Writers' Reel


Writers' Reel: How To Write A Strong Beginning

In this week's Writers' Reel, watch Michael Arndt, award-winning screenwriter of Toy Story 3, break down how to write a strong beginning using Pixar films as examples.

Here are his first three tips:

Writers' Reel: Ta-Nehisi Coates On Writing And Failure

"Breakthroughs come from putting an inordinate amount of pressure on yourself and seeing what you can take and hoping that you grow some new muscles," says Ta-Nehisi Coates. Watch the award-winning senior editor of The Atlantic and MIT professor Ta-Nehisi Coates talk candidly about his own battle with stress and how writing is closely related to the act of failure.

Writers' Reel: Man Booker Prize Winner Eleanor Catton

Recently announced Man Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton discusses the pitfall writers have of writing a plot-driven novel and losing the literary form. Eleanor explains how she set out to write her sprawling book, The Luminaries, as a challenge to tackle that struggle. 

Writers' Reel: Storytelling in the Digital Age

Writer and producer Mark Boal, winner of the 2013 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Screenplay, discusses the making of Zero Dark Thirty with editors William Goldenberg and Dylan Tichenor at the Academy event "Turning the Page: Storytelling in the Digital Age.”

For more information on the 2013 PEN Center USA Literary Awards, click here.

Writers' Reel: The Secret to Writing in the Internet Age

New York Times bestselling author Joseph Finder on the dangers of distracted writing, and his surprisingly analog solution. His new novel, Buried Secrets, is a Nick Heller adventure and is on sale now. 

"I really am convinced that a writer can only create in a zone of solitude."

WRITERS' REEL: Anne Lamott's Writing Tips

Anne Lamott, the author of the classic writing guide "Bird by Bird" shares some of her favorite writing exercises.

1. Put two characters who can't stand each other in a broken elevator.
2. Give your character a talisman or an object that sets the hero's journey into action.
3. Start with one short assignment.


Today on the Writers' Reel, Nathan Englander explains that the age-old writing advice "write what you know" isn't about events, it's about universal emotions like love, loss, and longing.

Writers' Reel: 4 Bookish Kickstarters Worth Backing

Have you checked out any crowdfunded literary projects? Book Riot compiled this list of bookish Kickstarters worth checking out. This list included Books: A Documentary, Crooked  from Broken Eye Books, Publishing Genius 2.0, and literary short films from Red 14 Films, a company that makes cinematic book trailers.

Writers' Reel: Joan Didion Short Film

Joan Didion will be awarded with PEN Center USA's Lifetime Achievement Award at the 23rd Annual Literary Awards Festival on October 14, 2013. Click here to find out more about the 23rd Annual Literary Awards Festival.

In this short film excerpt directed by Griffin Dunne, Joan Didion reads a selection from the first chapter of her memoir Blue Nights.