The Coffee Break Screenwriter Breaks the Rules: A Guide for the Rebel Writer


Is breaking… bad?

Pilar Alessandra’s popular book, The Coffee Break Screenwriter, taught writers how to outline quickly, write efficiently, and rewrite creatively. It is the “go-to” book for getting one’s story on the page. But now that same writer may be doing a final pass on a project, working with a producer, or coming up with a new project only to be hit with . . . RULES! Should the writer respond to this random list of do’s and don’ts pertaining to structure, characters, dialogue, and formatting? Nope.

Who says you have to follow the screenwriting rules? In this book, Pilar reviews the rules writers assume they should follow, discusses why they’re there in the first place, and then shows you ways to creatively break them!

Rules evaluated include those addressing:
• Storytelling devices like flashback and voiceover
• Character rules such as empathy and backstory
• Dialogue faux pas such as writing on the nose
• Structural issues such as nonlinear writing and act-break placement
• Formatting sticking points involving emotion and visuals

For every “rule” that’s discussed, Pilar covers:
1. Why the rule exists.
2. Why writers should break the rule.
3. How writers can break the rule.
4. How breaking the rule can break bad (so break with care).



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Meet The Author

Pilar Alessandra is the director of the writing program On the Page® and host of the popular On the Page podcast. Pilar started her career as Senior Story Analyst at DreamWorks SKG and, in 2001, opened the On the Page Writers’ Studio in Los Angeles.