Author Archives: Melanie Anne Phillips

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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What Is Story Structure?

Most writers are not story theorists, and don’t want to be. Still, an understanding of the way stories work can help support a writer’s instincts to make sure a flawed structure won’t get in the way of the creativity. So … Continue reading

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Plot Order vs. Exposition Order

The order in which events unfold in a story is not necessarily the order in which those events occurred to the characters within the story. In movies, for example, a story might open with a scene in the present, then … Continue reading

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Archetypes vs. Stereotypes

Archetypes represent human qualities we all share, such as Reason, Emotion, Faith, Skepticism, Conscience, and Temptation.  Stereotypes represent the different kinds of personalities we encounter in life. In story structure, archetypes, by definition, are characters defined by their plot function, … Continue reading

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