5 Writing Tips & Tropes to Inspire You from Legendary Filmmaker David Lynch

Tuesday 19 January 2021


Filmmaker, writer, artist - and legend - David Lynch has created some of the most memorable cinematic experiences, characters and stories - of which today's post will be focusing on in particular,TV series "Twin Peaks". 

After having spent a significant time during quarantine watching the entire series, I felt inspired to collect a few of Lynch's tips to share with you!

As well as his 5 top tips to inspire your writing, I'm also including 5 different character tropes found in his series "Twin Peaks" to further elaborate on his comments. 

Oh and spoiler alert if you haven't watched the show (Seriously? Missing out!), and one last thing, don't forget to check out the Twin Peaks script here.

So grab a cup of damn fine coffee, channel your inner Agent Cooper and let's get crackin'!

follow @intothescript on Instagram for all your writing, filmmaking & creativity tips! 



1) 'To me, a story can be both concrete and abstract, or a concrete story can hold abstractions. And abstractions are things that really can't be said so well with words."

Wow! The character of Laura Palmer is a trip and great illustration of what Lynch is talking about.

If you have seen the series, then you know so much of what Laura's story is, is actually felt and seen through her silence. The sad look in her eyes, the way she smiled etc. Remember ACTION is what brings your words off the page on-screen, leave space for these moments to fizzle on the script.

You want the audience to lean in and look closely!

Let's rewind, a seemingly popular, happy high school Homecoming Queen is found dead, leaving the residents of Twin Peaks shocked.

But as we delve deeper into the events leading up to and surrounding her death, we find out that Laura led a devastatingly sad life.

Sexual abuse, drug addiction, and connected/trapped in the town's seedy underground network of crime and prostitution.

The broken bird trope is:
  • typically female and dealing with a dark/troubled past
  • emotionally detached from events and people in her life
  • often seen to be the "cool girl"
  • can be a "jerk" but usually with a heart of gold

The Anti-Hero trope is:

  • the opposite attributes of a hero
  • bewildered, apathetic, deluded
  • often a loner with extreme celibacy issues or extreme promiscuity issues - no in-between.
  • typically a "neutral" type as opposed to the hero who MUST do the right thing



2) "I thought when I started meditation that I was going to get real calm and peaceful and it's going to be over. It's not that way; it's so energetic. That's where all the energy and creativity is."

Dale Cooper, the central protagonist of which the events of Twin Peeks is mostly seen through his eyes.

Like Lynch, Agent Cooper is an eccentric and often, in order to "defeat/confront" the darkness - he must enter (sometimes physically) an alternate mental state or space, much like the practice of meditation.

The Chosen One trope is:

  • a character chosen by force to resolve the conflict/plot
  • held in esteem by their peers
  • very similar to the BIG DAMN HERO trope



3) ''Film can't just be a long line of bliss. There's something we all like about the human struggle.'

One of my favourite Twin Peaks characters!

Audrey gives zero f*cks, and will use her feminine charm and wit to get what she wants in order to do the right thing, especially when Agent Cooper is involved. 

The complexity of Audrey's story is found in her struggle - to be loved by her parents, taken seriously for her intellect, to be accepted as a friend and peer. The human struggle in the thick of the mystery, topics we can all relate to in one way or another.

Unlike the femme fatale, the heroic seductress uses her sex appeal to do good, trick the evil forces to do her will or give-in to assisting her in attaining the goal. 

The heroic seductress is: 

  • highly intelligent and aware of her seductive charms. Will use this to her advantage. 
  • is a motivation for the opposing force to give in to her wants/needs in pursuit of doing the right thing/end goal.
  • uses her intelligence more than her charm to get information, however the enemy is already tricked before they realise this. 



4) ''To make the script, you need ideas, and for me a lot of times, a final script is made up of many fragments of ideas that came at different times.'

As Lynch says, a final product of your creativity is made up of many fragments. 

So embrace the unknown, the strange, unfamiliar, and have fun with it!

For example, one of his most memorable characters from Twin Peaks is Margaret "The Log Lady". 

Margaret often refers to her log, appearing to have a connection with it much like it was the spirit of her deceased husband. She also takes in rhyme and omens. 

This is very typical of the mad oracle character trope!

The mad oracle character trope is:

  • often considered mad by others but confidently predicts the future
  • speaks vaguely in metaphors, riddles, poems
  • are ignored or mocked until the reality of the plot unfolds to the majority of the main cast




5) Negativity is the enemy of creativity.

Let's cover Lynch's final tip before we dive deeper into Leland's trope. 

Negative feelings towards your art, projects, creativity is like committing yourself to an endless loop of shame and rejection (much like Leland actually!).

If you're starting to feel uninspired or blocked, then take some space. DO something different to reset your mind. Get some fresh air and take a few days away from your project. 

It does wonders when you come back with a fresh set of eyes, i promise!

Right, back to Leland.

Horrifying character right? Yup, we know - demonic possession from BOB - but let's get into the POLLYANNA trope.

The Pollyanna trope is:

  • a character with a story almost too horrifying for real life
  • destined to have the most awful fate of all characters involved
  • has undergone various hardships in life and lost anything and everything they held dear
  • dealing with serious repression of some sort, likely to suffer a breakdown leading to their horrendous fate.

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