Christmas is coming and the writers are getting twitchy. Are you planning to use the glorious break from everyday life to do some serious writing on that long-delayed script or novel?

Give yourself and your future readers the best possible Christmas present.

It’s only too easy to spend all that time hammering away at all the things you feel you ought to be doing – setting up plot, explaining character, making the story happen in the right order – and forget to do the one most important thing that you have to do.

That’s not what we watch movies or read books for. And certainly not what makes writing fun.

This Christmas, focus on giving your readers what they really want: a reason to keep on reading.

As you write each scene, as you finish each page, ask yourself what you are giving your reader that would make them want to read on.

Is it a question you’ve posed? Or an emotion you’ve created? A threat that you’ve made us anxious about? Is the central character deeply conflicted? Or totally misguided yet we care about her? Is her dialogue crackling with (say) wit, insight, malice or self-deception? Are we entering a fascinating new location? Or seeing a familiar place in an unusual way? Have you separated two lovers who belong together? Or united two who don’t?

It is rightly said that it is better to give than to receive.

In the same way, posing questions and creating emotions for your readers will not only be better for them – it will make your script much more enjoyable to write.

Remember, they call them screenplays for a reason – go play.

And have a fulfilling, successful and rewarding 2012.