While watching the new documentary The Impostor, I was struck by the magnetism of the narrator and star. He’s a serial liar and impersonator who wants to improve his life by assuming the identity of a missing child. Not only does he make for a compelling tale, he offers lessons to aspiring writers (like me).

My friend, colleague and coach, Dave Corbett, once said “give the character a compulsion and let him go.” It’s sage advice and is equally true in fiction and documentary.