This has been a most interesting week. Based on some quality notes, I wrapped up a polish of the dramedy spec (which is now in the process of getting notes). Feedback so far has been encouraging, which is nice.
So now the focus can shift back to developing the two new stories. With most of my recently-completed projects having been worked on for extended periods of time, it’s been a while since I was really starting out from the very beginning.
I’d totally forgotten how much I enjoyed the process of putting a story together. I know what the core concept for each one is, and now it’s all about finding the best and most entertaining way to tell them.
At times it feels like my mind is going in a thousand directions at once, so I’m constantly writing stuff down. A scene or sequence idea here, a line of dialogue there, plot twists, character development, turning the scene on its head; pretty much the whole kit and kaboodle.
Main storylines have been established, with the expected constant fine-tuning and adjusting, and as I work my way forward, the subplots are making themselves known.
Entirely new worlds (or maybe “settings” might be appropriate, since each story is on the smaller side) are being created, populated with unique and hopefully somewhat original characters.
While one of the stories is based on an old script, there’s a constant discarding of a lot of the original content and trying new approaches. Not necessarily “throw it all at the wall and see what sticks”, but kinda/sorta along those lines.
For the other, this is dipping my toes into a genre I enjoy, but wouldn’t call myself a major fan, so doing what I can to avoid tropes and cliches (of which there are apparently many). If that proves more challenging than anticipated, will do what I can to least go for the unexpected.
Added bonus – watching movies of that genre and style to get a better feel for both.
Sometimes I’ll read a writer’s account about what a chore it is for them to develop a story, or how much they loathe this part of the process. I don’t see it that way. Organizing the story and putting it all together is a key part of screenwriting. Too many times when reading a spec, you can tell when the writer didn’t put in the effort to get all the details of the story right before they started on pages.
I recently asked my online screenwriting newwork their thoughts on outlining versus a “seat of your pants” approach. The responses were overwhelmingly in favor of outlining. Granted, there are some writers who prefer the latter, but I’m not one of them. I’m a firm believer in having a rock-solid outline before starting to write the actual script.
But that’s what works for me. Others may feel differently regarding their own process. No matter how you achieve the end result, as long as you’re happy with it, then more power to you.
The whole creative process in developing a story is a beast unto itself, but I think all the long-term work I’ve done for other scripts is really paying off for these two. For now, it’s still a big and unwieldy mess, occasionally feeling very unorganized and all-over-the-place, but a little bit of work every day will gradually pay off. When all is said and done, I’ll have two new scripts.
Like I said – I’m enjoying it.