Get Juiced

I love learning more about the craft of writing. Even better is adding tools to my writer’s toolbox. But best of all is coming away from a writing seminar juiced about getting back to writing.

Laura and I attended a Dara Marks seminar in Washington, D.C. yesterday. It was sprinkling when I left my house at 7 a.m. to pick up Laura. By the time we were on the road it was pouring. My wipers were on high and I was thinking it was going to be a very long drive. It didn’t last, however, and we were in the District in under two hours – circling the Palomar Hotel looking for a parking space. I hate driving in D.C. Finally Laura ran inside the hotel and came out with the answer to the parking problem – valet parking for $20.

Mala & Laura at Marks seminar 5-11-13

The seminar was a detailed explanation of Dara Mark’s Transformational Arc of Character and how to use it in screenwriting. It is fabulous tool for telling any story. Laura had used Dara as a consultant on several of her screenplays, but had never met her face to face. Photo below is Dara (left) but not with Laura. It was at the end of the day and there was a long line of people waiting to get their books signed. I got the best photo I could.


I was aware of the Transformational Arc because every project on which Laura and I have collaborated is started with a huge piece of paper on which we lay down the arc and fill in the story. This seminar (9:30 – 5) was long, but very specific about all the aspects and nuances of the arc. Dara gave us a handout with all the power point notes and spoke the entire time with no notes. I only zoned out once after lunch and, of course, that was the time when Dara asked a question of the audience and pointed at me. What was the question?

There were lots of take-aways, but one (which really wasn’t part of the arc) was, “people always tell you to write what you know; what you really need to write is how you feel about what you know.” That stuck with me.

Dara Marks gave me so much to think about in terms of laying out plot, thinking about the protagonist’s outer story as it relates to the inner story, even how to tease out the overarching theme which drives the plot. All essential writing tools.This is may be the most valuable writing seminar I have attended. I came away juiced, wanting to revisit our most recent draft of The Santa Diaries movie script.Did we hit all the marks?

Of course, there is a book. Buy it and get juiced.  Inside Story: The Power of the Transformational Arc.

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