If you haven’t heard, ScriptFrenzy month is nigh: April 1-30, 2010.
Whether you’re playing along or not, here’s a bit of sage advice for all writers from Greg Marcks–as posted on the ScriptFrenzy site.
I don’t have ten tips, or five tips, or even three tips. I can only give you one tip: Please, for the love of all that is holy, know your story before you start writing.
This is so much more difficult than it sounds. I always thought writing was exploratory, an attempt to exorcise a subconscious theme I was wrestling with. While this approach can work for short stories or short film scripts, it becomes unwieldy and time-consuming when tackling feature screenplays or novels.
BEFORE you type FADE IN:, plan the beginning, the middle, and the end.
Now here’s something interesting in the world of interactive storytelling. Crushing It is a comedy series/soap unfolding right now, in real time, on Twitter. How’s that, you say? Series Creator Jill Golick has dreamed into reality a setting, characters, and a hijinks-fraught storyline then turned them loose on Twitter for one week only.
“Think of this as an improv performance on the virtual stage of the Internet,” they say. We’ll think of it as brilliant. Screenwriters play the wedding-stressed characters and the audience fills in the rest.
What are you waiting for? Jump in!
We’ve all heard some variation of the trope, “Start at the end and work your way to the beginning” right? Well guess what? That works in writing and editing too.
Photo Credit: noraxx on Flickr
Say you’re staring at a blank page; you’re starting a new story but have no idea where it will head. Sometimes that’s exactly what you want but other times — like when you’re working to deadline or to directives from on high — you need to bolt it all down pronto. That’s when you move straight to the climatic scene of the film, novel, or memoir. How will this thing end? How is the story’s main problem resolved? What’s that final hurdle to be overcome and perhaps even who’s duking it out for the prize?
Since I caught the screenwriting bug about a year ago, I have been more sensitive to structure and tropes. Is the three-act frame out of date or overdone? I read in a screenwriting web site (from a supposed pro) that plenty of successful films buck the trend and are better for doing so. I read earlier that a 90-min. script should have this and that by this or that page – like 3 acts. My own script tries to get the rising action underway by page 80, but in the first 2 drafts, anyway, it didn’t quite work out that way. Comments?
– Louise F.
This is a multi-pronged topic that pops up regularly enough that we’re going to address it here in hopes of encouraging some well-thought-out rule-breaking.
So you wanna write movies. I hear you. You’re new to the game; you’ve seen every film there ever was, including this one; and you’ve vowed not to rest until your better mousetrap is up on the silver screen. Fantastic and congratulations — you’ve just pledged yourself to some good, long hours spent with pad and paper, breaking down your favorite films.
What’s this, you ask? You can recite dialogue from His Girl Friday, Airplane, AND Solaris and still that’s not enough? Don’t try to weasel out of this. As your momma always said (or the momma in one of those dripping Southern dramas always says), “you gotta finish what you started, honey.” You want to write movies, watching and reading isn’t enough. You have to break them down.