Posted by: michellemuldoon | August 26, 2016




(Photo courtesy University of Worcester Screenwriting BA)

I recently spoke with a friend who provides script coverage services to a local agency.  The conversation veered towards the difference between emerging spec writers and the established writers with book value and “street cred”. The gist of the conversation was that experienced writers work on a different set of rules than the emerging writer. Scrutiny is much higher for those not established, and there is very little fudge room for those not already in the produced pipeline.

Here, in no particular order, are some of the most glaring indications that you’re a new writer.


  • Write in an active voice. “John walks to the store” NOT “John is walking to the store.”
  • If you use the word “begins” to describe an action, then that action must be interrupted. Begins implies End. Otherwise refer to point #1; write in an active voice.
  • Stop using CONTINUOUS constantly in your scene headings. If John walks from the living room to the kitchen, use a minor slug line instead of a major slug line ending in CONTINUOUS.
  • Do not describe clothing in a character introduction unless it speaks to who the character is. Give the reader, and the actor, something visual that they can work with.
  • Don’t use wrylies. Just. Don’t.

These are five of the key pointers that shine a spotlight on the emerging writer in an unflattering way. Readers see them, they notice them, and it affects their feedback.

Trust me, there are other things you shouldn’t do, but these are some of the important ones that must be purged from your screenplay.

Writing is rewriting, so never be afraid to go back to an old script, and update it with the most current rules. It’s part of the job, so roll your sleeves up, pour some coffee, and get to work.

Remember: You don’t get to re-invent the wheel, if you haven’t proven you can make one.



  1. Reblogged this on Erotic Vampire and commented:
    From my dear and talented friend Michelle Muldoon.

  2. Reblogged this on Books and More.

    • Thank you for the reblogg


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