Screenwriting is a 24/7 sport. There is no respite. You’re either physically writing or thinking about writing. However, screenwriters aren’t always in a deep writing zone. That’s OK. Switch gears to another mode such doodling, researching, re-reading and earlier draft or engaging in an unrelated activity to unlock your mind.
The primary rule that screenwriters need to obey is DISCIPLINE. Not the whips and chains type, but the realization that you are a writer and your creative muse doesn’t check out at five o’clock. It also may not check in and nine in the morning.
Keep writing, Anything. Poems. Short stories. I ‘ve recently started radioplays. Webisodes are a growing medium. Exploit them. Develop your voice and hone your craft.
Keep Your Screenwriting Muse Engaged
ALWAYS CARRY A NOTEBOOK
Whether it be electronic or on the back of a napkin. You never know when the muse will strike. Whether it’s a germ of an idea or a full blown story. Listen. Observe. What is the world up to? What are they arguing about? What’s is the mood?
I use to spend countless hours riding the tube in London and eavesdropping on conversations while pretending to read the paper. Some stories I can’t repeat, some were spores to generate a story.
Stories are all about exploring the human experience, so gather them. Log speech patterns, jot down anecdotes, create an image bank.
Observe complete strangers and create an identity for them. Not in the creepy way though!
LET YOUR IDEAS RUMINATE
The creative process is not linear. Let your concepts incubate in your subconscious while you lie down or daydream. A nap or a brisk walk stimulates this part of your brain.
Update your thoughts in your notebook as stories gather momentum. Take a nap and ask your subconscious to give you answers to plot holes when you wake up. You’d be surprised at how often this works.
How many time have you heard people say they get their best ideas when they’re sitting on the toilet, doing the ironing or gardening.?When you encounter a block, change your environment. Take a walk, work naked, take a bath, change rooms, work in a coffee shop. Whatever gets you through the day.
While your subconscious is doing its formative work, use your conscious mind to edit a more advanced draft of something.
Now that the first stage of the creative process is complete, the time has come to assess what you have written.
Some screenwriting gurus make up to seven passes during the rewrite process to perfect their scripts. Passes include theme, plot, dialogue, main character goal, antagonist goal and the source of conflict.
Now get busy! Writing that is.
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