Take us along for the ride

roller coaster.jpg
Hang on tight.

Here’s a two-part question for you. Pencils at the ready, please.

Up first – Are you enjoying the actual process of writing your script?

Sure, we all like “having written”, but what about getting there?

Do you get a thrill from figuring out your story? Mapping out the plot? Developing characters and crafting dialogue?

Do you get so engrossed and involved in your writing that when you check the time, you discover a lot more time has passed than you thought?

If you’re really excited and enthusiastic about your script, you’re going to feel that way even before you start writing it.

Now for the second part of the question:

Is all the aforementioned excitement and enthusiasm evident on the pages of your script? Could someone read it and think “Wow, they really like this stuff.”?

While it’s often said that you can gauge a writer’s grasp of the craft just by looking at the first page, you can also tell if they’re really into their story by how it reads.

Does it grab you from the get-go? Is the tone of the writing a solid match for the tone of the genre? This is not a case when “good enough” will cut it. What would you think if you read a horror that was “sort of” scary, or a comedy where all the jokes fall flat?


You want the reader to be as thoroughly entertained as you were in putting it together. You want them to be as compelled to keep turning the page as you’d be if you were reading it yourself.

A lot of the time you’ll hear a writer wrote something because “they had a story they had to tell”. That story was so strong and powerful inside them, they had no alternative but to write it out.

As creative types, that level of excitement and enthusiasm exists in all of us. We’re all eager to tap into it, but need to take the time to learn how to do it properly so it can be done in the most effective way possible.

Pencils down.

13 thoughts on “Take us along for the ride

  1. Paul,
    Boy do your questions hit home with me. I write because I have to write. I love the whole process of putting together a script that someone else gets it – enjoys reading it and believing it would make a great movie. Horray for the screenplay!

  2. Paul,
    I didn’t get to the second part of the question because in facing the first part I realized I have lost the spark. I’ve been putting off rewrites on a couple of scripts because I’ve fallen out of love with the projects and, worse, right now I don’t have respect for the general movie audience. That’s no way to approach a craft I should be in love with & used to be passionate about. So, I’m going to take a break, go fishing, enjoy my upcoming water color art class & give my self a chance to recapture the magic that used to make me want to be a storyteller. Thanks for helping me realize the fire has at least temporarily gone out. Will keep you posted.

    • I know I’ve said this before, but hang in there. We all know how frustrating this can be. I hope the fire rekindles soon for you.

      • Paul,
        As you know I live in Colorado. Keota is a town on our Eastern Plains & Keota is a Native American word (possibly Arapahoe) meaning “The fire has gone out”. The town of Keota is struggling to stay alive in today’s economy & I am furiously working at rekindling my fire as a writer. To be continued.

  3. Jim,
    Do whatever you have to do in order for you to get back your gusto for writing. The writing world will miss you while your gone.

    • Pauline,
      Thank you for the encouragement & congrats on fifty years of marriage. My wife & I are only a couple of years behind the two of you. You might be able to help with my problem regarding current audiences. I don’t see the movies of the “Seth Rogan crowd” as having the wit of my favorite movies from the ’30’s & 40’s or even matching the zany humor of The Marx Brothers.

      OK, I’m no Billy Wilder but that is the level of screenwriting I aspire to & don’t know if that can find a place in today’s market. I want to write family friendly scripts that don’t require kids cursing or an adult getting hit in the groin to get a laugh. Again, thanks for understanding a fellow writer.

  4. For the first question, when I’m plotting a story, working on the climax and arranging cards, playing with narratives, I’m completely lost in time. I forget to eat and times passes without so much as a glance at a clock.

    Is that initial enthusiasm and excitement evident on the page? I’m not so sure at least at first. Because the first draft for me is merely putting the skeleton of the story on the page. It’s during the rewriting phase the meat gets put on the bone. This is where ideas spark other ideas. That’s when again I can get lost in time. Every story I write has a piece of myself embedded in it. Hopefully, my love for writing and my craft will show itself on the page in the end. That’s my quest.

  5. Like the person who write first, I get lost when I’m writing my script. I don’t know what time it is and I am focusing so strongly I don’t even hear the news program my husband watches most if the day. I don’t even hear him when he speaks to me, which makes him mad. We struggle but work it out at the end of the day. We’ve been married fifty years this Decrmber. I’m very committed to writing a great script as I was when I started it. Reaching my age, I’ve put away all the worries and life’s struggles because writing is my life.

  6. Jim,
    I’m also writing for the family film market. I just don’t have it in me to write strong language either. I have one milk toast sci-fi completed. At least until I read it again. And one I’m just starting a rewrite, with a suggestion from a producer. She suggested I change the protogonist’s background. So I have to start from almost page ten. I believe I can get it finished right after an intense on-line class I’m taking. Is over. The turn around time to post assignments are due in twenty four hours. There’s a little pressure. Put in by my perfectionist way. Hopefully I can say something to get your mojo jump started. There is a company called Ink Tip. I don’t know if you have ever heard of them, but they put out calls from all genres. And this last month they asked from family films. Think about researching them and maybe sending in one or two of your screenplays. It can’t hurt! What do you have too lose? You can do this before you go fishing🍈. That way your not waiting. Just fishing. An idea from a friend. Now that I’ve talked your ears off with my opinions, I’ll say goodnight. Pauline

    • Pauline,
      Again, thanks. I have my 3 most polished scripts on Ink Tip & have had a lot of “logline” looks, a couple of scripts viewed but no sale yet. I also have my loglines in their digital magazine & get their script request emails. So, yes, even while I am on a stream fishing or painting a landscape, my scripts are working hard for me. I wish you the best of luck with your projects. Keep us all posted.

    • Matthew, a Have you named this series installment? I’d call it “Call to Arms.” Just a thought. Pauline

      Sent from my iPhone


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