As noted in this post last week, September is Scene-Writing Month here at Go Into The Story. Every Monday-Friday at noon Eastern / 9AM Pacific, I will upload a post with a prompt for writing a script scene. Each day, write a scene per those guidelines. If you really want to get in the spirit of things, upload your scene here in the comments section of the original post. That way you can critique others’ pages and receive feedback on your scene as well.
Why scene-writing? Think about it: If the average scene is 1 1/2 to 2 pages long and a script is 100-120 pages, then a screenwriter writes between 50-80 scenes per screenplay. Thus in a very real way, screenwriting is scene-writing. The better we get at writing scenes, it stands to reason the better we get as a screenwriter.
Plus there’s this: If you are thinking about using the Go On Your Own Quest schedule to pound out a first draft of an original screenplay, FADE IN is fast approaching — October 21 to be precise. What better way to get your writing muscles moving than a series of scene-writing exercises.
A couple of logistical notes:
* Limit your scenes to 2 pages. First, most scenes are 2 pages or less in length. Second, out of fairness to everyone participating in the public scene-writing workshop, let’s not abuse anyone’s patience or time with really long scenes.
* I’m sure someone will post a way for you to write scenes and upload them so they maintain proper script format, but that isn’t a big deal to me. Rather the content and execution are the important thing. So as a default mode, do this: (1) Don’t worry about right-hand margins on scene description or dialogue, just keep typing until it manually shifts each line. (2) Don’t worry about character name position, rather do this:
SCARLETT: Rhett, Rhett... Rhett, if you go, where shall I go? What shall I do? RHETT: Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.
Today’s prompt: Write a scene in which you introduce a character in a memorable way.
Introducing characters is an important skill, one especially critical in Act One where typically we set up a majority of the script’s ‘cast.’ Think of the poor script reader! Desperately attempting to get a handle on all of those names and personalities. If you can give each character something distinctive as part of their introduction, you go a long way toward creating someone a reader will remember, and create a perception of that character which can influence how the reader ‘sees’ them throughout the story.
This subject is such a big deal to me, I created an entire 1-week online class about it. In it, we discuss a variety of techniques you can use to introduce characters: editorializing, physicality, personality, dialogue, action, objects, surprise, and more.
So write a scene up to 2 pages long in which you craft a memorable character introduction.
Post your scene in comments for feedback.
If you don’t feel comfortable uploading your scenes, that’s okay. I encourage you to do the exercise privately. Let’s face it: Any writing is better than no writing.
To learn more about Go On Your Own Quest, go here.
Also The Black Board is joining in with National Sketch Writing Month, so if you’re a comedy writer and want to check that out, you can go here.
Tomorrow: Come back for another scene-writing prompt.