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How To Write
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Prom Date
 
Getting Started
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GETTING STARTED 

What To Write - It's Up To You | Writing Methods - Pick A Method, Any Method

What To Write - It's Up To You

Write about what interests you. Chances are if it interests you it will interest someone else. And if it interests you, you will write a much better story. 

Write about what you know; not necessarily your personal experience, but something you have knowledge about. Knowing works out better than guessing.

Every story, even science fiction and far out comedy, is about life. Stories tell us something about the human condition. In comedy, we laugh at ourselves, the absurd, and the unexpected, making life more acceptable. In science fiction, we ponder the blanks in our knowledge, especially about life. In horror, we confront our fears, reminding ourselves what it means to live and be human. In action/adventure, we enjoy life and explore our limits and fantasies. In drama, we dwell on other dimensions of ourselves. 

All stories, even if just for entertainment or escapism, talk about life - the difference is the attitude they are presented with. The stories liked best are life affirming - triumphant. If it entertains and triumphs, it affects the viewer's attitude.

Writing about what interests you is best, but if you want to go for the gold, unique stories are in the most demand. A unique story is more likely to get attention. 

What sells best? Action/adventure. What is always in demand? Romantic comedy. What isn't a good gamble? The movies that are currently hot probably won't get any interest in a few months even though they may be followed quickly by several copycats.

Hint: Mystery and discovery are elements that add a lot of interest to stories. Discovery can be about being human, or about anything unique and interesting in the entire universe.

Writing Methods - Pick A Method, Any Method

Everyone writes stories differently. Some just write from beginning to end, then rewrite. This way is sometimes considered more creative and fun, but there are frustrating dangers. The characters tend to completely take over the story and go in the wrong direction, and sometimes the story drifts around and goes nowhere. Another way to write is to make an outline so you know exactly how the story will end. For example, if you sketched out a few ideas while you were reading the Prom Date, you actually created a brief outline. Outlining, then writing, is more disciplined, and can be just as creative and fun. Whichever way you write, it's best to have some idea of where your story is going before you write so you don't waste your time. 

Following are two methods you might use to write your screenplay. I hope you find this helpful.

Method 1: Have fun making your story! Write the beginning of your story and let it flow from you naturally. Let the characters do what they want. Become familiar with your characters and what is happening in their lives. After you have begun the story, start thinking ahead. What kinds of things might happen? Read the section on characterization. What should happen to these people? Read the example story, Prom Date, which illustrates dramatic structure. How should the story develop and end? As you read, jot down a few notes about these things. This is the simplest form of plotting or outlining. I'll help you with some of the finer details in the following paragraphs.

Method 2: the more recommended method: Have fun making your story! Think up three or more characters and write notes about their past. I recommend notes about the major events and people who have shaped a character's life. What are your character's hobbies and goals? Who do they like and hate, and why? Read the section on Characterization. Now bring your characters together in a setting and situation and let them interact. Good stories often start from character. After you know your characters, what they want, and how they interact, begin to plot the story. Let the characters determine what happens - don't use them as puppets. Read the example story, Prom Date. I'll help you with some of the finer details in the other articles.

Next: Characterization


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You are free to give this article in its entirety to others (small groups, under 100) as long as the copyright with my name (Dorian Scott Cole) is included. This material is not public domain and may not be sold, mass distributed, published, or made electronically available in any form, without permission from Dorian Scott Cole. Complementary distribution (unpaid - no charge) will not be charged for. Visit the Visual Writer Web site for e-mail address information.


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