Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Structure and motivation.

From time to time I do correspond and meet with other writers. Whenever people mention structure and planning to me I go quiet. When forced into a corner I will mutter something about my writing being a journey, and that the journey is a mystery tour because sometimes even I don't know where it's going. I have come to believe if it's a good trip for me then it will be a good trip for my reader or audience.
Editing this somewhat haphazard modus operandi of writing can be an arduous task, because I am trying to establish some structure, shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.
A screenwriting friend recently Skyped me from NY and recommended "Save the Cat" by Blake Snyder, which is supposed to be the last word on screenwriting.
I got my book delivered from Amazon with 3 days and within 3 days more I had read it. Snyder's book left me so motivated I felt like an athlete poised at the starting blocks.
I rushed out to Ryman Stationery and bought a large notice board, index cards and coloured pens. I then produced a template for my 'Beat Sheet' and wrote the story divided into 15 specific beats which were so specific they reserve in advance what page number they will be on.
I'm at the 'Board' stage now, that's Board and not Bored, which I have sectioned off into Acts 1, 2 and 3, (2 being sub-divided into two parts) and then commence to write my Scenes on the index cards. When they are all on the board, all 40 of them, then I can adjust my structure at this stage, a bit like a jigsaw puzzle, which is a whole lot better than rearranging whole chunks of writing, as you cannot see a whole script in one glance.
Blake Snyder says a lot more about scene writing and character development, but you'll need to buy the book to find out more.
I haven't lost that 'journey' experience I previously had in my writing. The journey happens for me in putting my beat sheet together and then on the storyboard.
None of this is writing, but boy the writing will flow so much better when I know where I am going. I hope my fingers can keep up.
My partner read my beat sheet, and said "It's not your usual style of writing, and there is no comedy there." I pointed out to her that it isn't my writing at all until I go to the laptop and  bring the story to life by adding richness and depth to the characters, location and storyline.
Comedy is absent from my story at the planning stage, because story is paramount, and comedy is my preferred style of presenting my characters as the story unfolds. I don't plan comedy.
I'm writing a film script this time. I don't expect it will ever go into production because it involves location expenses and no producer would do that for a new writer. It is a story I have wanted to tell and for me it's a worthwhile project in my mission to develop into a writer in my latter years.
Its called Midnight at the Alhambra, and I will post a sample in the near future.