Twitter, on the B2W Facebook page and the new B2W Facebook group. See you there!

 

 

Know any other great links?

Bang-BangThen share in the comments below with the Bang2writers! Also, you can now join Bang2writers as a Facebook Group to share scriptchat, links or post leads, collaboration opportunities or find fellow writers for peer review. JOIN HERE or click the pic on the left.

Like this post? Then please check out my books, HERE and share on your social media profiles. Happy writing!

killer words

When you’re reading all day, every day, for work AND for pleasure you tend to notice how *certain things* slip by (maybe?) unchallenged, even into produced and published works.

So here’s B2W’s official top 10 of the words that MOST make me, “WTF??” when I see them, again and again and again … Enjoy!

1) Obviously

This is a huge screenwriting no-no in scene description, but I see it pretty much every day, usually describing something we’re supposed to be seeing on screen that pertains to the plot in some way. I’ve noticed too this has started to slip into books as well, both unpublished and published, indie and traditional. Yet it’s a horrible, redundant word. It’s simply not needed. Get rid, STAT.

2) Liquid

Whether it’s BLOOD or COFFEE, authors in particular have started to call it “liquid” – seriously? Just say what it bloody is, people. C’MON! Also, please for the love of PETE authors, stop obsessing on coffee in general. Same goes for screenwriters, endlessly having their characters “cradling” and “nursing” drinks. STOP IT.

3) Feel

In screenwriting, what you SEE is what you GET, so characters “feeling” anything is pretty redundant. Novel characters don’t fare much better, because it frequently ends up passive. AVOID.

4) Saline

I don’t know if this has *always* happened, but just recently I’ve noted writers – both screenwriters AND novelists – calling TEARS “saline”. I’ve literally read 4-5 published books and a stack of screenplays in the last couple of months doing this. WTAF? Now, I like a good synonym as much as the next wo/man but seriously, there is such a thing as going too far. But don’t take MY word for it, remember veteran author’s Stephen King’s advice here: Don’t describe AROUND the subject, just say what the thing is.

5) Wonder

Just like number 3 on this list, “wonder” opens up a whole world of pain, not just for screenwriters but novelists too, as Fight Club’s Chuck Palahniuk points out when he says we all need to get rid of thought verbs. As Palahnouk right says, words like “wonder” (and its countless synonyms) become short cuts. Here’s 5 Quick Ways To Elevate Your Prose To The Next Level.

6) Clearly

A variation of number 1 on this list. Go to the naughty step!

7) Scalding

OH LOOK! This one is *so* ubiquitous, it’s even in the the actual bloody definition OMFG:

STOP IT WITH THE SCALDING LIQUID, PEOPLE!!

STOP IT WITH THE SCALDING LIQUID, PEOPLE!!

I’m gonna go out on a limb here. NO ONE in the real world takes sips of scalding tea or coffee on a regular basis. I would venture most actual adults KNOW when beverages are too hot to drink.

Yet, according to a huuuuuuge number of published novels, characters SIP SCALDING DRINKS REGULARLY. Yes, they may burn themselves, but why??? WHY  SIP SCALDING DRINKS AT ALL??? 99.9% of the time it doesn’t even serve the story. It just feels like FILLER. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! 

(Oh, by the way, combine “scalding” with “liquid” for maximum RAAAAAAGE points from me! You have been warned … OH and if you want to use “scalding” to do with “scalding words” — WHY NOT. PLEASE DO. JUST DON’T TALK ABOUT SCALDING LIQUIDS OMG! Ok I’m done).

8) Look

An obvious one here, screenwriters and novelists. “Looking” is not a *real* action. And yes, same goes for all its synonyms, from “regard” to “glance” to “gaze” to whatevs, yawn yawn yawn.

So leave this one alone, so when you really DO need it, ie:

Their eyes lock. OH SHIT!

It has actual IMPACT, then. Seriously, have a look through your work. How many synonyms of “look” can you find? Do you need ALL of them?

9) Sit

Too many screenplays – and novels, now you mention it – have what I call “false movement” in. In other words, the writer is so worried about “placing” the characters IN the scene, s/he ends up STAGE MANAGING them, rather than telling a story. Don’t let your scenes become static.

10) Fucking

Okay, actual fucking IS a real action – and if you’ve got this in your screenplay or novel, you’ll get a thumbs up from B2W. No, what I mean here is “fucking” as an ADJECTIVE  to describe *whatever*, especially in speech. It’s hopelessly overused, especially in screenplays but novels too, particularly unpublished ones.

So as hypocritical as it sounds FROM ME, just drop the swearing, okay??? PS. Screw you. MORE: F*ck Off, You C*nts: All About Swearing.

Don’t forget:

Cliche-o-rama phrases like these below DO NOT go down well (chortle) … In prose, dialogue OR in loglines my friends:

“[Character] battles his/her demons”

[To a police character]: “I’ll have your badge!”

“[Character] has to learn to love and live again”

“At the end of the day …”

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this …”

“[This story situation is] just the tip of the iceberg”

Want more? Then check out this awesome and alphabetised mammoth list of 681 Cliches To Avoid In Your Creative Writing.

Bonus!

You’re not **off the hook** yet (arf), writers! Here’s one more that turns up endlessly in both spec works and published books I read (I may even have written it myself!). But what is it??? Here you go:

“I let out a breath I didn’t realise I was holding” 

AKA “The Evil Sentence”: if you want to see a STACK of published books that include this phrase, CLICK HERE.

Yes, Yes I know …

AT THE END OF THE DAY, no writer is perfect, I get that – not even me! We all have to BATTLE OUR DEMONS and what I outline here is JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG!! 😛

What is key, however is having the knowledge, wherewithal and WEAPONS to get rid of these pesky beasts. So get going!

Want to beat The Gatekeepers??

Slide2

Just some of the orgs B2W has read for

My course with LondonSWF, BREAKING INTO SCRIPT READING (May 7-8th 2016, Ealing Studios) is perfect not only for wannabe script readers, but savvy writers who want to know how script readers work. Can you afford to miss out??

CLICK HERE for full details of the course (or on the pic on the right), including feedback from past delegates. We expect it to sell out again, so act now to avoid disappointment. Enter discount code LONDONSWF to get a whopping £40 off at the checkout. See you there!!!

Like this post? Then please check out my books, HERE and share on your social media profiles. Happy writing!

Read Phil’s previous guest post on B2W, Is Your Screenplay Ready? AKA 12 Qs To Ask Of Your Writing, HERE.

Many thanks to Phil Gladwin, head of Screenwriting Goldmine, for getting in touch with this eye-opening graphic on how to beat “the gatekeepers”, such as script readers, not to mention the MANY other people up the chain! Yikes! Over to you, Phil:

“I get a lot of questions about the UK TV industry, and how it all works … So, after a few of those arriving all in one day, I sat back, just mostly for my own amusement, to draw up a structure of the script commissioning process.

I found it SO interesting (and, if I’m honest, slightly alarming!) to see how just many connections have to be made for a script to get from a writer’s desk to the screen, that I ended up commissioning an infographic to get the info out more widely.

I do hope your Bang2writers find it useful – I think the main thing is it shows just how important it is to for writers to get out there to know people.

Bang2writers may also be interested in the fact I’ve just launched a new industry newsletter to help with this. We’re calling it Open Door, and the goal is to help people by giving them the information they need to make vital industry connections. With this kind of information they can really plan their writing careers in the most effective way. Find out all the info about Open Door, HERE“.

Thanks, Phil!

Gatekeepers

Read Phil’s previous guest post on B2W, Is Your Screenplay Ready? AKA 12 Qs To Ask Of Your Writing, HERE.

Like this post? Then please check out my books, HERE and share on your social media profiles. Happy writing!