Write the big moment

Steven Pressfield offered some great advice the other day.

It came from a successful literary agent in Los Angeles who represents screenwriters.

Steven had asked her what’s the most common reason screenwriters fall flat? She didn’t hesitate to answer.

‘When they come to the Big Scene, they chicken out.’

We all tend to be risk-averse in our lives and in our stories. It’s human nature. This agent knows why.

‘Partly it’s because they’ve been told that subtext is more powerful than text. Or they’re afraid that if they go balls-out for emotion and the moment doesn’t work, they’ll look foolish. So they deliberately under-write. They back off from having Carmela scream at Tony, I was in love with Furio! Or from Tony slamming his fist through the wall two inches from Carmela’s face.’

Your job as a writer is to write the Big Scene. Don’t underwrite. Don’t underplay. Don’t play nice.

Don’t chicken out.

Hold nothing back.

Got for it.

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