**NOTE: This article was adapted from a section in our new book, The Break In.
In real life, sane people generally try to avoid dangerous, uncomfortable situations. In storytelling, you must learn to do the opposite. Creating reasons for your hero to fail or back out of the challenges presented to him or her is vital to making the audience care about your story.
Conflict is the cornerstone of great storytelling because it demands change. Our favorite heroes in movies are the ones who encounter the most difficult circumstances and, as a result, change for the better. Whether or not we realize it in the moment, we love stories with heavy conflict because they inspire us to make heroic choices when we encounter obstacles in our own lives.
Keep reading Three Types of Conflict in Stories
Until recently, I’ve never really thought of myself as “writer.” It’s always felt like a chore more than a thrill. Regardless, it’s become a huge part of my career. Of my average workday, about 75-80% involves writing in some form – screenplays, emails, blog articles, or shownotes for our podcast.
You may not spend quite that much time writing, but I’d bet if you really think about it, you do more writing than you realize. Most of our communication involves writing in some way, even texting our friends or posting a caption on Snapchat or Instagram. Of course, there’s a big distinction between this basic communication (texting, emails, social media) and the practice of sitting down specifically to put our stories or ideas onto a blank page.
Keep reading 5 Reasons Writing Daily Will Make You a Better Person
In the fall of 2010, Michael Allen and I began writing our first screenplay, Believe Me. It was our first narrative project to write together, and naturally we had some growing pains to deal with. We would meet at a bar called Spiderhouse near the University of Texas and delve through ideas, trying to get on the same page. We had a general idea of the direction we wanted to go, but the tone and the attitude of the film was still up in the air.
Keep reading Writer’s Block: How One Song Saved Our Film Careers