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Writing is rewriting... You should rewrite your rewriting too. ~Seven screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker

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Great tips from "Seven" screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker.

To be a good writer, have a sense of structure and remember that writing is rewriting.

Good stories are built on the word “but”, not the word “and.” This insures that there are twists and turns, and a relationship between what came before and what will come after.

What’s the second thing you need to do? Revise. First drafts are never final drafts. Here’s Andy:

That golden rule that “writing is rewriting” gets ignored a lot. Completing it is one thing, but then going back to the beginning and completing it again is the most important part of the process. In fact, I would say “completing it again and again.” You should rewrite your rewriting too.

Andy's main points about how to improve your writing:

  1. Structure lets readers know they’re in good hands. And finishing a draft is just the start. Writing is rewriting.
  2. Surprise comes from knowing the expectations of your audience — and then turning them on their head.
  3. The best writers know how to balance the negativity of perfectionism with the optimism that keeps them going. Making sure you have “small wins” can help.
  4. Collaboration is about suspending your ego. Stop thinking about yourself and focus on what would objectively make the piece better. 
  5. Making a reader feel something is about honesty. You don’t have to come from the future to write science fiction but there does have to be something of yourself in the story for that emotion to show through.

And these ideas don’t just apply to writing. You can be an artist at anything if you take the mindset of an artist and strive to be great at whatever you do. Here’s Andy:

In the same way that there’s an art to crafting surfboards or an art to designing cars, there’s an art to pumping gas or being a garbage man. No matter how much you’re being paid or what you’re doing as a career, you need to embrace the art of it and not be afraid of the artist in you… Find the art in everything you do.

Much more at the article:

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