Writing a Screenplay

Language is the roadmap of our culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going. Rita Mae Brown

– it seemed to me that I had to be a writer as well as a reader. I bought a school notebook and tried to write – did write, pages that started off authoritatively and then went dry, so that I had to tear them out and twist them up in hard punishment and put them in the garbage can. I did this over and over again until I had only the notebook cover left. Then I bought another notebook and started the whole process once more. The same cycle – excitement and despair, excitement and despair. Alice Munro, Cortes Island (1999)

There’s one characteristic that sets writing apart from most of the other arts- its apparent democracy, by which I mean its availability to almost everyone as a medium of expression. Margaret Arwood, Negotiating with the Dead (2002)

Powers of observation heightened beyond the normal imply extraordinary disinvolvement: or rather the double process, excessive preoccupation and identification with the lives of others, and at the same time a monstrous detachment…The tension between standing apart and being fully involved: that is what makes a writer. Nadine Gordimer, Introduction, Selected Stories

writing is telepathybig

What you need to remember is that there’s a difference between lecturing about what you know and using it to enrich the story. The latter is good. The former is not. [Reading] good writing, on the other hand, teaches the learning writer about style, graceful narration, plot development, the creation of believable characters, and truth-telling. Stephen King

pixar link
Pixar has created a list of 22 rules for storytelling HERE.

Ted Talks compiled a 12 Ted Talk playlist about the power of film. The first is by Andrew Stanton on the clues to a great story.

Ted Talks also compiled a playlist of talks on how to tell a story – essentially what you are doing when writing a screenplay.

Various authors offer advice on how to write posted here.


Every story can be broken down according to this schematic:

The Catalyst – the set up of the story

The Big Event – changes the character’s life – things are put upside down

Pinch – major movement to story middle – a point of no return for the character on his path to right the upheaval

Crisis – low point or moment that forces a decision that leads to your story’s end

Showdown – character meets his nemesis – violence between character and opposition
Realization – balance is restored, character is changed, epiphany happens

everything matters

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