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Revenge of the Clams

John and Craig look at phrases that have been banned from comedy writing rooms, and more generally why making a list of what you will never do can help you figure out what you should do.

Stories Within Stories (Within Stories)

Allow me to set the scene. A young couple is on a road-trip through New England. It’s just coming on to dusk as they approach a small town in rural Maine. In need of gas and food, they turn on to the main road. Their car engine splutters and dies. It’s only then that they […]

Scriptnotes, Ep 277: Fantasy and Reality — Transcript

John August: Hello and welcome. My name is John August. Craig Mazin: My name is Craig Mazin. John: And this is Episode 277 of Scriptnotes, a podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters. Today on the podcast, we are going to be looking at the ways that writers and screenwriters in particular […]

Fantasy and Reality

Craig and John look at how writers, and screenwriters in particular, impact the way people think about things in the real world. From crime scenes to courtrooms to CPR, we simplify things for storytelling and leave audiences with skewed expectations.

Mammoths of Mercy

2 weeks agoArts / Writing :

Writer-director Chris Sparling joins John and Craig to discuss his new film Mercy, and what it’s like to make a movie for Netflix. Then it’s another round of How Would This Be a Movie, with stories including ex-girlfriends, fake news, and permafrost ivory.

Creative Writing: DIY MFA with Gabriela Pereira

You don’t need a degree in writing to make a living as a writer. I know because my degrees are in Theology and Psychology, not writing, and I’m doing alright ???? Today I talk to Gabriela Pereira about the pros and cons of an MFA. In the intro I mention: Amazon opening up its Ad […]

2016 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 17

For today’s prompt, write a paper poem. The poem could be about something made of paper, made with paper, or a document–like a contract, deed, will, etc. It’s a great time to unpack your origami poems, paper plane poems, or even your spit ball poems. Show More Summary

From Projective Verse to Tape Hiss

You’ll want to queue up some William Basinski for this one. At Jacket2 John Melillo considers the medium of tape as it figures in archival recordings, particularly those of Charles Olson. Melillo notes Olson’s concern with the recording apparatus during a reading a Goddard College in 1959 when Olson asks the audience: “What happens if […]

Soundbites vs Story: The Fear Factor

3 weeks agoArts / Writing : Writer Unboxed

David Pacey via flickr There is a lot of fear in the world these days. More lately. Much more. Story can help. Stories ask us to slow down and take stock. Twitter, screaming headlines and clickbait encourage us to do the opposite. And sheesh, that’s a strategy that plays into Mother Nature — our biology. […]

English is not Latin

John and Craig look at how movies and TV shape the English language, and how writers should think about their role in all of this. We also examine the uncomfortable overlap between rom-com characters and stalkers.

November 2016 Cover Artist: Jessie Mott

  Poetry magazine’s November 2016 cover features Pegasus by Jessie Mott, which was commissioned for Pegasus & Mermaids, a group exhibition of work by Poetry cover artists (Mott’s Janet appeared on January 2014). From the very start we knew we needed her for the show in a big way. Show More Summary

Welcome to Gator Country

Craig and John listen to the winner of the Austin Film Festival’s pitch competition and discuss what makes it work so well -- and why you would never give this form of a pitch in an actual meeting.

2016 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 1

Time to start another November PAD Chapbook Challenge. Let’s poem! For today’s prompt, we’ve actually got a two-for-Tuesday prompt. So pick one, combine both prompts into one poem, or write two (or more) different poems. Here are the prompts: Write a stay poem. Show More Summary

Jimmy: What I Learned From My Father About the Criminalization of Black Griot Culture and the Poetics of Rehabilitation

We shall be riding dragons in those days, black unicorns challenging the eagle/ we shall shoot words with hooves that kick clouds, fireeaters from the sun, we shall lay the high white dome, to siege, cover screams, with holy wings, in those days we shall be terrible— Joseph Jarman I was so young when it […]

Non-Fiction Writing Tips And How To Live a Good Life With Serial Entrepreneur Jonathan Fields

The road to success is not a straight line. In today’s show, Jonathan Fields talks about his zigzag route as an author-entrepreneur, tips for writing non-fiction and his latest book, How to Live a Good Life. This is a pre-recorded intro as I am currently travelling in Israel. If you want to see the photos, […]

Abbey Lincoln’s Scream: Poetic Improvisation as a Way of Life

We are standing under a glaring spotlight screaming at the tops of our lungs, from the backs of our throats which we grind together to access black blues unwords, thymus against heart, blue in green meridian, that aquamarine plexus that water and sky correct and regulate in us. We want ugly beauty. We want to […]

How To Use Data Science To Write And Sell More Books With Chris Fox

Can we really combine creativity with algorithms to write better stories and sell more books? In today’s show, Chris Fox explains how we can. I’m still away so this is a pre-recorded intro and scheduled in advance. In the introduction,  I mention the Pulse Pounders thriller bundle, a limited time deal including a load of […]

Provoke, Mine and Activate Your Artistic DNA

2 months agoArts / Writing : Writer Unboxed

Please welcome powerhouse author Bernice L. McFadden to Writer Unboxed today! Bernice is the author of nine critically acclaimed novels including Sugar, Loving Donovan, Nowhere Is a Place, The Warmest December, Gathering of Waters (a New...Show More Summary

DJ Rashad & the Body Electric Poetics of the Chicago Footwork Scene

Right Temptation The synths fire like the loaded guns planted in the middle of the jungle gyms on the playgrounds of Chicago’s Southside neighborhoods, black breaking as jade breaks astral fabulous in the pavement.  And the one-line blues sample is the bloodied body of the stricken, rising, chicken spot in the corner of one eye, […]

Passion: The Best Fuel for Your Writing

2 months agoArts / Writing : Writer Unboxed

This week I wrote a non-fiction essay about something I felt really strongly about. The topic isn’t important; what’s important is that I wrote the essay because I had to, because I needed to do something with all the frustration, rage, fear, grief, and other things I was feeling. I posted it on social media, […]

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