Wednesday, July 14, 2010

How I Write a Script by Scott Myers, Part III

Ok, I’ve got forty-five 3x5 cards, one for each scene in my work-in-progress, Bon Secur. I think I have all the major story points covered. Now what? That’s the subject of Scott Myers sixth part of his How I Write a Script blog. You can read his full blog at:

He writes, “I start by transcribing the content of the cards into a new Word file called Story Outline. I generally will have written down notes and ideas on the cards related to each scene or beat, so that information goes into the outline as well.”

“The goal here is to create a blueprint with Scene 1, followed by Scene 2, Scene 3, all the way to the last scene and FADE OUT. The hard work here is to make sure as best as I can that the story tracks and handles all the subplots. A final consideration is to think about the transitions, how to make each shift from one scene and sequence to the next is as smooth and seamless as possible.”

“Apart from locking down the story’s structure, I also think about every scene, asking a series of questions:
* What is the point of the scene?
* What is the scene's Beginning, Middle, and Ending?
* What characters should be in the scene and why?
* How do I enter / exit the scene?”

“That can change in the actual writing of the script – as well as scene order – but I like thinking through my scenes in advance.”

“My outlines can be quite long. I just pulled out one from my files that is 22 single-spaced pages. But then, I like to throw in everything I dredge up for each scene: images, bits of dialogue, Internal World dynamics, transitions, and so on.”

“Okay, now I want you to take a deep breath and realize something: All that -- story concept, brainstorming, research, character development, plotting, and outline -- and I haven’t written one word of the actual script. I have found doing the hard work up front, what I call prep-writing, gives me more room for creative thinking in my page-writing process.”

“Let's me be clear: I am not saying that every writer has to work this way. Each writer has to find the approach that works for them.”

Tomorrow, I’d like to introduce you to Scott’s Script Diary.

Like most of you, I have Word loaded on my computer and could create my outline in Word as Scott suggests.  But, as you might guess, I'm a sucker for gadgets and software.  I purchased Write Brothers' Outline 4D.  I've been using it to outline novels written by favorite authors and films as a part of my study of story structure.  I've been very pleased with it during the limited time that I have been using it.  When I've answered Scott's questions regarding each scene I'll be dusting off Outliner 4D and applying it to Bon Secur.  That will be the real test.

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