Write and Sell Nonlinear Screenplays: Nolan, Kaufman, Tarantino, and More

Write and Sell Nonlinear Screenplays: Nolan, Kaufman, Tarantino, and More

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Writing a nonlinear narrative feature screenplay demands a comprehensive understanding of storytelling structure. This presentation discusses nonlinear storytelling with an eye to the theory that screenwriters must understand the conventional rules of screenwriting in order to successfully break them. Anticipating and understanding what film industry folks require is essential to writing a screenplay that breaks the rules of the traditional three-act structure.

During this presentation, Susan Kouguell offers specific tips for creating nonlinear narrative scripts. Advice and discussion includes analyses of both traditional and nonlinear structures seen in various films, strengthening visual storytelling, developing and implementing character and plot conflicts, and genre consistency. Discussion also covers understanding film executives’ expectations without compromising the writer’s vision and creativity.

Susan Kouguell brings to this class a unique perspective; an award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker of six short experimental narrative films, working in various capacities in the film industry, as a writer of over a dozen feature assignments, as a story analyst and story editor in the development departments of studios and independent production companies, and as a screenplay and film consultant since 1990. Susan shares her experiences, working at the major film studios and with Oscar and Emmy award winners, focusing on writing nonlinear feature-length screenplays.


  • What film executives demand in a successful nonlinear narrative screenplay.
  • How to tell a dramatic story with an unconventional structure that an audience will care about.
  • How to avoid common pitfalls when writing nonlinear narrative screenplays.
  • Tips on executing nonlinear narrative structures.
  • Advice on raising the stakes in the plot of nonlinear structures.
  • Insights for writing gripping scenes and compelling characters.


  • Screenwriters seeking information, inspiration and guidance from an industry insider who’s been in the film trenches (and survived) for over 25 years.
  • Screenwriters interested in learning more about nonlinear narrative films.
  • Aspiring and professional writers looking for hands-on and inspiring tools for developing and writing a successful nonlinear narrative feature.
  • Producers, directors, and actors, seeking insight into the writer’s mind and work process.
  • Screenwriters who want to challenge themselves.
  • Screenwriters who are looking to strengthen their screenplays.
  • Writers, filmmakers, and producers living and working anywhere on the globe.
The Writers Store does not offer any refunds for the webinar. All sales are final.