Go On Your Own Quest — Week 4: Style

August 7th, 2013 by

The 2013 version of The Quest starts Week 4 today. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by because you can Go On Your Own Quest by following the structure of The Quest to dig into screenwriting theory [Core – 8 weeks], figure out your story [Prep – 6 weeks], and write a first draft [Pages – 10 weeks]. It’s a 24-week immersion in the screenwriting process and you can do it here – for free!

Plus you can join The Black Board, the Official Online Writing Community of the Black List and Go Into The Story, another free resource to help keep you inspired and on target at you Go On Your Own Quest from FADE IN to FADE OUT on the first draft of your original screenplay.

This week, we are reflecting on the subject of Style, mirroring the content the Questers are engaged with in Core IV: Style, working through six lectures I have written building off the 4th Essential Screenwriting Principle: Style = Voice. The lectures cover Elements of Screenplay Style, Narrative Voice, Psychological Writing, Imagematic Writing, and Action Writing.

For those of you who plan to Go On Your Own Quest, we began our week-long discussion on Style Monday asking this question: What is the key to understanding screenplay style? You can read that discussion here. Yesterday’s question: How have you learned screenplay style? That discussion here. Today another question:

* Why is white space on a screenplay page important?

If you plan to participate in the Go On Your Own Quest challenge, you have 5 weeks before we move into the Prep part of the process. In that time, I challenge you to get to know your Narrative Voice, the approach you will take to your screenplay style for this story.

If you’d like to access the same Core content as the writers participating in The Quest, I will be teaching Core IV: Style starting Monday, September 16. More information on that 1-week online class here.

Why wait? You can have immediate access to the content of all eight Core classes by signing up for The Core Package. This enables you to go through all of the Core lectures (48 total, each written by me), tips, techniques and optional writing exercises on a self-paced basis as well as take any of the 1-week classes as I offer them. Plus The Core Package offers a nearly 50% savings compared to if you took each Core class separately. For more information on this unique offer, go here.

Meanwhile I encourage you to head to comments to discuss today’s questions. And for a related discussion on The Black Board, check out these topics:

For more information on Go On Your Own Quest, go here.


Comment Archive

3 thoughts on “Go On Your Own Quest — Week 4: Style

  1. JoniB22 says:

    Ah, yes — white space.

    Determining the right amount is sorta like Goldilocks finding the right-sized bed!

    Too much white space, a page may appear scant. Too little, perhaps you’ve “overwritten”.

    So what’s right?

    We’d all like to believe that WHAT is written on the page is the important part.
    But if “HOW the page looks” throws a reader off, they may never get to the WHAT.

    And Lord knows, we want the reader to .. well, read!

    You hear various takes on things that have to do with “white space” all the time:

    — make it easy to “read down the page.”
    — don’t have big blocks of exposition — cull ’em down! Bust ’em up!
    — same goes with dialogue — be careful .. and if you’re purposefully going for a monologue, that monologue better have purpose .. and it better sing!
    — don’t put unnecessary action lines between each bit of dialogue. (A personal pet peeve! If I see this, like in “unproduced script” on some website, I stop reading. Like they say — allow for the actors to .. well, act!)
    –no CUT TO:’s!! They’re not needed.

    Other choices come in too — to BOLD scene headings .. or not to bold?

    When is vertical writing appropriate?

    Work hard on where your page breaks land!

    Yep, it’s hard enough work to WRITE WELL. But each page also has to LOOK GOOD.

    Bottom line is you don’t want to give a reader any excuse to not move their eyes down your page .. and anxiously turn to the next.

    White space is your friend. Slip your arm lovingly around its shoulder…

  2. Controlling white space, at first, seems like controlling the weather.

    But you have to be like Destro (from the ’80s G.I. Joe cartoon) and master how to use white space as a means to guide the reader through the action; help a director “see” the film shot-by-shot and convey emotional beats.

    There’s a lot of great examples of top screenwriters and novelists who use white space for maximum effect.

    This sort of related to the “Writer’s Voice” post/question.

  3. lisakothari42 says:

    I like to use each page efficiently and that tends to mean there will be a lot of white space – first, I write dialogue, not long conversations, second I’m employing subtext methods – people naturally are skirting around what’s on their mind, i.e. talking less, and I try to keep the narrative to the minimum, knowing the Director is going to fill in much of this and all she needs is a few details about the characters, scenes, setting to do this. Also, I want to produce a fast read – lots of white space allows for this and keeps the reader reading!

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