Keys to the Craft: Write Pages

November 29th, 2012 by

If you want to learn the craft of screenwriting, here are five practices you need to adopt:

Think Concepts. Watch Movies. Read Scripts. Write Pages. Live Life.

Monday, I wrote about Think Concepts.

Tuesday: Watch Movies.

Wednesday: Read Scripts.

Today: Write Pages.

It beckons you with a daunting whisper. It mocks you with its dull emptiness. It freezes your soul with its ice cold whiteness.

It is – the blank page!

How can a mere 8 1/2 x 11 inch piece of white paper provoke such anxiety, such horror, such despair?

The despair of the blank page – the writer’s bane!

Laying eyes upon the blank page provokes a catch in your breath, a twitch in you muscles, that special tightening in your sphincter.

Fear. But fear of what?

Fear of the not knowing. Not knowing what words will appear… or won’t appear. Not knowing if the words will make sense. Not knowing if the sentences will be good. Not knowing if the story will work.

I could lay a little “power of positive thinking” on you. You know…

Imagine the possibilities!

My experience with those positive thinking platitudes is that when your blank page remains blank, the writer’s life becomes about the power of positive drinking. And look where that got Hemingway!

Thus, instead of behavioral modification, let me suggest a more philosophical, even, dare I say, spiritual approach.

I ask you to consider the possibility that your story already exists.

It is already there… all 120 pages. From FADE IN to FADE OUT. Written. Rewritten. Edited. Spell-checked. Properly formatted. And ready to go.

The story concept exists already.

The characters exist already.

The plot exists already.

The dialogue exists already.

The themes exist already.

It is there, waiting for you to find, uncover and reveal it.

Okay, Myers, if it’s waiting for me, then where is it hiding out ‘coz I sure as hell can’t find it!!!

Your story’s right there… on your blank page.

“The despair of the blank page: it is so full.”

That’s right, your challenge isn’t the emptiness of your blank page, it’s that there is so much there already. All you need to do is see it…

And you’ll see it when you believe it.

You can choose to stare at that blank page. Sometimes that is quite valuable – clear the mind, focus your thoughts, go into a state of deep concentration. But in general, the best way to find your story on the blank page… is to start writing.

Believe it… then you’ll see it.

Start writing. And watch the magic of your story reveal itself to you… as your blank pages becomes full.

Tomorrow: Live Life.

5 thoughts on “Keys to the Craft: Write Pages

  1. “That special tightening in your sphincter”?!?!

    Good lord Scott!!! Were you watching David Cronenberg movies when you wrote this or something?!

    Granted, I find the blank page daunting at times but it has yet to travel through my g.i. tract and colon!!! :D

  2. Liri Nàvon says:

    This reminds me of Michelangelo’s quote: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

  3. […] Write Pages It beckons you with a daunting whisper. It mocks you with its dull emptiness. It freezes your soul with its ice cold whiteness. […]

  4. ProseSword says:

    Funny stuff, but true. Once you start writing, ideas come to you, but you have to spank those keys and get ideas down on paper.

    One of our best writers, Larry McMurtry, had an idea for a western but he was stuck after he’d written the first line. After getting inspiration from an abandoned church sign, he found the title for his ellusive western. And thus, LONESOME DOVE was born.

    Those two words may not seem like much, but they represent the story’s theme. Now that’s enough to unblock any writer.

    Yes, titles are important.

    Love this site. It’s good for your mind and soul.

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