Introduction to H.R. D’Costa
by Jessica Brown, Screenwriter and Board Member of Phoenix Screenwriters Association


Hey PSA!

Are you feeling the dog days of writing in these long summer days? Have you lost your excitement for the story you were wanting the world to know because
you couldn’t figure it all out?

I can rescue you! I discovered an amazing process several years ago that I became a HUGE fan of because it works!

I love having a well-thought-out story and fewer rewrites, which in turn gets my creative content out to the world better and faster. Yes, writing is rewriting, but wouldn’t you love to have fewer rewrites if you got the story structure right during the outlining phase? I bet you would.

Did I mention I am a HUGE fan? I’m not even getting paid, or any other compensation, because I believe so strongly in this process.

WARNING: Yes, I am going to go all Fangirl here.

What if you’re a “pantster” and you can’t stand outlining, but find your stories fall flat or have holes or gaps in them? I bet you would be willing to outline if it were fun, insightful and got you faster to the part you love best, pantsing. Yes, that is a word.

Prepare to fall in love with storytelling in an amazing process: The Iterative Outlining Process.

H.R. D’Costa has written several books on the craft of storytelling and story development. Three of her books create her Iterative Outlining Collection.

These three books are brilliantly laid out, well-written and entertaining. In each book you will refine your outline and develop your story so you can identify story gaps, cardboard characters and unresolved conflict, while creating stronger character arcs, interesting scenes, and amazing twists and turns. And so much more.

Sizzling Story Outlines: How to Outline Your Screenplay or Novel, Always Know “What Happens Next,” and Finish Your Rough Draft Without Freaking Out.

This is where you develop your Starter Outline. Pantsters, hang in there with me. It really does work with your writing style. Ms. D’Costa helps you to Isolate your Story Kernel, Design the SMART Goal and the Protagonist who will pursue it, and Create the Main Antagonist of your story.

It will also help you determine your Story Stakes, Settle on a Setting and list all of Your Story’s Intrinsic Hooks. And much, much more!
She takes you step by step so you really think through all the key components of your story.

If you’re a pantster, once you get your Starter Outline completely figured out, you can start writing your draft, then use the next book in the Iterative Outlining series to help you edit that draft. If you already outline in advance, you can continue refining your outline.

Solid Story Compass: How to Become Your Own Development Editor or Script Consultant, Stop Second-Guessing Your Storytelling Decisions, and Prevent Inconsistencies from incurring Reader Wrath.

This book will save you hundreds of dollars. Have ever written a script and then sent it to a script consultant and paid hard-earned money only to have them tell you all that is wrong with your story?

What if you could have figured it out yourself and saved all that money?

This book has helped me to grow my own script consulting skills which I have used to help other screenwriters, and bonus, I write a better first draft on my next WIP. I love the bonus skills you get with this book.

You will be creating your Intentional Outline by using her Story Compass and the multiple options and ideas to craft your best story ever!

Here is the hidden gem in this book that I truly love: Have you ever experienced your audience not connecting with your characters? How about your readers not understanding your story world?

Those feedback notes can be really hard to take. What if you could connect the story in your head with your audience so you all experience the same amazing story you want to tell the world? Your Intentional Outline will achieve that.

I see it happen on a regular basis in The Writers Lounge and The Writers Insights Workshop. The writer can be frustrated by the feedback because the reader isn’t getting it. The writer’s story intention did not show up on the page.

Skip the script consultant and get this book! Then once you have your Intentional Outline completed you can dive into the third book.

Sparkling Story Drafts: How to Outline Your Way Toward Cleaner Rough Drafts, Reduce Your revision Time, and Get a First-Rate Screenplay or Novel onto the Marketplace-FASTER

Who doesn’t want to get their creative content out to market faster? I do! I do!

This book takes all that work you did with your Starter Outline and your Intentional Outline and now moves it to the speed-writing phase. This book ensures you are paying attention to all the little details that will take your script to the professional level by helping you develop your Working Outline.

In this book you will polish and complete An Editorial Pass on Plot, Structure, Premise, Delight, The Four Workhorses (rhythm, repetition, realism, and relevance), Character and all those Odds and Ends that take your script to that
professional level.

Imagine a week of sitting at your favorite coffee shop, or writing desk, blissfully writing an amazing story and having so much fun you were entertained the whole time. The hours fly by and you have your best ever writing week!

I see all you pantsters sitting up straight in your chairs now. I got your attention.

Do you have dreams of being a star writer at Sundance? How about the Nicholl’s Fellowship or Austin Film Festival?

This final book in Ms. D’Costa’s Iterative Outlining series will help you feel confident when you submit your script to any of these prestigious events.

You will know for certain that you have crafted the best possible story, to increase the odds of winning or being a finalist, and know that the story in your head got out to the world as you intended.

Ms. H.R. D’Costa has also created helpful writing articles and a class you can take to deepen your storytelling skills. You can find more details at her website,

While you’re there, make sure to download the Ultimate Story Structure Worksheet, which is a free 18-page worksheet to help you plot your next screenplay:

I use this worksheet each and every time I tackle a new story.

When you sign up for the worksheet, you’ll also receive her newsletters and updates – which are wonderful. I know because I read them all the time.

Starting in 2022 I will be reviewing just four authors who have written series on the craft of storytelling. I am calling it: 2022: The Year Of The Storytelling Masters.

Ms. D’Costa has other books that complement and go into further detail on such topics as The Inciting Incident, The Midpoint, Story Stakes, The Climax, and my favorite, The Trough of Hell (which you might know as the “all is lost” moment).

Stay tuned for an exciting series of articles in 2022.

I also share and recommend these books in The Writers Lounge and The Writers Insights Workshop events because my own personal experience with this process has been outstanding.

I am not a paid promoter nor am I compensated in any way. I am just a HUGE fan. Did I mention that?

So don’t get frustrated or stuck or weighed down this summer. Check out this amazing series and join us in The Lounge or WIW and share with me and our fellow writers what you are learning and how your process is improving. We’d love to hear your story!

Thanks for reading and Happy Writing!

P.S. Drop me a line at: or stop in at The Writers Lounge the first Monday of each month between 7pm to 9 pm (AZ local time) for more suggestions and tips.

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