How To Write A Screenplay Even If You Have No Ideas!

I just got an email offering to sell me an app that takes all the work out of writing romance novels. It’s the “Kindle Romance Idea Generator.” It points out that actually this could work for other forms of fiction, too, so you could use it for screenplays.

Yes, I’m serious. The sales page tells us “Writing a Romance Novel Can Mean a Lot of Cash!” It helpfully points out that “Ideas are the lifeblood of any good book,” but the problem is “ideas are hard to come by.”  Hmm, Writing a Screenplay Can Also Mean a Lot of Cash! And obviously ideas are hard to come by because the studios keep making the same movies over and over again, just adding a 2 at the end of the title. I think we should look into this app some more. WhaView postt does it actually do?

The sale page says it “Generates Endless Heroine’s (sic) for Romance Books.” Hey, what’s an apostrophe between friends?

With one press of a button, you get a full description of a heroine for your romance novel or screenplay. The sample profile gives such useful information as, “she can not stand the smell of mustard,” and “her favourite hobbies include crafts and pinochle.”

For a small extra fee you also get a profile of the hero and his characteristics.  The sample description includes the fact that his eyes are chocolate and his hair is light ash brown and his favourite hobbies include pinochle and bmx.”

Who knew that pinochle was so popular these days? Maybe if it’s a saucy romance novel they can play Strip Pinochle.

The upgraded app also gives you a clue as to what keeps the hero and heroine apart. One example is that the heroine went to a trendy night club and had a one-night stand with a man she met on the dance floor. She didn’t expect to meet him again, but it turns out he’s the loan officer handling the refinancing of her home. I don’t actually see how that would keep them apart. In fact, probably it would get her a lower interest rate.

If I were writing this story, I’d make him the head of a mustard factory. She loves him but she can’t stand the smell of mustard and breaks up with him. He opens a ketchup factory to try to win her back but loses everything due to a world-wide ketchup glut. I’d pitch it as a modern-day Romeo and Juliet…two lovers torn apart by condiments.

See, this thing works!

Or you could come to my five evening Screenwriting Coach workshops, but unfortunately a prerequisite is having some ideas of your own. On the plus side, I guarantee all evenings will be free of the smell of mustard.



Jurgen Wolff is a writer, teacher, and creativity consultant. In the United States, he wrote for sitcoms including Benson and Family Ties. He wrote the feature film, The Real Howard Spitz, starring Kelsey Grammer and directed by Vadim Jean. He was a script doctor on the hit film, Mannequin and others starring Michael Caine, Walter Matthau, and Eddie Murphy. For Germany, he co-created the comedy series, Lukas, which ran for 65 episodes, and an original comedy series called Krista. He also wrote nine episodes of the series, Relic Hunter. He wrote two TV movies for the Olsen Twins, and several the German TV movies including, On Top of the Volcano, starring Maria Schrader and Sebastian Koch (2007). His play, Killing Mother, was produced at the Gorky Theatre in Berlin, and he’s also had plays produced in New York, Los Angeles, and London.

As a writing and creativity teacher, his courses include Beyond Brainstorming, Create Your Future, The Creative Breakthrough Workshop and the ground-breaking Script Coach Series developed exclusively for Raindance. He has presented his courses at the University of Southern California, the University of Barcelona, the Skyros Institute, many films schools, and groups and organisations including The Academy for Chief Executives, Egmont, Grundy-UFA, and Columbia-Tri-Star. For eight years he was a visiting lecturer for the Pilots Program in Sitges.

His books include Your Writing Coach and Your Creative Writing Masterclass (Nicholas Brealey Publishing), Creativity Now (Pearson), Do Something Different (Virgin Business Books), Successful Scriptwriting (Writers Digest Press), Top Secrets: Screenwriting (Lone Eagle Press), and Successful Sitcom Writing (St. Martin’s Press).

He has written for many publications including the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Broadcast Magazine, and he is the editor of Brainstorm, the creativity ebulletin.