muzak | books | pics | flics | about

My Thirty-Two Laws of Writing in No Particular Order

Jack Feldstein

The truth is that laws must first be known before they can be broken.
  1. There should be conflict in each and every scene.
  2. Characters should want something in each scene.
  3. Characters should be in charge of their own destiny.
  4. Don't neglect irony.
  5. Characters rarely speak the subtext.
  6. Use your kinaesthetic. Be in the scene.
  7. Minutiae mean something. Details make the scene.
  8. Know what your character desires and fears most.
  9. Surprise is important.
  10. Each character has their point of view.
    Identify their attitude to the things that happen.
  11. Often characters have illusions about themselves.
  12. Characters don't always tell the truth. They may hide things. Or lie.
  13. Where is each character's anger?
  14. Characters are only human. They make mistakes.
  15. Set up, feed and pay off later. The rule of threes.
  16. Stakes should be high for the character.
  17. There are 3 conflicts possible.
    • Global: with the world.
    • Local: with a person.
    • Inner: with oneself.
  18. Characters are not dumb. They think like you and I.
  19. Characters like to talk about themselves. I "I" factor.
  20. Make them laugh. Make them cry. Make them wait.
  21. Externalise. Dramatise. Use props.
  22. Set up the stakes at the start.
  23. Remember class. Believability. Style.
  24. Characters may speak the truth and confront.
  25. Using what is in the script to build on.
  26. Words are not always necessary.
  27. Use dialogue to form pictures. Analogies may help.
  28. Characters may question the plot and each others' motices.
  29. Assertive, pro-active characters are dramatic characters.
  30. In the script, make it difficult for characters.
  31. Characters can be self-aware.

And finally for those suffering from low self-esteem and insecurity,

    32. Remember to breathe, you're doing your best.