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Author Archives: Matthew Arnold Stern

Why you need bad writing to get to good writing

I was cleaning out some old files when I came across drafts of screenplays I wrote in the 1990s. They were awful. Eye-achingly awful. So awful that I shredded them and put them in the recycling bin. But when I wrote those scripts, I thought they were so wonderful that I registered one of them …

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Slaying the dragon

Spoilers ahead. Fiction involves some sort of conflict. Usually, the source of the conflict is visible: another person, the environment, or some other physical threat. Even conflicts within ourselves are made visible through our actions. What if the source can’t be seen? What if it is something powerful and overwhelming, but abstract? What if the adversary is …

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How to tell the truth

Lying is easy. We’ve been lying since childhood when we were first caught doing something we know we shouldn’t do. In time, we got so good at it that we believe the lies we tell ourselves. Telling the truth is hard. It requires that you make yourself vulnerable, own up to your flaws and mistakes, and …

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Back to our regularly scheduled programming?

Are you sick of politics? I’m sure tired of writing about it. So, when do I go back to writing about public speaking? Writing? My books? Reseda? When do things go back to normal? Like it or not, this is the new normal. And we have to live with it from this point forward.

What self-censorship feels like

I started writing a post about how our love for dystopian and apocalyptic fiction may have contributed to the election of President Trump. I deleted the draft. Then, I began a well-researched post critiquing President Trump’s management style. I deleted that draft as well. Yes, I was censoring myself — and Trump had only been president for a …

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