I get a lot of messages from people asking if I have ‘any writing tips’ for them – my answer is always, ‘YES! LOADS!’
But I was in a silly mood today so I thought I would flip this notion on its head and offer up some HORRIBLE writing tips, that are absolutely GUARANTEED to make you fall flat on your arse as a writer. (You’re welcome!). Here we go …
1) Don’t both studying craft
Intuition alone is enough to guide you through the components of a brilliant script and story! You know it.
2) Research is for losers
Your imagination is rich and varied, just fill in the gaps yourself. You’re a writer, right??
3) Hah suckers!
Don’t be concerned about whether your ending pays off adequately – you got the bums on seats, they HAVE to watch it!
4) Don’t sweat the small stuff
Nobody’s perfect, so don’t worry about typos, punctuation and grammatical errors. No one notices anyway.
5) NEVER rewrite!
You’ll only spoil the magic of that first draft and dilute your writer’s voice. Do it first time OR ELSE.
6) Forget about networking
People will realise your genius and come to you, obvs.
7) ONLY pound out those pages
Ignore your friends and family until they hate your guts; sleep as little as possible and do not enjoy yourself. You are a tortured artist.
8) Quit your day job immediately
Work gets in the way of your writing. Living in poverty is character building.
9) Forget about genre
Various genres and subgenres are just lazy writers’ signposts for equally lazy audiences.
10) Ignore structure
It’s a stupid formula for stupid people, writers and audiences alike.
11) NEVER pander to what audiences
How cares what audiences want! They can like what you give them or lump it!
12) Be as obnoxious as possible
This is what true creatives are REALLY like.
13) Be high fallutin’
Be as mysterious and ambiguous as possible in your plotting and characterisation. Make the reader work hard!
14) You don’t need to make sense
Don’t worry about narrative logic or consistency, keep your readers on their toes by changing things up whenever you feel like it. If the script reader can’t keep up, that’s his/her problem!!
15) The first 10 pages can kiss my …
The first 10 pages are simply for introducing characters. Make sure you tell us their entire backstory up front, then we can relate to them. Make the audience wait for the story to start, tell them it’s worth it!
16) Don’t bother finding out what has gone before
NEVER read or watch movies or TV shows that are like yours. You might get influenced by it!
17) Images, schmages
Don’t worry too much about your opening image or writing visually. Great screenwriting is SOLELY about the dialogue!
18) Do not ever read for other writers
Critiquing won’t help you, only them – and you don’t want more competition, do you???
19) Always be RIGHT
If you receive constructive critique, be as adversarial as possible and make sure you ‘win’ by pointing out what they have ‘missed’.
20) Do not use screenplay software
It’s good discipline to constantly have to move format elements around the page in MS Word.
21) Make life difficult
Do not use apps or Dropbox or anything that makes the writer’s life easier. You are a tortured artiste, remember!
22) Reject the rejections
Write back harshly worded emails and letters to people who have rejected you. Remind them of your genius whenever possible and tell them they will regret it.
23) Be paranoid
Never take the advice of produced or published writers. They’re trying to ensure you don’t come up through the ranks and nick their spot in the industry.
24) Be paranoid # 2
Accuse everyone of trying to nick your ideas, your scripts or exploit you.
25) Rely on FATE
Don’t bother setting goals or evaluating your progress. Just throw spaghetti at the wall randomly, as and when the mood takes you.
26) Don’t do your foundation work
Don’t bother road-testing your concept. Just keep writing, it’ll work out in the end.
27) Pour your efforts into ONE thing
You don’t need a portfolio. Keep writing the same screenplay, non stop and tinker with it for years.
28) Ignore EVERYONE
Don’t listen to any of the ‘gurus’; never go to screenwriting events like London Screenwriters’ Festival; don’t read blogs; watch videos or listen to podcasts; and don’t check out free writing advice on social media. What the hell do these people know!
29) Never show your writing to anyone
It’s the only way to make sure the beauty of your writing prevails.
30) Get angry and bitter
This will fuel your genius and you’ll SHOW THEM GODDAMMIT! To prove this, write your complaints and rage all over the internet, so people can see how right you are. Yeah!
Want GOOD writing tips from a script reader’s POV?
Then come to my new course this February 3-4th, 2018 at Ealing Studios, Breaking Into Script Reading! Whether you want to be a script reader yourself, or to learn how readers view YOUR work (or both!!), this is the course to learn what readers value in screenwriting. Over two days, we will put writing and networking under the microscope to take you to the next level. Don’t miss out!
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