As I mentioned in the last update I’ve been writing a Sitcom script for a university assessment. Whilst something I am brand new to, I have found that it has improved my writing for other projects and helped with writers block. As such I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on why I’ve found it helpful.
The answer that most readily presents itself is Variety. For the entirety of the time I have been writing I have shied away from scripts. They didn’t interest me, I wasn’t familiar with the format and was a little scared of trying new territory for university assessments. Here are my mistaken assumptions about script writing:
- Formatting scripts is hard. It’s not. There is free software out there that does that part for you. All you need is to do a little basic reading around the rules/conventions of the form and you’re good to go. (I’ve been using WriterDuet and have found it helpful and intuitive)
- You need to know about camera angles, shots etc… You don’t. In fact I’ve been happily informed by my tutors that this is not my job. I am there to write the characters, set the scene and then the director should it ever make it to the development stage. There are a few notable exceptions, such as highlighting if someones face shouldn’t be visible, if you are writing a mystery or making sure that whispered dialogue isn’t heard by the audience etc.
- I couldn’t write engaging characters. (This ones a more personal fear.) What I’ve found is that script writing has improved my characters in other projects. Why? I think it’s because writing dialogue as my primary form of communication without worrying overly about body language has made my dialogue tighter, given my insults more barb and my humour more levity. This has been a great help as my biggest struggle as a writer has been prioritising concept over character.
So yeah, the change of pace has loosed the creative flood, broken my writers block and I believe taught me a great deal about writing effective dialogue and utilising comedic timing. I’m actually considering turning one of my stories into a script and working on building it into a TV series.
So what are your thoughts on script, have you ever written one? Got any helpful tips and tricks for someone working on their first? Put them in the comments section below I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading
In my last post I talked about the editing process and what I would be doing to improve my first draft. Having done a good chunk of reading, collating feedback and re-writing over the last couple of days I thought I’d update you all on my progress. So far I’ve learned a few important things.
- My Memory isn’t great and I should refer to my character’s info sheet to make sure that I am not accidentally changing their appearances.
- I can never remember when to use a fullstop or comma in dialogue until I reach the editing phase. (My Dissertation tutor has been good enough to talk me through this in depth in the hopes I will do it correctly first time and not with the benefit of a red pen and hindsight.
- That Re-strcuturing can be a god send for improving pacing, scene impact, characterisation etc…
- Word counts suck.
While by no means exhuastive that list touches upon the majority of what I’ve been up to.
I thought to give me a break from editing, I’d talk a little about how I approach Re-structuring a scene and why I believe re-writing and re-structuring is the best way to do a first round of edits. Take the scene I’ve just finished re-structuring; originally I had two chapters for Fjolin split by a chapter for Kite. This wasn’t ideal because in my orignial draft I had five chapters differening between 2500 words and 1500 words. At the end of re-writing my first chapter to address feedback around pacing, characterisation and setting I had 3400 words. I have 10,000 words to work with total, 11,000 if you count the 10% allowance. Following this trend I wouldn’t get a second chapter with Fjolin, which would mean cutting considerable content.
To get around this issue I did wrote down what I considered the be the major events in both of Fjolins chapterss on a bullet point list. I then merged some of the points, removed others and played with the order in which they would happen resulting in this second list. To finish I cut and merged parts of the chapters I considered weak and re-arranged the events to form what I hope will be a much stronger introduction to Fjolin. I was surprised at how much larger the second list became as I was able to be more specific and list examples of what I wanted including. The finished product was a much stronger outline that I look forward to fleshing out fully later today.
It is for precisely this reason that I feel that re-writing is the best way to approach editing a first draft. So many of the problems that I encounter in my drafts, plot holes, inconsistent dialogue, indistinct setting, weak side characters, can’t be addressed properly if I try to preserve anymore than the core components of the first draft. This change in my preference seems representative of the amount of time I have spent working on shorter projects for my MA and BA. If it wasn’t for word counts it would have taken me longer to learn the importance of tight outlining to ensure I got the most out of my projects.
So that’ll do it for now. I’ll be back with another writing update on a different topic for you soon. Sorry for the brevity of this one but it is five am and I have spent far too long writing this as it is!
Have great day all
I’ve just completed my first draft for my dissertation with a little over a month to go to the deadline. I’ll be honest, I’m more excited about the project now than when I sat down to write it. Usually I don’t have this problem with my creative projects; I sit down hammer out whatever it is that is in my head and then when the novel or short story is finished I run away from it until it’s time to edit.
I started this project eight times before I found a version I was happy with, the rest of it coming in one or two takes. Now it’s done however I can begin the laborious process of turning it into a worthy submission. I’m going to leave it be for a day or two and more thoroughly prepare my research for use in the critical commentary by jotting down quotes and referencing the books they come from. I will also be preparing a detailed outline for the critical commentary so I don’t go in blind. While I wont have a draft of this done for another week or so, the commentary should be ready for redrafting and tweaking itself.
To round out this post I thought I’d talk about my editing process. It normally goes something like this.
- Read draft.
- Re-outline the piece; are there any scenes that need rewriting to improve.
- Make notes on Character, Setting and how to improve them.
- Rewrite any scenes that I feel are too week to keep.
- Tweak the other scenes.
When all that has been done, I normally throw it my trusted group of readers so that they can butcher it, in its revised state. Then its a matter of rinse repeat until it is time to go through and format/do an extremely thorough grammar check. (I normally don’t worry too much about this until the end because I tend to edit via rewriting.)
So that’s where I’m at for any of you who read previous posts and were wondering. Sorry for the delay on the post, I’ve been moving house and have only recently regained the use of the internet and a livable environment.
So those of you that follow what I post regularly will have noticed that I fell off the grid for a week or so. That’s because I’m in the process of moving house, managing a university assessment and working. I should build some more time in to create content but honestly haven’t felt able to. So given that I can’t sleep at 4am with a full day of moving furniture tomorrow I thought I’d give you all a quick update.
What am I writing at the moment, well two things.
- My dissertation
- My assessment
- See above ^
Whilst I enjoy my degree I find it difficult to focus on my own projects when all of my writing and reading time is taken up by assessment work. Assessment work can be fun, I often enjoy the challenge but it means that I have less time and will to work on my own private projects such as The Adventures of Georgia the Bearded (A fun, laid back and over the top comedy that I write mainly for stress relief) or continuing my science fiction stories. But complaining aside I have some fun projects I’m focusing on at the moment.
For the assessment I am writing a sit com. This is my first attempt at writing a script and so far I have to say that I am enjoying the process and finding it a great way to practice writing character. The dialogue heavy and description sparse style of most scripts means the words have to convey meaning and character clearly or risk misinterpretation or failing to engage your readers/audience. To get around the issue of creating characters from scratch I decided that I would follow in the footsteps of Rick Riordan; take the Greek gods, trap them in an apartment with their powers all but gone and see what followed.
So far its been a lot of fun trying to use a modern day context but incorporate the centuries of godly squabbling into my character dynamic. This has been successful giving my characters more tension off the bat because of the preconceptions or prior knowledge that my audience will approach my script with. Zeus and his promiscuous nature are well known, as is the fact that the Greek gods were a petty bunch: something that I have done my best do display.
The dissertation has been a little more difficult to write, I suspect because of the subject matter. My sit com is comedy, I get to write sly and barbed dialogue with the aim of making people laugh, invariably leading to me amusing myself. The dissertation as I mentioned in an earlier blog post is a fantasy incorporating modern political allegory. This means that the recent events in America involving the separation of children from their parents has warranted study and a place in the story, I’ve been doing some research into child soldiers. All in all heavy stuff that can make me feel a little scummy to write.
So yeah I’ve nearly completed my script barring final edits and I have got a good chunk of my dissertation written, hoping to get a good amount more down on paper over the weekend and coming week. So that’s it really, sorry for the waffly post but I thought I’d update you on comings and goings.
Have a great day
If like me, you are a fan of Bioware and the games they produce then Anthem is probably something you are concerned about. With EA’s graveyard of previously beloved developers and Andromeda’s problematic launch, Bioware need a win. Now at last years E3 Anthem looked promising, a new mysterious franchise starter in a style Bioware are used to working with. A year later, I’m beginning to wonder whether that was false hope and here’s why. Continue reading “Anthem: A Disappointing Key Note For An Underwhelming Conference.”
Games Workshop launched Age of Sigamr in 2015, replacing Warhammer: Fantasy Battles amidst great controversy. It has however stood the test of time and with second edition just around the corner bringing a host of new rules and abilities, I thought I’d take take a look at AoS so far. Its successes, failures and areas in which I believe it could stand to improve. Continue reading “Age of Sigmar: Detriment or Improvement?”
(Plot Spoilers included)
Rick Riordan’s books have been a staple of my reading since secondary school when I was introduced to The Lightning Thief. I have since picked up and read every book he has published in that universe, The Burning Maze being no exception. Continue reading “Rick Riordan’s: The Burning Maze”