Writing Tips to Trick out your Script
Wondering how to MAKE YOURSELF WRITE? Here’s writing tip # 7
Some days you are so excited to write. Ideas, dialogue, and action just comes to you. But on the days you are not in the mood, your decision to write can be similar to sitting in church or in court. It’s like watching paint dry on your laptop screen or watching a clock tick during detention.
But it shouldn’t be that way, and for pros, it usually isn’t. Because they…
PLANT THE SEED
I always compare writing to war, but the action is like many other artistic expressions, such as painting, poetry, cooking… but today, we’re going to compare it to “gardening.”
Now, I don’t know much about gardening, but I do know you plant seeds, wait and watch fresh fruits or vegetable grow. And then you get to eat juicy oranges, tomatoes or whatever when they ripen. I know it’s not THAT simple, but that is the basic nature of “gardening.”
What if I told you that you can PLANT THE SEED in your writing shift BEFORE YOU WRITE. This method makes writing profoundly more fluid, especially on the days you’d rather eat coal than face the keyboard.
Here is What I Do When I Plant the Writing Seed
1. Before my shift, I review my pages to see what problems I will face. Let’s say, if I’m driving to the office, I will read my pages before the drive. My brain will then start processing the problems… by the time I sit down, the seed will have been planted already. That awkward moment when you sit your ass on your seat and face the computer screen is no more (if I write at home early in the morning, I might review my pages the night before – I heard Presidents do this, review materials the night before and yes, it works).
2. Let’s say, I didn’t have time to review my material. I usually apply one of these three tactics:
- a) I soundtrack (associating music I chose for my script to get me emotional about it, because we are emotional creatures, yes?).
- b) Play an audio book or youtube clip that’s relevant to my script.
- c) Discuss the material with my partner, if I have one for that script… or discuss the script with my girlfriend or a close friend. Meaning, talk to them about character issues or plot, or any little detail I don’t look forward to facing. If you have access to such partners, or friends, this is pure gold. Always works.
3. If I haven’t done any of these things, and I’m at my desk not feeling it, I “plant the seed” anyway. Because I’ve done it too many times. I know if my mood is not there, I’ll start surfing the web or whatever, so I must inject myself with “the mood.” The soil of creativity is not ready for me.
For this purpose, I have my FAIL SAFE SCREENPLAY. A professional screenplay I’ve chosen to inspire me during such moments. I usually only have to read about 10 pages and I’m ready to write. For those of you who have read my writing advice of “Chanelling,” this isn’t THOSE THREE SCRIPTS. This is my FAIL SAFE SCRIPT.
For example, I’m writing a sci-fi ensemble script right now and my “fail safe” is “Saving Private Ryan.” Its similar in tone, I know the movie fairly well, and it was a very successful movie, so I trust it to provide me the right guidance.
Choose your FAIL SAFE SCRIPT well. It should fit your story. I generally pick a script that’s the same “Save the Cat” genre. My sci-script is “Golden Fleece” and so is “Private Ryan.” But you can apply any measures, if STC is not your thing.
I would advise it’s a movie you know well and even enjoy watching. It must feel like you’re watching that movie when you’re reading said screenplay. The images should project in your mind. This effect will be infectious when you find that you actually WANT to write. This trick will also help you with your general writing procrastination woes. Your desire to write will not even be noticed. Its like receiving a pain killer before the procedure. You will be blissfully into your own story before you know it. Plant that seed.
We’ve assembled all 13 of our screenwriting tips in an EPIC page so you can improve your screenwriting chops and enjoy the craft.
Written by: Norith Soth