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This chapter is from the book

Workshop

We'll dispense with the usual Q&A and Quiz for this hour. However, some exercises are in order.

Exercises

  1. Scriptwriter Stephen Black's dad fostered his writing from very early on. One exercise he asked his son to do while they were working on a novel together was to sit down during a large family gathering and invent characters for the novel using the characteristics of the gathered guests as his inspiration. It worked for Black. It's also a great way for you to avoid the usual idle family chitchat.

  2. Take a local newspaper story about an event or breaking news. Read it aloud with an ear for passive-voice phrases, such as "She was hit by a speeding car," "The house was destroyed by the blaze," and "The budget was presented by the governor." Rewrite the story in active voice.

  3. Contact a local TV station or production company and get permission to tag along during a remote, multicamera taping. They might let you help set up (it's called gaffer's tape, not duct tape) and sit in the control room. That will be an eye-opening and educational experience.

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