Writing Advice From Famous Authors and Screenwriters
Check out this can't-miss writing advice from famous authors and screenwriters, covering character development, emotional impact, and more.
For detailed video lessons from famous writers, check out the MasterClass writing courses.
Writing advice from famous authors
George R.R Martin writing tips
George R.R. Martin is the author of the fantasy-novel series A Song of Ice and Fire, which was adapted into the popular HBO show Game of Thrones.
Quotes on writing from George R.R. Martin
"One of the big things that distinguishes fiction from writing that's perhaps without depth is a real understanding of what real human beings are like."
"All fiction, if it's successful, is going to appeal to the emotions."
"You need to read everything."
Tom Clancy writing tips
Tom Clancy was a novelist of military fiction. He's known for his creation of the character Jack Ryan, who's appeared in many books, films, and TV shows.
Quotes on writing from Tom Clancy
"Two questions form the foundation of all novels: 'What if?' and 'What's next?'"
"If you don't write the book, the book ain't gonna get written."
Stephen King writing tips
Stephen King is one of the top-selling novelists in history. He's the author of The Shining, Misery, Carrie, and various other bestselling horror and thriller books. Many Stephen King stories have been adapted into films and TV shows.
Quotes on writing from Stephen King
"Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win."
"Stopping a piece of work just because it's hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea."
"In the end, it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life as well."
Elmore Leonard writing tips
Elmore Leonard was a crime fiction author of novels and short stories. His titles have been adapted into various popular films and TV shows, such as Get Shorty and Justified.
Quotes on writing from Elmore Leonard
"I never see my bad guys as simply bad. They want pretty much the same thing that you and I want: they want to be happy."
"Never open a book with weather."
Cormac McCarthy writing tips
Cormac McCarthy was the author of acclaimed novels like Blood Meridian; or, The Evening Redness in the West and No Country for Old Men, which was adapted into the hit film of the same name.
Quotes on writing from Cormac McCarthy
"If it doesn't concern life and death, it's not interesting."
"Even if what you're working on doesn't go anywhere, it will help you with the next thing you're doing."
Writing advice from famous screenwriters
David Fincher writing tips
Though David Fincher is known for directing, not screenwriting, he's still very much a storyteller. He's directed popular films like Seven, The Social Network, and Fight Club.
Quotes on writing from David Fincher
"I want every single person arguing a righteous side of the argument. That makes interesting drama."
"Some people go to the movies to be reminded that everything's okay. I don't make those kinds of movies."
"I learn the most from making my own mistakes."
The Coen brothers writing tips
Joel and Ethan Coen are brothers who have produced, written, and directed acclaimed movies like Fargo, Blood Simple, and The Big Lebowski.
Quotes on writing from the Coen brothers
"You love all your characters, even the ridiculous ones. You have to on some level; they're your weird creations in some kind of way." -Ethan Coen
"The characters are the result of two thing. First, we elaborate them into fairly well-defined people through their dialogue, then they happen all over again, when the actor interprets them." -Joel Coen
"It's important that we make something we've never made before." -Ethan Coen
"I guess there's a certain amount of poking fun at certain characters." -Joel Coen
Quentin Tarantino writing tips
Quentin Tarantino is sceenwriter and director behind famous films like Pulp Fiction, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Reservoir Dogs.
Quotes on writing from Quentin Tarantino
"As a viewer, the minute I start getting confused, I check out of the movie. Emotionally, I'm severed."
"Emotion will always win over coolness and cleverness. It's when a scene works emotionally and it's cool and clever, then it's great."
"It's a writer's job not just to write about himself but to look at the rest of humanity and explore it - other people's way of talking, the phrases they use."
Christopher Nolan writing tips
Christopher Nolan is a screenwriter and director behind famous films like The Prestige, Interstellar, and Batman Begins.
Quotes on writing from Christopher Nolan
"Every film should have its own world, a logic and feel to it that expands beyond the exact image that the audience is seeing."
"If you want to be a filmmaker, make a film and enjoy it; don't be thinking about what's the next thing, the thing after that."
"If you're trying to challenge an audience and make them look at elements in a different way, you've got to give them a familiar context to hang onto."
Martin Scorsese writing tips
Like David Fincher, Martin Scorsese is known for directing, not screenwriting, yet is still very much a storyteller. He's directed hit films like Goodfellas, Casino, and The Departed.
Quotes on writing from Martin Scorsese
"The most important thing is the script."
"I don't think there's any difference between fantasy and reality in the way these should be approached in a film."
"Try something experimental. You push further. It's not just experimental for experiment-sake. But you push the boundaries further."
More free writing tips
Want more free tips? Enroll in my free online writing class.