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