Thank you for being better than me

fancy pie
Mine don’t look like theirs yet, but give me time…

Via a writing colleague, I recently found myself in the possession of a pair of scripts written by a pair of pros.

“Open one and read a few words and you’ll be in for the rest of the script,” I was told.

And you know what? They weren’t far off.

I only got a few pages in, but found the writing to be extremely vivid and descriptive. No problem at all in painting those mental pictures with a powerful brush.

My only complaint – all that dazzling wordsmithing got a little too distracting, making it slightly tougher to focus on the story. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to reading both scripts.

But I totally got my friend’s point: the writing was exceptionally engaging. It really grabbed you and made you want to keep going.

Compared to it, my writing comes across as kind of dry and might even be considered sort of dull and lackluster. Not to totally disparage my own work, but these writers are professionals. I, as it has already been established, am not.

But reading these scripts and others like them are good reminders of what I and every other writer should be trying to do. You don’t want a stick drawing. You want a finely-crafted elaborate work of art.

Speaking from experience, this isn’t easy. It’s almost like learning a new way of writing. It requires a lot of work, nor will it happen overnight.

But don’t despair. The good news is you can start working on these improvements practically immediately.

Take the last scene you wrote. How does it read to you? Does it compel you to want to know what happens next? Feel free to tinker with it until it gets to that point. Then do the same with the scene after it. And the one after that. And so on, and so on.

Think of it this way – you want the reader to “see” the scene in the same way you imagined it. Therefore, your challenge is to write it so the actions, images and dialogue in it come as close as possible to matching your version AND that no other description would do it justice.

Reading these professional scripts was at first intimidating in a “I’ll never be able to write like that!” kind of way. But with a continuous effort and a lot of work, there’s no reason to think I couldn’t come mighty close.

3 thoughts on “Thank you for being better than me

  1. I’ve had the same response at times when reading friend’s scripts. I would think this is far superior to anything I’ve written. I’d ask myself if this isn’t made into a movie, my stuff will never be green-lighted.
    You are absolutely correct, we have to push forward and grow and develop our craft. The other stuff will take care of itself with persistence and determination. Thanks for the post, Paul.

  2. Paul, never mind.
    Just do it.
    “Dry, dull, lack luster…”
    That’s your unique voice.
    Of course, I totally agree.
    Learn from the masters.
    Keep striving to get better, to improve, and become better—
    But here’s the thing:
    Whatever your unique voice is—
    You have to be ENGAGING!!!
    Improve on “dry dull and lack luster”–
    To stop me from falling asleep by page 12–
    ENGAGE me enough to stay up and finish reading until the end–
    In your own UNIQUE VOICE.
    That is the ultimate test.
    Keep writing, keep going!

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