Screenwriting Tips... You Hack
Break Time

Hi folks. This is a quick post to let you know that I’ll be taking a few weeks off. Regular daily tips will return at the end of January.

You may have noticed that I’ve been taking more short breaks recently. I feel it’s necessary to avoid burning out. After all, I’ve been writing daily tips for (almost) 1200 days in a row! I’m confident that I still have a lot to say about screenwriting. However, I also think that I may eventually need to transition to a less rigorous update schedule — say, two or three posts a week.

But that’s all in the future. For now: good luck, happy writing, and I’ll see you in a few weeks!

P.S. If you need to contact me in the meantime, please feel free to drop by my Twitter feed ( or email me at

Screenwriting Tip #1207

Ideally, every major choice a character makes should either A) strengthen what we know about them, or B) challenge what we know about them. If it doesn’t do either, maybe it doesn’t need to be in the script?

Screenwriting Tip #1206

Biopics aren’t the whole story of a person’s life, from birth to death. They’re the story of one particular flaw in that person’s character. The question is whether they overcome the flaw or it overcomes them.

Screenwriting Tip #1205

Keep it moving. If you feel like a scene is slowing you down, end it early.

Screenwriting Tip #1204

Don’t start with static characters and try to manipulate them into conflict. Start with loud, argumentative, restless, ambitious, larger-than-life characters and put them in the vicinity of each other.

Screenwriting Tip #1203

Don’t feel bad about destroying large parts of your story world. You created it; you can uncreate it.

Screenwriting Tip #1202

Don’t apologize for your weird idea. Embrace it, explain it, and learn how to make others understand it.

Screenwriting Tip #1201

The longer you wait to introduce the main villain, the bigger and bolder her first scene should be.

Screenwriting Tip #1200

As a writer, you have two choices: you can either reinforce society’s comforting lies, or you can find your own truths and tell them.

Screenwriting Tip #1199

The earlier you can foreshadow the major themes and conflicts of your story, the better.

Screenwriting Tip #1198

Nothing in a draft is sacred, and everything can be cut. Once you accept that, all your “impossible” story problems will start to resolve themselves.

Screenwriting Tip #1197

Figure out what really matters — to you, to the protagonist, to the audience’s interests. If you could live without a certain scene, you should cut that scene.

Screenwriting Tip #1196

If you don’t like a character, nobody else will. If you’re not attracted to a character, nobody else will be. And if you don’t hate the villain, don’t expect the audience to either.

Screenwriting Tip #1195

When you get on a roll, whatever you do, don’t stop.

Screenwriting Tip #1194

Your job is to convince others that what you see in your mind’s eye is important, feasible, and makes narrative sense.