Screenwriting : Principles or rules? by Frank Van Der Meijden

Frank Van Der Meijden

Principles or rules?

Story is about principles, not rules.

That one sentence says everything about creative writing in general. Writing by rules kicks out the magic.

I myself give lessons 'creative writing' to college students, and this introduction from Robert McKee always has been relevant and is here to stay, if you ask me...

Craig D Griffiths

I believe story is about people and their life, experience, dreams and goals. I use theme/question to examine all this.

Story is a force it cannot be contained or defined by rules, forms or people. Defining it, lead to codifying, which leads to standardisation, which enables scammers to point to that and say “I know the rules”.

CJ Walley

One of my favourite takes on this was by RB when he said a lot that advice out there isn't a strict set of directions, it's a compass bearing to help you find your way.

Dan Guardino

I know all the so-called rules people talk about and most of them came from unsuccessful screenwriters who turned to teaching and writing how to books. I am not putting them down because people do learn from them I just don't feel compelled to follow in their footsteps.

Doug Nelson

When I teach my collage level beginning screenwriting class I begin by explaining that screenwriters don't need no stinkin' rules. Many have a difficulty understanding the difference between format and structure.

Jose Eduardo Penedo

We've all heard stories, read books and seen films since we were kids. Our brains have a way to tell a good story from a bad one. Let your characters guide your story, forget about theories!

A. S. Templeton

As George Bailey said, "I'm shaking the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I'm gonna see the world--Italy, Greece, the Parthenon... the Colosseum. Then I'm coming back [to Bedford Falls] and go to college and see what they know, and then I'm going to build things."

The point being, get some real-life experience before presuming to write. Study writing theory, for what that's worth, then move beyond it and write something fresh and unexpected that is more likely to be entertaining and of course profitable to all.

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