There are probably many reasons why so many would-be screenwriters aren’t doing the very difficult work demanded by any dramatic story, but it seems that one of their reasons is that they don’t want the messiness that dramatic problems bring into their lives. Problems, complications, contradictions & unexpected frustrations - these are the troubles they strive to avoid in their every-day lives, but essential elements in the lives of dramatic characters. It’s difficult embracing these even though they are central to the construction of a powerful and credible plot. More often than not, would-be screenwriters take refuge in reportage and writing art direction, describing and explaining rather than showing and interacting with the characters within the emotional space in which the characters are acting. For some, the making of a beautiful sentence is much more accessible and desirable than the horrors one must face in constructing a memorable plot. However, if an audience is going to give a good goddamn about the story, you’re going to have to struggle, you’re going to have to bleed, and get off your ass and get your characters off their asses, and send them out into the story-world to fight for something. Something important, something the loss of which would shake their souls. And don’t leave out those characters and forces that are fighting against them, either. No one can be sheltered from this. Nothing is protected.
- Billy Marshall Stoneking