I have said this in my last three sets of notes to clients, so it may be a more global problem than I’ve thought.

Make sure that pretty much nobody in your story gets along perfectly with ANYBODY.

Imagine a relationship is a 100 pound block of ice sliding around on another 100 pound block of ice. If they are a little melted, they’re going to slide around easily and with zero friction. Now, you the writer throw some sand in between them. Suddenly it’s tougher to slide them around. Bingo! MORE SAND!

Two people who get along with no problems are boring. The reader wants to see tension, conflict, worry, angst, trouble trouble trouble. In nearly every relationship. I have mentioned a couple of times in my notes “Your hero does not seem to have very many problems.” “They get along too well.” “The story is overall bland… no rising tension… everyone is too happy.”

Go through your entire story and say to yourself, “How can I make the reader suffer as he reads? Look at your script and think, “Do they seem too happy here? Is everything going too well?” “How can I make it A LOT worse for these guys?” “What can I do to make it worse…” Put on, not your emerald colored glasses, but your deep-blue-agonizing-blues glasses and skewer your hero…

Make it harder for the characters and the read will be better to write and better to read.


1 Comment

Filed under character, Rewriting, Screenwriting


  1. Melody Lopez

    and what I learned from Will Akers reviewing my opening image set of three scenes…also be sure that the problems you make them have DIFFER in each scene…and that it is CLEAR and OBVIOUS to the reader…and not subtle and nuanced only to you the writer…

    it was eye opening to realize that the three scenes I crafted weren’t different enough for SOMEONE ELSE to realize the various “character reveals” I was ATTEMPTING… Will Aker’s Notes to me was that it wasn’t advancing the story…although I was trying to “set up the story” by showing the way other characters related to the main character…I was in essence “repeating” myself with showing the way everyone alienated her…I probably could have achieved all that in 1.5 scenes.. (I’ve yet to revise it)…but thought I’d share the lesson with this group all the same…

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