SEVEN DEADLY WRITING SINS

Seven Deadly Sins of Writing…
from Your Screenplay Sucks!

Using Find (Ctrl F or Apple F) in your computer, chase down these words in any form you find them. Losing them or changing them will strengthen your work.

“Find” spaceisspace should find only the word you’re looking for, not every “is” in your screenplay.

is
He is grinning… becomes… He grins.

are
The convicts are singing opera… The convicts sing opera.

the
Nacho hightails it out of the town… Nacho hightails it out of town.

that
Ralph can’t tell that she’s French… Ralph can’t tell she’s French.

then
She laughs. She then looks at Alice… She laughs. She looks at Alice.

walk
Tika walks down the hall… Tika prisses down the hall.

sit
Sitting at the poker table, Doc deals the cards… At the poker table, Doc deals…

stand
The surgeon stands at the operating table and works… At the operating table, the surgeon works…

look
Cheryl is looking at Stephanie… Cheryl studies Stephanie.

just
I am just totally exhausted… I am totally exhausted.

of the
Tom sits by the entrance of the mall… Tom sits by the mall entrance…

begin
The tape begins playing… The tape plays.

start
She starts moving toward the den… She moves toward the den.

really
Betty is really pretty… Betty, hot as a two dollar pistol, struts in.

very
The kids sing a very old song… The kids sing a traditional song. (“very” means the following word is weak…)

turn
She turns and looks at him… She looks at him.

the phone
Bonnie hangs up the phone… Bonnie hangs up.

some
He pours some coffee… He pours coffee.

still
Kevin, still in paint covered overalls… Kevin, in paint covered overalls.

the room
He puts on a tie before leaving the room… He puts on a tie before leaving.

his face
Nora has an amused expression on her face… Nora is amused.

seems, appears
Tony seems upset… Tony is upset… So, is Tony upset, or just appear to be?

her way
Carol pushes her way inside… Carol pushes inside. (“his, its way” too!)

both
They both stare slackjawed at the comet… They stare slackjawed at the comet.

ly
(as on the end of an adverb!) search for lyspace Also search for ly. and ly, as lyspace will not find an adverb at the end of a sentence, etc. Grade school writers go wild over adverbs. You’re past that now. Use them, um, sparingly. If at all.

Search for and change these words (about 90% of the time) in whatever you write and the results will be tighter and more clear. Okay, so it’s twenty five deadly sins. So sue me.

If you think these are useful, for free… you should buy the book Your Screenplay Sucks! 100 Ways to Make It Great by  William Akers