Random Generators: Gimmick or Untapped Resource?

I think it’s safe to say that most writers who have regular Internet access have used a random idea generator at some point in their lives. Why not? Ideas are hard to come by and always seem to evade us when we need them most. When people want to write but don’t know WHAT to write, that missing bit of inspiration (whether it’s an occupation, a setting, or a complete premise) can be filled in by a machine. Ain’t technology great? Continue reading

The Importance of Fanfiction

(Fanfiction, in case you didn’t know, is just what it sounds like: fiction written by the fans of a book, a film, or a TV show that uses the same characters and/or setting as said book, film, or TV show.)

The other day I was talking with someone in one of my classes about fanfiction and the fact that some fanfiction (50 Shades of Grey being the best-known example at the moment) goes on to become published work under new character names. She said she didn’t think this was so good, and that fanfiction really ought to stay fanfiction. I think she had a point, but I also think that fanfiction has a place in the world of a professional writer. After all–as I pointed out to her–is writing for television not just glorified fanfiction? Continue reading

Why TV Writers Need to Watch TV

People who want to write are often told that they should read as much as they can in order to improve their craft. “Readers are the best writers,” we are told, with this phrase being up there with such popular refrains as “write what you know” and “show, don’t tell.” Likewise, people who want to write for television are advised to watch a lot of TV (read: be an average American college student during finals week). But how important is it really? Continue reading

Backstory: Why It Matters

We all know that desires are what drive the action in a character-based story, but where do these desires come from? It’s important for a writer to know exactly what factors in a character’s life fuel his or her actions. I’m talking good actions, bad actions, inactions, whatever. It all has to come from somewhere.
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