Kathie Fong Yoneda

Kathie Fong YonedaKathie Fong Yoneda is the author of the book The Script-Selling Game.

What is your method for overcoming writer’s block?

Although my book is mostly an informational, instructional "guidebook" to the business of film/TV, one thing I always kept in mind is "who is my audience?" Who will be reading and buying this book and why?

I had a bout of writer's block about third of the way through writing the second edition of my book. After having a self-indulgent "pity party" for a day, I put my work away and gave myself a three-day deadline to really think deeply about the answers to the following questions before opening up my manuscript file on that third day:

*Why am I writing the second edition—what is my goal in doing this?

*How has the film/tv business changed and why—how can I best explain these changes to writers while also helping them to adjust to these changes?

*What are the questions I've been asked by writers in the years between the first and second editions—what are the answers and how can my answers inspire them to move forward?

*In addition to writing down the basic information, what kind of examples and stories can I share to help them "connect" and apply what I've written to their own work?

On that third day, I put the above questions on my office bulletin board, reopened my manuscript file and went back to writing my second edition with a renewed sense of purpose.

What are your favorite or most helpful writing prompts?

My favorite prompt is the simple query WHAT IF?

When writers have a hard time developing a character, I often ask them to think about the following:

*Who inspired you the most at a critical time in your life and why?

*What was the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?

*When did you feel the proudest and why?

*What incident have you always regretted and why?

*Did you ever hurt someone's feelings and failed to apology?

*If you had three wishes, what would they be?

*What would those three wishes have been when you were a child? A Teenager? In college?

*Who hurt you the most when you were growing up and how has that affected you as an adult?

What is the most valuable advice you received as a young writer?

My 9th grade English teacher, Mrs. McGilvray (at McClatchy High in Sacramento), recognized my writing and communicating skills. She encouraged me enter various essay and short story contests and whenever I was uncertain or doubted my talent, she always told me to be authentic and never try to mimic someone else's writing, even though they may be more acclaimed —  because the most important asset any writer will ever own —  that no one can ever take away — is his or her own "voice."