On Writing

Stories are magnificent things.  They span the existence of mankind, countless civilizations and all continents.  Unlike the Roman and other empires, they do not fall or fade.  No one gets tired of hearing new stories.  Like the people that fill them, they come with unlimited variations, like snowflakes, covering the landscape of our lives with a labyrinth of patterns, shades, and shapes.

I have read and commented on hundreds of screenplays, finding the flaws and imperfections and devising ways to take advantage of their strengths.   While that is a worthy endeavor in itself, it does not take the place of the creativity of actually writing a screenplay or novel.

Writing is different.  One never feels finished; always some small change to make, some new idea to capture, some elevation of the concept.    Perfection is not the goal.  A script will never be perfect, but it must move at an appropriate pace and mean something.  It must entertain and horrify, make someone laugh, fascinate them.   What is the key to a good story?  For me, it is making one forget who they are and to feel they have experienced the story themselves.  To me that is what makes a good story.

by Jerry A. Robbins