Finding the Write Words

Screenwriting for novelists

April 14, 2012

Tags: A fundamental truth

"One of the fundamental truths of drama is that humans seldom have full understanding of why they are doing something, and this is no less true for writers." (Amnon Buchbinder, The Way of the Screenwriter)

I've just finished reading Buchbinder's work on screenwriting. I'm in the middle of a YA novel and though I had the basic idea in my head from the start I find myself discovering more about the characters and their situations as I write. There is something exciting in the discovery, as if we've both stepped into a fictional world, my protagonist and I and are getting to know each other.


  1. April 17, 2012 4:24 PM IDT
    So Anna, with regard to your question: "I was wondering when you're on stage is every step planned or are you improvising. Do you always know why you're doing something."

    When I am scheduled to do a show, I plan as much as I possibly can in advance but once "in the moment", I just go with it, changing and improvising everything to suit the vibe I am getting from the audience.

    Otherwise, my set lists are carefully planned to take the listeners on a journey with ups, downs and the occasional left turn strategically placed. These days I also keep lyric sheets (large print!) on the music stand though I rarely refer to them. They're there to deal with the occasional "brain fart". As for the music itself, there is definitely some "play" (this is Jazz, after all!) there but not nearly as much as my talented musicians are comfortable with. As I learn more, I "play" more ("play" in this context meaning straying from the written melody and rhythm). All this "playing around" can result in some lovely new licks and rhythmic ideas the culmination of which you can hear in some of my recordings at and on my upcoming CD to be released this fall.
    - Ilana Waldston, singer, entertainer, comedienne, M.C.

BEING ROMEO a one-act comedy of errors. PLAYS Magazine.
A short story of friendship, romance and an oncology ward. First published in Cicada Magazine, won second place in the SCBWI Magazine Merit Award Competition in 2006
This poem was first published in Cicada Magazine, June 2006 won first prize SCBWI Magazine Merit Award, 2007.
by Anna Levine, first published in Cricket Magazine, 2004. Translated into Spanish
This poem was first published in Cricket Magazine, January, 2005 1st runner up of SCBWI magazine merit award 2006
And yet another poem to share