Ask the Coach: Deciding Between Writing Ideas + How to Edit & Get Feedback – On Script Mag

In this month’s “Ask the Coach” article, I’m responding to two questions about choosing projects and getting feedback.

“I have four different topics that intrigue me. All could be short non-fiction books. How do I commit to one? It seems like each day a different one appeals more. I start on one, then wonder if another would be easier or more fun.”

Here are the main ideas I discuss in my response:

  • Reflecting on what kind of writer you are, and the kinds of challenges you face.
  • The “grass is greener” feeling 
  • Using your inner knowing to pick the project you want to work on first
  • Using “decision criteria” to identify a list of criteria to litmus test your writing choice. 

And this is the second question I answered:

“What do you do after you have finished writing your script — how to edit, get feedback, etc.?”

Here are the steps I suggest in my response:

  1. Set your script aside for at least a few days.
  2. Read through your draft and make notes.
  3. Make a short reverse-outline of the script. 
  4. Make notes about what’s working and what’s not.
  5. Tackle the big stuff first.
  6. Correct smaller items as needed (but not in scenes you might cut!).
  7. Set it aside again, then read and repeat.
  8. Once you have a draft you feel good about, then look for feedback.


When it comes to choosing projects to work on, to finishing and getting feedback on your scripts, trust your inner knowing about what resonates and what doesn’t.

Want the full scoop? There are more details in the full article on Script Mag: 
Ask the Coach: Deciding Between Writing Ideas + How to Edit & Get Feedback

If you’ve got writing questions, please send them my way!
I’d love to answer them for you in my column.
Photo from Canva

6 Steps to Tackling a Major Script Revision – on the Final Draft blog

Despite everything that’s going on I’m thrilled to have finished a major revision of the first act of my script. While there’s more to go, getting the first act sorted for the new vision for the storyline has been a big undertaking. This article goes into my methodology for tackling a major script revision, much of which translates quite handily for novel revision too. 


The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time,
unlike, say, a brain surgeon.”
– Robert Cromier

If you’re staring down a major script rewrite it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, particularly when dealing with large-scale structural or character changes—or both! Even though we know “writing is rewriting,” it can be daunting to face a big overhaul, especially if this isn’t the first major revision you’ve made to this script.

One of the biggest obstacles writers face with a major rewrite is mentally releasing the old version and fully embracing the new one. It can feel like two parallel universes jostling to occupy the same space. Without Cisco Ramon from The Flash to breach us between alternate realities, we have to find our own way to span the chasm between the two. I call this bridging the rewrite gap.

If you’re finding yourself having trouble letting go of the old story (Hint: you’re constantly saying, “Well, in the current draft, x happens…”) these six steps will help you make a smoother transition from old to new, as well as expedite your rewrite along the way.


Read the article on the Final Draft blog here:
6 Steps to Tackling a Major Script Revision



Upcoming Writing Classes

Need help getting going with your writing and/or a big rewrite? Want to get a sense of working with me? Check out these upcoming writing classes I’ll be leading in October and beyond.

Note:  The links I’m providing are referral links so the company involved will a pay me a small commission for referring you to them if you sign up after clicking on the link.



With The Writer’s Store:

Navigating the Inner Journey of a Rewrite

navigatingrewrite-500_smallWHEN: Thursday, October 1, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

HOW: Webinar

WHAT: The Navigating the Inner Journey of a Rewrite webinar is focused on rewriting for screenwriters but also has relevant tools for all writers because it addresses the inner aspects of dealing with a major rewrite. This is a one-time, 1.5 hour webinar and will be recorded if you cannot attend the live class.

DESCRIPTIONYou’ve finished your screenplay, right?

Or have you?

Whether you’ve just typed FADE OUT or you’ve been wrestling with a rewrite for ages, rewriting is a necessary part of the screenwriting process. After all, you want your script to shine before you take it out into the marketplace. And since rewriting is part of a screenwriter’s job description, whether you’re elevating a spec, doing a page one rewrite, reworking a script based on feedback or coverage, or overhauling to meet a producer’s needs, it’s worth making sure you have all the tools you need at your disposal to make it happen. (Read the full class description by clicking on the link below.)

In this class you’ll:

  • Discover how to deal with the resistance and overwhelm that turn up when tackling a major rewrite
  • Develop both practical rewriting strategies and inner mindset tools to help you see your rewrite all the way through to completion
  • Gain the skills you need to successfully complete rewrite after rewrite — a must in the screenwriting industry

Click here to find out more and register: Navigating the Inner Journey of a Rewrite


On Screenwriter’s University:

Fitting Writing Into Your Life: Becoming a Productive Screenwriter

fittingwritingintoyourlifeWHEN: Starts on October 15 and runs for 7 days

HOW: A weeklong intensive with a three-part online recorded video presentation and discussions online (with lots of interaction and support from me).

WHAT: The Fitting Writing Into Your Life: Becoming a Productive Screenwriter course is about making your writing happen, one day at a time. (There’s a later section of the same course in January you can register for now if the October class doesn’t work for your schedule). Although this class is offered as a screenwriting program it is relevant and useful for other writers too. This is an online program with a prerecorded class (from me) and interactive writing prompts on the site with feedback from me also.

DESCRIPTION: If you aren’t making progress on your screenplay, or you feel blocked every time you sit down to write, it’s time to break the chains of unproductive writing. Adopting the techniques that will make you a consistently productive writer is imperative to seeing any of your writing projects from beginning to end. Get all of the tools to develop an effective strategy and a schedule that you can stick to.

In this week-long intensive, you’ll first watch and discuss (via discussion boards) a three-part video lecture exploring 10 habits and techniques that will keep your writing schedule consistent and productive. Then, you’ll use what you have learned to create a personalized writing plan that you will submit for feedback. At the end of just one week you will have a fail-proof strategy for the most productive writing of your life.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Myths about writing that may actually be sabotaging your progress as a writer.
  • Simple, fresh strategies for handling writing resistance and creative blocks.
  • Ways to design your life and your writing time so it happens regularly.
  • Mindset shifts to help you write more consistently and productively.
  • Techniques to cut down on the time required to “gear up” into writing mode.

Click here to find out more and register: Fitting Writing Into Your Life: Becoming a Productive Screenwriter


My Fall schedule got so busy with these classes that I decided to postpone my own Called to Write teleclass but I expect to offer it in November or December, so stay tuned!