Author Archives: Melanie Anne Phillips

Why Characters Misunderstand Each Other

This article was originally written as part of an early draft of our book on the Dramatica theory of narrative which but was never included.  It seeks to describe how characters come to misunderstand each other, and how this can lead to conflict. … Continue reading

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4 Writing Tips for Novelists

1. Novels Aren’t Stories A novel can be extremely free form. Some are simply narratives about a fictional experience. Others are a collection of several stories that may or may not be intertwined. Jerzy N. Kosinski (the author of “Being … Continue reading

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Happy New Year, Writers!

I’ve been teaching creative writing now for more that twenty-five years, and here are my best tips for starting your new writing year: First, schedule your writing time like you would a dentist’s appointment. Why?  Because as Dorothy Parker once … Continue reading

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10 Screenwriting Tips

Screenplays are blueprints for movies. As such, they are not art, but instructions for creating art. Therefore, there are two things every great screenplay must have: A good story, and a clear and understandable description of how it should be … Continue reading

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Is Story Structure A Myth?

A whole flock of Story Gurus (myself included) will tell you that stories have structure. Therefore, if you learn that structure you’ll improve your stories. Ostensibly, this will lead to fame, riches, a keen sense of accomplishment, and the unparalleled … Continue reading

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Do You Write Like An Actor Or A Director?

There are two ways to approach the craft of writing. The first is to step into the role of each character and write it very personally, as if you were an actor portraying a part. The second is to consider … Continue reading

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Is Your Story Coming Apart at the Themes?

Even when a story has memorable characters, a riveting plot and a fully developed genre, it may still be coming apart at the themes.  In this article, we’ll find out how to recognize this problem, and what to do about … Continue reading

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What Is Truth? (The Character’s Dilemma)

Characters reflect real people in a purified or idealized state.  And so, we can see in them qualities and traits that are hard to see within ourselves.  One of the most difficult challenges we face every day are exemplified by … Continue reading

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Jurassic Park – Building A Better Dinosaur

One way to improve your writing is to look at a good story and learn from it.  Another way it to see what’s wrong with a bad story and think about how to fix it.  But you seldom see writers … Continue reading

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What Drives Characters?

As writers, we all know that characters need drive or their actions will come across as unmotivated.  But what is drive, and where does it come from? At a minimum, every character needs a reason to explain the choices they … Continue reading

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