How does a working writer keep improving?

John August, successful Hollywood screenwriter and blogger, posts some thoughts on how to raise your game as a writer while working.

My advice for you is to dedicate one day a week to disassembling good movies. Take existing films (and one-hour dramas) and break them down to cards. Think of yourself as an ordinary mechanic given the task of reverse-engineering a spaceship. Figure out what the pieces do, and why they were put together in that way.

Visual storytelling is a critical skill in the novelist’s arsenal too, and one that is, I think, often underdeveloped.


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Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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