Have a movie or comic book idea that you've been dying to write? Now the good folks who organize National Novel Writing Month have invented something just for you: Script Frenzy. Stop making excuses and write that script next month!
We've got some practical advice from Sandra Salas, the Script Frenzy program director, that could help get you started.
So you think you're ready to write the next Inception but you don't know where to start? The best way to cook up a compelling story is to explore the juicy conflict between what your character wants and what they actually need. Typically, this plays out through some sort of quest, where the main character is uprooted from their day-to-day life, makes enemies, finds mentors and allies, gets pushed to the outer limits of their endurance, loses everything, then rallies and triumphs (typically with Ewoks dancing in the background).
At the end of the story, the character doesn't always get what they want, but they get what they need.
And yes, Mick Jagger was on top of this a long time ago.
Let's borrow an example from our friend George Lucas: A young Luke Skywalker wants to return to his aunt and uncle's farm, but he needs to master the Force, become less of a whiner, connect with his inner-Wookiee, etc. When Luke returns to the farm and discovers that his aunt and uncle are dead, he has no choice but to engage in the journey set before him. He wants to be a homebody; he needs to be a hero.
Plots often fall flat when the tension between a character's wants and needs are missing from the story. The strength of your story, and ease of your scriptwriting, will be determined by how well you know the psychology of your character before you sit down to write page one.
Here are five golden tips to help you go from "Fade In" to the final credits:
1. Get some scriptwriting software. It's easy to learn, and it saves you valuable time. Here are some suggestions: Celtx (it's free), Scrivener ($45), Storyist ($59), and the big Daddy of them all, Final Draft ($249).
2. Read a script and see how the experts do it. Go to the Internet Movie Script Database. It houses the largest collection of free scripts online.
3. Work out your story ahead of time. Try using notecards, or sticky notes for outlining. "Just winging it" may sound good now, but it'll make your life hard when you sit down to write.
4. Give yourself a deadline. Writing your script may fall by the wayside without a scary deadline to keep you on track.
5. Sign up for Script Frenzy! Every tens of thousands of participants from around the world take on the challenge of writing a 100-page script in April. Come join us! It will be bucket loads of fun, and I'll be with you every step of the way.
Visit Script Frenzy, and get ready for April!
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