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Discussion Resource [April FoolWhat Kind of Day Has It Been: Writing Like Aaron Sorkin- Tips, tricks, and writing advice

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by mavjade , Apr 1, 2018.

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  1. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Sep 10, 2005
    Writing like Aaron Sorkin

    Aaron Sorkin is an exceptionally talented writer, you probably know him best as the writer of the play and the movie of A Few Good Men, The American President, and TV shows like Sports Night and The West Wing (the first 4 seasons).

    He's won many awards for his writing such as an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay (The Social Network), Golden Globes for Best Screenplay (The Social Network and Steve Jobs), and The West Wing won Emmys in Best Drama Series and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series 4 times each!

    He may mostly be a screenwriter, but that doesn't mean we can't learn from him and his writing style. Also, if you're going to be writing his characters, it makes sense to study how he writes them.

    So how does Aaron Sorkin write?
    Most people feel like he writes everything like it's a play, and he tends to favor theater actors for his works. His works are dialogue heavy, often cramming way more words into a scene than almost any other TV show or movie.

    On his Reddit AMA Sorkin said of writing characters:

    He's also know to be a pantser. He's said more than once he'd be working on a script for The West Wing right up until the minute it needed to be done in order to start filming. (Justification for all of us pantsers!!)

    Here are a few articles about writing from Aaron Sorkin.

    Most are about screenwriting, but a lot of the tips are great for any kind of writing.

    7 Tips for Creating Memorable Characters
    Writing Tips from 'Steve Jobs' Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin
    Master Class - not free but just in case someone wanted to take a look.

    Some The West Wing examples of Sorkin's amazing dialogue:

    Season 1, Episode 10 : In Excelsis Deo

    Season 2, Episode 9: Galileo

    Season 2, Episode 10: Nöel

    Season 4, Episode 2: 20 Hours in America - Part 2

    Discussion: So what do you think of the above advice on characters? Do you like to write a huge backstory first, or are you like Sorkin and like to do it organically?


    What bits of Sorkin dialogue inspire you?

    Some of this discussion will be moved to the Scribble Pad (probably tomorrow) because it was a useful conversation to fanfic.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
  2. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
  3. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 9, 2000
    He has a real gift for dialogue. Those are useful links!
  4. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014

    Mav Edit: Moved posts from below this point to the Scribble Pad.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 2, 2018
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