How about September as scene-writing month?

August 26th, 2013 by

I’ve gotten attached to this pattern of a monthly series in the noon (Eastern) time slot. It started in April with A Story Idea Each Day for a Month. In May, it was Movies You Made month. June, 30 Days of Screenplays. July, Movie Story types. And this month it has been Scene Description Spotlight.

So here we are looking at September and my gut tells me we should have a go at something that arose in our group conversation a few months back: What about a series of scene-writing exercises? For example:

* Write a scene that establishes a location.

* Write an action scene with no dialogue.

* Take a ‘talking heads’ scene and put it on its feet.

* Write a scene that builds toward a cliffhanger.

The idea being that each day (Mon-Fri) everyone is invited to write a scene and post it for comment. Why might my creative gut be feeling all warm and gushy about this prospect? Because soon, people who are committed to Go On Your Own Quest will start writing script pages. What better way to warm up to that than by writing a bunch of scenes. And if you’re not going to be pounding out a first draft starting in October, you can still benefit from a series of exercises in scene-writing.

So what ideas do you have for scene-writing exercises? We can even use prompts like this:

* Write a scene where a woman seduces a man only talking about baseball.

* Write a scene involving a gun.

* Write a scene using voiceover narration.

Let’s see if we can come up with 21 great ideas for scene-writing exercises (that’s how many Monday through Fridays there are in September).

What suggestions do you have?

8 thoughts on “How about September as scene-writing month?

  1. Write a chase scene involving means of conveyance other than automobiles.

  2. Debbie Moon says:

    Sounds like fun! As for exercises, how about:

    – write a scene where information must be conveyed but no can/dares to speak
    – an ordinary scene utilising an extraordinary location (a first date in space, grocery shopping in Hell…)

  3. Turambar says:

    Great idea!

    My suggestion would be subtext, lots of subtext exercises…you already got a good one w/ the woman-seducing-baseball-talk.

    How about introducing characters via a) scene description and/or b) dialogue?

  4. 14Shari says:


    Some suggestions

    – Rewrite an openings scene or any scene from a movie you dislike

    – Reverse a scene: from horror to humor, from thriller to drama, et..

    -A few friends are discussing where to go out. Show who is the leader of the group without making it too obviously

    – A grown up child is about to fly off to leave his state. Her/his parents are there. Show how the relationship is between the parents and the child.

    – A character has made up an excellent CV and gets invited for a prestigious intern ship at a top broker firm. Show how the interview goes. The more the interviewer asks, the more the character has to make something up and sell herself. Make the character sweat.

    – A woman has found evidence that her husband who claims to be often of home for his sales work- is cheating on her. Write a breakfast scene with a subtext referring to her knowing, and he feeling that she knows but doesn’t tell it directly.

  5. Shaula Evans says:

    Brilliant idea! I look forward to this. :)

  6. Mark Walker says:

    This could be fun and interesting!

    How about:

    Take two of your favourites films and write a cross-over scene as if the protagonists/nemeses meet or if the protag from one meets the nemesis from another (if that makes sense – it does at 02:22)

    Take a classic scene and reverse the gender roles.

    Take a favourite film and add a scene that adds to the narrative

  7. Scott says:

    Okay, I think we’ve got enough suggestions to hit the floor running with this series.

    We’ll commence on Tuesday, September 3rd to take into account Labor Day.

    Shaula mentioned something about using Scrippets to try to keep formatting true. More on that and the series later.

    Thanks for your ideas!

  8. Write a scene featuring two characters sitting on the edge of a bridge: one is a pathological liar and the other is clinically insane.

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