SPA Girls Podcast – EP243 – Interview with Ines Johnson (Part Two) : Seven Screenwriting Secrets for Authors


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Ines is back to give us great advice for incorporating screenwriting techniques to make our writing stronger and improve read through!

Aside from being a writer and professional reader, Ines Johnson is a seasoned educator. She’s taught screenwriting, story development, and media history for an art college in Washington, DC. A lifelong learner (read: academic addict), she holds a Master’s in Instructional Design, and a Doctorate in Educational Technology.

Here are those 7 Tips:

1. Seasons: try thinking in 3s (3 book series, 6 book series, 9 book series) – long series FTW!

2. Series / Serial
A Series – can be read out of order – in romance, different couples but common element across series such as setting, community, event etc
A Serial – needs to be read in order

3. Scene / Beat : a category of action that needs to happen and can be encapsulated by time and space – eg. in romance the “meet cute”, “black moment” etc
For beat advice see Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes, Save the Cat, Heros Journey

Ines writes in Scrivener and her chapters are usually a beat. There needs to be a purpose for each chapter / beat – needs to move the story forward, not just pretty words.

4. Teaser – in fiction, another name for prologue. Ines recommends downloading TV Scripts to see how they use a teaser at the beginning of an episode to give a jumping point into the story. At the END of Ines’ books, she uses a teaser of the next book to enhance reader clickthrough/buy through

5. Leads / Launches Same meaning for what starts the beginning of each chapter – can be action, character pov, narrative, setting description. Mix them up. So don’t have everyone chapter starting with the same lead (eg someone waking up).

6. Hooks & Twists
Every scene needs five things: Scene purpose, goal, motivation, conflict, twist / hook The twist or hook at the end of the chapter or scene is what gets the reader turning the page. It’s asking an “end question” and leaves the reader on a … rather than a period.

7. Open Doors – this is the story question / conflict teaser for the next book. It leaves the door open for the reader to go into the next story. Not a cliffhanger – those don’t resolve the main story. Know your tropes! Ines’ open doors are short – no more than 500 words from the pov of the upcoming MC in next book.


Ines Johnson You Tube Channel where she details advice for authors:

Ines’ website:

Script sites:

TV scripts at Scriptorama:

You’ll find all the show notes at:

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264 episodes