Advice — christina hamlett

The Dreaded Doppelgangers (or "Why I Reject Scripts About Twins Twice As Fast")

Posted by Christina Hamlett on

When I was in high school, there were three sets of twins – two fraternal and one identical. The latter - a pair of sisters a year ahead of me – were a particular object of fascination. What would it be like, I mused, to have a lookalike sib who excelled in the very subjects that weren’t my strong suit? Would our parents be so attuned to our personalities that we couldn’t occasionally trade places? Would we ever ignore a chance to play tricks on friends or make shopkeepers think they were experiencing déjà vu? I remember peppering these girls...

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The Curse of Quirky Parentheticals

Posted by Christina Hamlett on

When I was a young aspiring writer, I had a strong aversion to the use of "said" in a story. My justification was that it was blah. It was uninspired. It was pedestrian. Why use "said," I rationalized, when there were so many other words in the English language that were way more expressive? Throughout high school composition classes, my characters squeaked, pontificated, reflected, mused and accused. As if that weren't enough to spice up their conversations with one another, I was also generous in my deployment of adverbs. After all, who's going to make for a scarier villain: the...

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Keeping Your Writing Resolutions

Posted by Christina Hamlett on

Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. - Mark Twain Ah, January! A new year, a fresh slate, a virtual meadow of pristine winter white that stretches for miles in front of us. Where oh where do we put our first footprint or make that first goofy snow angel? If you're like most people, this is the month for throwing oneself with gusto into an aggressive self-improvement program involving the words "diet" and "exercise." Remember all those glam party invitations last month you couldn't...

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Why Based on a True Story Movies Repeatedly Unravel

Posted by Christina Hamlett on

Based on a true story is one of those unfortunate catch-phrases that usually has the opposite effect in courting a producer's enthusiasm than most writers assume. Of the several hundred projects a year I review as a script consultant, nearly 20% are prefaced with some variation on the theme "Everything in this plot really, truly happened." Translated: "That's why I know/hope/expect you will really, truly like it."Whether such events happened personally to the author or someone else, however, these claims of authenticity garner pretty much the same reaction as whenever I see a car sporting one of those perky yellow...

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Finding Inspiration in the Cookie Aisle

Posted by Christina Hamlett on

The arrival of Daylight Savings Time three weeks early this year heralds the approach of a long stretch of summer for you to finally get cracking on that screenplay you've always wanted to write. There's only one obstacle: Where to find a fresh story to whet the appetite of prospective producers and appease moviegoers who are hungry for a plot they can really sink their teeth into. If you're gleaning a slick segue here to the topic of food, it's a theme that figures prominently in Where the Plots Are, my current work-in-progress which affirms the fact that extraordinary muses...

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