How to Use Suspense in Any Story—Even Comedy

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When talking about suspense, the first things most people think of are spine-tingling moments in action movies and thrillers. But suspense is key to the success of every kind of story—even comedies. Here’s an example from Anchorman 2: The video used to be on YouTube, but has since been removed. If you have seen the movie, or plan to see it, … Read More

Webinar: How to Add Irresistible Suspense to Any Novel/Screenplay/TV Script. Starts July 19th

Vik Rubenfeld#AskVik

“What are the techniques to hook readers so that they can’t put down your next novel or screenplay?”

Transform your next story and win by using suspense. Suspense keeps audiences, studio executives, and readers hooked on your every word. When you unleash suspense, they can’t stop reading your novel or screenplay. Instructor Vik Rubenfeld created the trailblazing hit CBS prime-time drama EARLY EDITION.

How to Make the Audience Care About Your Protagonist

Vik Rubenfeld#AskVik2 Comments

@Sylent_steel asks: @VikRubenfeld hey Vik! I love my protagonists. How do i know if i did enough for readers to feel the same way? — R Cox (@Sylent_steel) April 30, 2015 I replied: @Sylent_steel That is a giant subject! I'll post with a few thoughts on it. :0 — Vik Rubenfeld (@VikRubenfeld) April 30, 2015 As I tweeted to @Sylent_steel, … Read More

Three Act Structure And Why You Need It

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Eric asks: @VikRubenfeld how can I use the Three Act Structure to the best of my ability? — Eric (@DeSantis_Eric) April 27, 2015 This is an excellent question, and surprisingly important. Here’s how it was described recently by the writers of the classic comedy, AIRPLANE. Jerry Zucker (director/co-writer): We’d never heard of Zero Hour! before then, and at first we … Read More

Vivid Emotional Insight from Willa Cather

Vik RubenfeldArt Talk, NovelLeave a Comment

Mules

Here is another great example of how a work of art communicates something that can’t be communicated intellectually. There’s no communication of information only, that can convey what this so vividly conveys. It’s from a novel by Willa Cather that is often found on lists of the greatest novels of all time—”Death Comes for the Archbishop.” Set in New Mexico … Read More

Why You Need to Pay Off Your Theme in the Ending of Your Story

Vik Rubenfeld#AskVik1 Comment

@TeresaSantoski asks: @VikRubenfeld I have one. How do you make the ending satisfying for the viewer/reader without it becoming unrealistic? Thank you! — Teresa Santoski (@TeresaSantoski) January 28, 2015 This is such a good question that I’m answering it in three separate blog posts. I talked about the first item—it must be believable—in this previous post. I talked about how to make the … Read More

How to Craft a Twist Ending

Vik Rubenfeld#AskVik1 Comment

@TeresaSantoski asks: @VikRubenfeld I have one. How do you make the ending satisfying for the viewer/reader without it becoming unrealistic? Thank you! — Teresa Santoski (@TeresaSantoski) January 28, 2015 This is such a good question that I’m answering it in three separate blog posts. There are four keys to a satisfying ending: It must be believable, i.e. accepted by the audience … Read More

The 4 Keys to a Satisfying Ending

Vik Rubenfeld#AskVik4 Comments

@TeresaSantoski asks: @VikRubenfeld I have one. How do you make the ending satisfying for the viewer/reader without it becoming unrealistic? Thank you! — Teresa Santoski (@TeresaSantoski) January 28, 2015 This is a great question. There are four keys to a satisfying ending: It must be believable, i.e. accepted by the audience as making sense.  It must be surprising It must be … Read More

When to Use a Prologue

Vik Rubenfeld#AskVik4 Comments

@sylent_steel asks: @VikRubenfeld ah. Is the beginning off 1st Peter Jackson lotr movie considered s prologue? When movie intro'd sauron & how ring was lost? — R Cox (@Sylent_steel) January 25, 2015 I hadn’t seen the first LOTR since the film came out in 2001—but I was able to find the beginning on YouTube. Here it is: Yes, this is a … Read More

Distinguishing Features of Film/TV/Play Plots

Vik Rubenfeld#AskVik2 Comments

@wmdogar asks: @VikRubenfeld What're the distinguishing features of film/tv and play plots? — Waqas Masood (@wmdogar) January 10, 2015 An excellent question. Film, TV and plays are all forms of drama. The top characteristics of plot are identical to all three. (BTW, I teach how to break story for film/tv/plays/novels so as to maintain suspense and plot in all scenes.) … Read More