65 notes to make you a better writer

There is no ‘right way’ to write. It will take time, and some trial and error, but eventually you find what works for you and it becomes ‘your way’. There are however some truths and tools that are applicable to most writers and most Stories. Here are some I’ve collected and others I’ve coined for my own benefit. Take whatever you need.

“Whatever you say your protagonist is doing in your logline, they should be doing it as soon as possible in your script.”

— Anonymous

“If the story you’re telling, is the story you’re telling, you’re in deep shit.”

— Robert McKee

“Screenplays aren’t about words, screenplays are about emotions”

— Anonymous

“A Story consists of someone wanting something and having trouble getting it.”

— Douglas Glover

“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”

— Virginia Woolf

“The Present is imbued with the ghosts and shadows of each character’s personal history.”

— Scott Myers

“The Antagonist is the Protagonist of his side of the Story.”

— Anonymous

“Identify a theme before you start writing. Make it the DNA of your Story. Use it to shape every aspect of the script.”

— Satya Indra

“How much of your dialogue can be replaced with action? What can characters do to express something instead of saying it?”

— Satya Indra

“The universe expresses itself through writers. Soak up the world around you. Ideas, themes and hidden truths are abundant”

— Satya Indra

“I have learned the first rule of screenwriting is having no rules. Everyone has to find their own way of doing things.”

— Guillermo Arriaga

“A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.”

— Italo Calvino

“Some scripts are “page turners” because the end of every scene shoots like an arrow into the next one.”

— Satya Indra

“What does your main character fear? Find the answer. Make it happen.”

— Satya Indra

“The Story decides what happens next. Not you.”

— Satya Indra

“Always work on two projects at the same time. Write one. Prep the other.”

— Satya Indra

“If it’s not on the page don’t expect your readers to know it.”

— Satya Indra

“Finish your first draft. Don’t touch it for a week. Then read. The weaknesses will be more obvious.”

— Satya Indra

“Choosing what to write is the single most important decision you can make. It can save / waste years of your life.”

— Satya Indra

“Rewrite anything that makes you pause while you’re reading. If it doesn’t flow it’s got to go”

— Satya Indra

“Your script reads differently on the page than it does on the screen. Print it out.”

— Satya Indra

“The only reason to believe you have a great script is if other people tell you so.”

— Satya Indra

“How good is your script compared to your favourite film? That’s the level you need to hit.”

— Satya Indra

“In order to write a “page turner” end every scene with a cliff hanger.”

— Satya Indra

“Your best work manifests itself when you push your creative limits. Try and write something you don’t think you can.”

— Satya Indra

“You are a messenger and a creator. Say something worth saying. Write something that makes a difference.”

— Satya Indra

“Self-confidence is crucial to great writing. The key to confidence is lots of practice.”

— Satya Indra

“It’s OK if things don’t work out by the end of a scene. Sometimes it’s better if they don’t. Keep us hanging.”

— Satya Indra

“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about.”

— Natalie Goldberg

“There’s a difference between an idea and a Story. One is inspiration. The other is execution.”

— Satya Indra

“A poorly executed Story will kill a good idea.”

— Satya Indra

“It’s easy to blow shit up. But to move someone to tears, that requires real talent.”

— Satya Indra

“Your experiences are truly original and authentic. The dark places inside you are rich with inspiration.”

— Satya Indra

“Keep your script lean. Don’t write every single event. The audience will automatically plug the gaps.”

— Satya Indra

“The most important element of any script is the Story.”

— Satya Indra

“Every Story should enrich the audience. Send them home better than when they came in.”

— Satya Indra

“Seek out the things you do not know. Confront that which you are afraid of. Be the Devil’s advocate.”

— Satya Indra

“Being a real writer means being able to do the work on a bad day.”

— Norman Mailer

“The ordeal is part of the commitment. ”

— Philip Roth

“There is no Story unless you’ve written it. ”

— Hunter S. Thomson

“The most crucial question you can ask of your script is “Why?”. Every single line must have a purpose. If not, cut it.”

— Satya Indra

“A line of your favourite song could be the theme of your next movie script.”

— Satya Indra

“Stories choose their writers. They are all around us. Plot. Characters. Theme. Just look and listen out for them.”

— Satya Indra

“Authentic writers stand out from the crowd simply because they refuse to be a part of it.”

— Satya Indra

“Authentic characters please the Story not the writer.”

— Satya Indra

“Time away from a completed script is essential if you want to rewrite objectively.”

— Satya Indra

“There’s no point in saying anything but the truth.”

— Amy Winehouse

“Just because you’ve written script it doesn’t mean you’ve written a Story.”

— Satya Indra

“A great Story will always trump a cool idea.”

— Satya Indra

“In order to be created a work of art must first make use of the dark forces of the soul.”

— Albert Camus

“Conflict alone is not enough to power your Story. It must escalate from scene to scene.”

— Satya Indra

“Not only should your characters evolve by the end of the Story but you should be a better writer too.”

— Satya Indra

“Simple Stories have the dialogue express the theme. Advanced Stories have the structure express the theme.”

— John Truby

“I like to really live with an idea. A film is not a flirtation, it’s a relationship.”

— Richard Curtis

“Fictional characters, like real people, have an identity and a biography. They are rarely the same thing.”

— Satya Indra

“Suspense is usually stronger than surprise.”

— Satya Indra

“To know your Story you must know your main character.”

— Satya Indra

“The best type of writing paints pictures in the readers mind.”

— Satya Indra

“What makes an ordinary character a hero is the courage to do something extraordinary.”

— Satya Indra

“Actors seek the truth in order to deliver an authentic performance. Story demands the same of its writer.”

— Satya Indra

“Have characters go into a scene with different / opposing dramatic objectives. They will automatically clash.”

— Satya Indra

““Commercial” often means “suitable for America”. Don’t sell yourself short. There are lots of markets for your Story.”

— Satya Indra

“The fiction novel is the best example of how great Storytelling transcends geographic borders. Your screenplay is no different.”

— Satya Indra

“Write for you. Always be you. People all over the world can recognise authentic Stories written by authentic writers.”

— Satya Indra

“To be authentic is to say “This is who I am, take me or leave me” in every facet of your life, especially the art you create.”

— Satya Indra