Links to Favorite Articles

General Topics:

25 Bad Writer Behaviors :: FUNNY and spot on!

Meet the Reader - "How I Do What I Do" :: Ever wonder how a reader goes from start to finish when reviewing or critiquing your screenplay? The second half of the article is especially helpful for those writers who are new to critiquing the work of peers.


20 Things You Should Never Do in a Pitch Meeting :: Same applies to interviews - because that's what a pitch meeting is: an interview (just replace your resume with a script)

Recommended Beat Sheet / Outline

Posted: Sept 22nd, 2012
Written by: Screenwriters Anonymous

The outline. The most effective and essential tool any writer could employ to bring their story from cradle to grave. Start to finish. Fade in to fade out. And every other cliche that helps you properly lay out your storyline while hopefully hitting the beats and plot points necessary and typical of most successful movies.

There's no standard for outlines; simply use one that best works for you. Some use a simple bullet point with one line descriptions. Others will use scene numbers with detailed actions and characters, such as:

The file below was shared with me and, in my opinion, is quite impressive. So I wanted to share this with the SA readers. It's in MS Word format so you'll be up and running in no time.  Download document from this shared Google Drive account:

Let me know your thoughts or comment about the style or format of outlines that have worked for you.

3 Keys to Failing as a Writer

Posted: Sept 16th, 2012
Written by: Dave Trottier
If you’re going to fail as a writer, then you might as well get it over with now. Then you can focus on your day job and watch television all night. The following 3 keys are guaranteed to unlock the door to instant  failure and free you to flop like a floundering fish on the floor.

1. Just say no
Why didn’t you think of this before? Stop writing. It’s as simple as that. Wait for huge blocks of time to open up, and refuse to write until they do. Now that’s  commitment!  Don’t touch that keyboard until your Muse flies down from Olympus to reveal the 101 master plots. Failure comes to those who wait. And don’t listen to barkers like that Trottier fellow who tells you to make realistic writing goals and make time to achieve them.“Writing is its own reward,” he says. What kind of bull crap is that? Remember, success comes one day at a time, but failure is an all-or-nothing deal. You can have it right now by not acting right now. Insist on your story unfolding immediately to you at this instant, or find relief with a TV remote. With any luck, you’ll be unconscious before those pesky desires to reach your God-given potential begin to bother you.

2. Listen to those voices
You know which ones. “You’ll never amount to anything,” and “This is the biggest waste of time since Dole ran for president.” And don’t forget to repeat this next one ten times before you fall asleep each night: “I’ll never be Hemingway.” And you never will! Affirm that. Of course, Hemingway will never be you, but that’s beside the point. Face your fears and back off. When you are tempted to write, seize this thought: “My work is worthless until it is absolutely perfect, and since it can’t ever be perfect, I am the most wretched creature to ever pick up a pencil. My writing is an embarrassment to the free world. Pay no attention to those who talk about developing your craft or listening to Joseph Conrad’s“inner voice that knows.” What inner voice? That’s just the result of a half digested Whopper rotting in your gut.Have it your way
and take a nap from the joy of creation.

3. Submit before you’re ready
How can you possibly know when your script or manuscript is ready to be submitted to a potential buyer? It’s never ready. Send that unfinished work out now so that it will be rejected, proving that “those voices” mentioned earlier are right on the mark. Why waste time striving for excellence when you can fail with grace, knowing full well that it wasn’t your best work that was rejected anyway. And don’t waste time with a marketing plan or research. Just find some names in a directory or book and mail off some half-baked query letters. The rejection slips will give you the perfect excuse to end the writing madness once and for all. Remember,the road to Heaven is paved with a helluva lot of effort. You don’t need the pain. Most importantly, clear your mind and medicate. Here, have a beer…and some doughnut holes. Don’t
you feel better with writing out of your life? Now, shuffle up to that remote and sit down. There, there; everything is going to be just fine. Nighty night. 

DAVE TROTTIER has sold or optioned ten screenplays (three produced) and helped hundreds of writers break into the writing business. He is an award-winning teacher and in-demand script consultant who was ranked in the top 6% of the"Cream of the Crop" script consultants in CS Magazine (2010).
Dave is the author of The Screenwriter’s Bible and Dr. Format Tells All, and is the friendly host of


  1. Every screenwriter should read rule #1. When not writing anything is more painful than writing junky pages, you know you've got a writer's heart.

    Terry Rossio, Pirates of the Caribbean scribe, has a great article on this topic:

  2. Great article link, Scribe!! Just finished reading it - felt like I did three rounds with Mike Tyson (well, more like three seconds with Iron Mike).