Monday, June 18, 2007

Assignments Week Four

Take a look at what you accomplished last week and pat yourself on the back. Whether you wrote 5 pages or 25 pages, you're further along than you were a week ago.

You can design your own program, but I suggest you keep doing the suggested warm-up exercises before you begin writing. When I'm feeling lazy, I always want to skip this step. But, I set my timer and do the warm-ups anyway. And I'm always glad I do.

Last week the warm-ups helped me to clarify who the antagonist is and what he wants, figure out who the villain is and what he wants, answer several questions I had about the story-line, and the exercises also brought up a major theme I hadn't considered. I honestly felt better each time I did the warm-ups. They only take 10-15 minutes and they get your hands and thoughts moving, so try to make them part of your daily routine.

This week, before you begin, look through your RED marks and notes in your exercise journal. Look at the words you circled for the scene exercises and at the scenes listed in the moving image exercise. Note any research you will have to do... later.

I find that sometimes in the middle of writing I want to stop and look up some information. Resist the temptation. Last week I stopped and started researching animals to make sure they lived in certain parts of South America together. This may be important, but it's nothing that can't be changed later. I pushed myself to just keep writing, getting the story down. I can go back and research details later (like the names of fruits a Howler Monkey might throw at someone).

Again, rotate the kind of writing exercise you do: short sentence, chain, LSR, etc. I always do a few chaining exercises each week. That one is always the trickiest to me.

This week, try your hand at these combinations:

The scene that needs to be written is...
In this scene Character A wants Ch. B to...
In this scene Character B wants Ch. A to...

When my protagonist looks in the mirror she sees...
(When my antogonist looks in the mirror he sees...)
My protagonist thinks my antogonist should...
(My antagonist thinks my protagonist should...)

My protagonist's darkest moment occurs when...
My protagonists's deepest secret is...
My protagonist breaks through his cage when...

After you have done your warm-ups, it's time to work on your script! Set your timer for 20 minutes and go. Do not look back, do not edit.

After 20 minutes. Take a little break, stretch, pee, refill your coffee, and then write for 20 minutes more.

I have found that I usually write about 3-4 pages of screenplay in this amount of time. Any less and you're probably overthinking. Any more and... well, I'm jealous...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

If I was writing a novel instead of a screenplay would I expect to write the same amount of pages?

OpenChannel said...

Oh, gosh, sorry whoever left this. I didn't see it until today...

No, you would not write the same amount of pages. Not in that amount of time. I'd say about half that.

When I am working on a novel, I do try to write 5 pages per day, but that is a lot and it takes me 2 or 3 hours. I have friends who are happy to write a page per day.

It also depends on the genre of novel and the amount of action/description vs. dialogue.