As noted in this post, 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 an exposition scene…
What is an exposition scene? Most scenes have a point. Some have more than one, but generally if you drill down to the guts of the scene, it exists to advance one aspect of the plot.
The point of an exposition scene is to convey an important piece of… are you ready… exposition.
What is exposition? For our purposes, let’s say information, data or back-story.
So write an exposition scene. Easy enough, right?
Wrong! Note the ellipsis at the end of the prompt above? That means there’s something else coming.
Write an exposition scene… that is entertaining!
I heard something years ago in Hollywood: “Exposition equals death.” It’s hard to make exposition entertaining.
Use fascination, mystery, revelation, humor, conflict, action, whatever, but make the scene entertaining while conveying the key piece of exposition.
2 pages max.
Post your scene in comments for feedback.
If you don’t feel comfortable uploading your scene, 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.