Updated: Nov 24, 2020
Published in Hanford Sentinel Newspaper
September 25, 2020
There are classes in screenwriting, TV writing, playwriting, poetry, fiction/short story writing, standup and even comedy sketch writing. Some of these classes can be found in colleges, theater companies, and online. If you learn any of these writing forms from someone that has done it for years, you are doing a service to your writing. Tom Blank is a Groundlings comedy sketch writer in Los Angeles. People come from all over to take his sketch writing classes at the famous Groundlings Theater and School. In his classes he tells his students to write a moment each day. He said, “Write something you observe or noticed and keep it in a notebook.” He said that this notebook would be a good source for comedy sketches. This writing of observations is also advice for poetry and standup comedy professionals. Famous author Steven King tells new writers to write at least 10 pages a day. Good recommendations from two writers, but how do you know what moments or observations is worthy to write down in a notebook? What do you write to fill ten pages?
Mr. Blank’s method of writing a moment a day trains the writer to be observant. Ms. Fornes’ method of relaxation and allowing the subconscious to create characters and journeys yields many writing pages if you allow the free-flow. Truly, their methods are worthy for the new writer. However, some feel outlines work best. They come to the table with a character and a journey. If that is better for the writer then this is the direction that must be followed. However, I can’t imagine that day to day observations and inner voices are not part of this process anyway. Characters and story ideas do come from you. Regardless of the method, the best advice is to learn what works from other writers and incorporate it if it works for you. From them, you will develop a writing style that helps you write. Go forth and write on!