Three little questions from David Mamet, the American playwright and screenplay writer (think Glengarry Glen Ross, The Untouchables, The Verdict, Wag the dog). He’s addressing writers of film but his remarks apply equally to all writers of fiction (and creative non-fiction).
The questions are to be asked as you begin (or review) each new scene:
- Who wants what?
- What happens to him or her if they don’t get it?
- Why now?
The answers to these questions, he says, will tell you whether the scene is dramatic or not.
If the scene is not dramatic, then it is your sworn duty to excise it.
It really is as simple as that.
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