Mel Brooks Writing Academy

mel brooksMel Brooks taught me everything I know about writing. Nah, not really, BUT his films do provide writers with great tips.

And here they are:

1. There are more synonyms for words than are listed in the thesaurus. I counted 29 for worst dregs. Think outside the thesaurus box.

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2. Work with the research or information you have. Improvise!

3. Allusions add depth and complexity—or fun. In this scene from SpaceBalls ( which is a parody of StarWars), we see shades of Alien mixed with the Looney Tunes singing frog cartoon.

4. Study the greats! Learn from them.

5. “Walk this way!” Mel Brooks shows us–so must writers. How a character walks indicates their mood and/or personality.The website Daily Writing Tips provides 60 synonyms.

6. Sometimes ‘very’ works very well.

High Anxiety3, the Institute

 

 

 

 

 

7. Motifs ( a word, statement, object, action repeated 3 times or more ) can reveal character, theme, or plot.

madeline kahn

 

 

 

 

 

8. Past. Past Perfect. Present. Then. Now. It’s easy for writers to lose their way in the Tense Jungle. Note: This is one of my favorite Mel Brooks scenes.

9. Opening lines and pages are important. They reveal tone and mood. Craft them for maximum impact.

10. You needn’t be so literal all the time.


11. Dialog can be tricky.

My apologies if this post makes you want to take a break from writing to watch your favorite Mel Brooks movie.

Related links: Readin’ & Writin’

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