Scott Myers of GoIntotheStory.com recently posted this list of ten writing tips passed down by the amazing Billy Wilder. Wilder was the scribe behind such classics as Some Like it Hot, The Apartment, The Seven Year Itch, Sabrina, and Double Indemnity, to name a few. Wilder’s gravestone reads “I’m a writer, but then nobody’s perfect.”
1. Grab ’em by the throat and never let go.
2. Develop a clean line of action for your leading character.
3.The more subtle and elegant you are in hiding your plot points, the better you are as a writer.
4. If you have a problem with the third act, the real problem is in the first act.
5. Tip from Ernst Lubitsch: Let the audience add up two plus two. They’ll love you forever.
6. The audience is fickle. Know where you’re going.
7. In doing voice-overs, be careful not to describe what the audience already sees. Add to what they are seeing.
8. The event that occurs at the second act curtain triggers the end of the movie.
9. The 3rd act must build, build, build in tempo until the last event, and then…
10. …that’s it. Don’t hang around.