Inciting Incident (book cover)

Does your story beginning set you up for success…or failure?

The beginning of your story has to captivate audiences. At the same time, it must get your plotting pieces in place. Solve this marketing-plotting conundrum with the new edition of Inciting Incident. You’ll learn:

  • how to time your inciting incident for best effect, including how to delay it without aggravating audiences
  • how much “everyday” world to use before the inciting incident—and when reducing these pages can backfire
  • 8 ways to start your story (and why some “controversial” beginnings might not be as bad as you believe)
  • how to tell whether your prologue is justified
  • how to fix a story that starts too fast (rather than too slow)

Download instantly for $4.99: *

* International prices may vary.

How the Surgeon General Can Save Your Screenplay

How the Surgeon General Could Save Your Screenplay

We’re all familiar with the surgeon general’s warning slapped on cigarette packs.

Reducing the glamorous mystique unfortunately associated with smoking, it looks something like this:

Surgeon General's Warning

Surgeon General’s Warning

The general’s words are a warning and a disclaimer. Hey buddy, this product has some negative qualities.

When we show the screenplay we’ve developed to a writer’s group (or even to a loved one who knows nothing about screenwriting), we often add our own disclaimers:

ASPIRING SCREENWRITER'S WARNING: This is just my first draft.

Screenwriting disclaimer #1

ASPIRING SCREENWRITER'S WARNING: My screenplay starts slow, but it picks up.

Screenwriting disclaimer #2

ASPIRING SCREENWRITER'S WARNING: I know the ending is a little out there (although secretly I think it's incredibly inventive).

Screenwriting disclaimer #3

Tobacco companies use disclaimers to protect themselves from future lawsuits. When we’re in the process of developing a screenplay and sharing it with others, we also use them as protection from criticism.

And that’s not such a bad thing, although I’d argue that it’s better to hand over your work without any commentary. That will increase the odds you’ll get an evaluation from a fresh, unbiased pair of eyes.

Sometimes, however, we don’t use disclaimers for self-protection, but for self-sabotage.

The thought process goes something like this:

I’ve had a bad day. I’m tired and irritable. I’ve never done this before. I have no clue what I’m doing. My characters are so unoriginal. Everything I’ve written has been unoriginal. And everything I’m going to write today is going to be unoriginal…so why even bother?

Don’t allow this cycle of negative thoughts to psyche yourself out. Get them out of your head and onto paper.

That blank page you’re staring at with such reluctance?

Fill it with your disclaimers.

Every single one as they pop into your head.

Then you’ll witness the most amazing thing:

The disclaimers stop. They turn into something else.
Slugs. Vivid images. Clever dialogue.

Gold diggers of the prospecting variety (not the Heather Mills/K-Fed kind), had to mine a lot of ore to find gold. Likewise, you’ll have to slog through junky, uninspired pages before you hit your vein of golden screenplay goodness.

Die and Cigarette Pack by LaserGuided

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous storytelling article:

Next storytelling article: