Working methods: SHOOTING FROM THE HIP

Confession time: While I have been carpet bombing readers here with how-it-should-be-done posts on story structure, character build-up, dialogue and other essentials recently, now it’s time to fess up.

I don’t take my own medicine.

That is, I am with medicine like most men; I don’t take it unless I feel sick. When I’m working on a story or a script, I just write. I don’t think about plot structure much, about inciting incidents, act breaks or even the purpose of the scene. I go completely on instinct, hoping my insticts have been primed from reading and watching stories for so long, and from learning how it all connects. But ask me what my act II turning point is, I draw a blank. I’m sure it’s there. I just haven’t looked for it.

I know the rules. I don’t write from the rules. I just write.

And then I read what I wrote.

And if something is off or isn’t working as well as I had hoped for, I’ll grab my rulebook and see if I missed an important story element or beat somewhere. It’s like swimming. Do you think about what strokes to take when you’re swimming? Probably not. If you stop to think about it, you sink to the bottom.

Write from the heart, rewrite from the brain.

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