Go On Your Own Quest — Week 10: Prep

September 18th, 2013 by

The 2013 version of The Quest starts Week 10 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.

We are now in the second week of the Prep phase and our topic for discussion is brainstorming. We began Monday with this question: Do you find brainstorming beneficial and if so, why? Discussion here. Yesterday’s question: Do you interview your characters? If so, how? Discussion here. Today’s question:

* What tips do you have for conducting story research?

On October 21, you can type FADE IN, then over a ten week period write your first draft.

Why not use the structure of this 24-week workshop to Go On Your Own Quest? That was an idea that gathered energy among many members of the GITS community which I described here.

If you’d like to participate in a Prep workshop just like the members of The Quest are doing, you’re in luck. Starting September 23, I’m overseeing the next session of Prep: From Concept To Outline. It’s perhaps the single most popular course we offer through Screenwriting Master Class as it has proven to be hugely successful, enabling writers to break their story, then approach the page-writing part of the process with confidence. You can take this Prep workshop, then have 8 full weeks to write your first draft by the end of the year, more than enough time since you will have a fully fleshed-out outline.

For more information and to enroll, go here.

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

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


2 thoughts on “Go On Your Own Quest — Week 10: Prep

  1. lisakothari42 says:

    Once I know what my story is about, I do research on names for characters, story setting – if I’ve decided on a place for setting I research the area – if there is a sport/hobby that my characters are interested in and will be a key story element, I learn about it to the point where I can write with some ease on the subject matter as I layer it into the story. Whatever I don’t know much about, I research if its pertinent to the story. As I write my first draft, I find myself noting where I need to research for the revision phase.

    Use Google, travel to the setting and stick around for a few days to gain its essence, learn about a hobby by doing it – but only know it as well as you need to to write the story, this will help over-writing details.

  2. JoniB22 says:

    Biggest tip: don’t conduct more than is absolutely necessary! Don’t allow yourself to get bogged down in it. Research is great and useful and oft required, but it shouldn’t distract you from the writing task at hand.

    Beyond that, we’re so fortunate now with how much information is accessible at our fingertips — online research often suffices. But I wouldn’t discount perusing books or magazine articles on particular topics, watch documentaries, etc. Of course, if you can immerse in something yourself to garner first-hand knowledge of a place, a language, a culture, a sport, a field of study, etc., then more power to you. Interviewing (or merely chatting) with people already immersed in whatever it is you want to know about, that’s the best!!

    Knowing how much is enough is a tricky bit, as we all know the required brevity in screenwriting. Simply not enough space to dazzle readers with everything you may have learned about a particular topic! Tempting, but … not a good idea. You want subtle (and accurate) nuance, but you don’t want to cram so much in you’re beating readers over the head with it all.

    I think of proper research like basic condiments in cooking — I wouldn’t want to prepare a dish without having salt & pepper at my access. There may be a temptation to “pepper” a dish with semi-abandon to give it some impressive little kick, but too much can have your diners throwing utensils at you. However, just the right amount of “salt” — the amount barely enough to know the dish has been salted and yet enough to bring out the flavors of everything else? Perfection!

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