2016 Scene-Writing Challenge: Day 17

For the fourth straight year, June 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 scene-writing prompt. Each day, write a scene per those guidelines. 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? 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.

To provide extra motivation for this series — to get people to WRITE PAGES — I am giving away some of my Core classes to Scene-Writing Challenge participants. That’s right: For free!

Everything you need to know about screenwriting theory in this unique curriculum based on eight principles: Plot, Concept, Character, Style, Dialogue, Scene, Theme, Time.

CORE I: PLOT — A one-week class which begins with the principle Plot = Structure and explores the inner workings of the Screenplay Universe: Plotline and Themeline. Start date: June 27.

CORE II: CONCEPT — A one-week class which begins with the principle Concept = Hook and examines multiple strategies to generate, develop and assess story ideas. Start date: July 11.

CORE III: CHARACTER— A one-week class which begins with the principle Character = Function and delves into archetypes: Protagonist, Nemesis, Attractor, Mentor, and Trickster. Start date: August 8.

CORE IV: STYLE— A one-week class which begins with the principle Style = Voice and surfaces keys to developing a distinctive writer’s personality on the page. Start date: August 22.

CORE V: DIALOGUE— A one-week class which begins with the principle Dialogue = Purpose and probes a variety of ways to write effective, entertaining dialogue. Start date: September 19.

CORE VI: SCENE— A one-week class which begins with the principle Scene = Point and provides six essential questions to ask when crafting and writing any scene. Start date: October 3.

CORE VII: THEME— A one-week class which begins with the principle Theme = Meaning and gives writers a concrete take on theme which can elevate the depth of any story. Start date: November 14.

CORE VIII: TIME — A one-week class which begins with the principle Time = Present and studies Present, Present-Past, Present-Future and time management in writing. Start date: December 12.

Each is a 1-week online class featuring 6 lectures written by me, lots of screenwriting insider tips, logline workshops, optional writing exercises, 24/7 message board conversations, teleconferences with course participants and myself to discuss anything related to the craft of scriptwriting.

A popular option is the Core Package which gives you access to the content in all eight Craft classes which you can go through on your own time and at your own pace, plus automatic enrollment in each 1-week online course — all for nearly 50% the price of each individual class. If you sign up now, you can have immediate access to all of the Core content.

In June, to qualify to take one of my Craft classes for free, write and submit ten [10] Scene-Writing Challenge posts, then provide feedback on ten [10] posts from other writers. The former to get you writing, the latter to work your critical-analytical skills.

A chance to take any of my eight Core classes, interface with me online along with the usual stellar group of writers who take Screenwriting Master Class courses, while using writing exercises and feedback to upgrade your skill at writing and analyzing scenes?

ISN’T THAT AN AWESOME IDEA?!!!

That’s what I’m prepared to do to encourage you to write pages.

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.

* Don’t be concerned about proper script format when you copy/paste your scene, 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: A character has a ‘conversation’ with him/herself in the mirror.

Write a 1–2 page scene, then copy/paste in comments.

If you are interested in qualifying for 1 free Core class with me, please note in each post you submit the number of scenes you have written. If today is your first effort, note that it is Scene 1. The next one, Scene 2. And so forth.

Also when you provide feedback on someone’s scene, please note in each reply the number of comments you have uploaded. So if today is your first response, Feedback 1. The next one, Feedback 2.

You are on an honor system, as I don’t have time to check every post, so do the right thing!

Remember: In order to qualify for one of my free Core classes, you need to submit ten [10] Scene-Writing Challenge posts, then provide feedback on ten [10] posts from other writers. One post and one feedback per scene prompt.

FEEDBACK TIP: Does the dialogue sound conversational? If not, suggest some edits which can make the scene feel more authentic.

Want to join in? Here are the previous challenge prompts:

Day 1 challenge: A scene set in an inhospitable environment, e.g., outer space, underwater, desert.

Day 2 challenge: A scene involving a secret.

Day 3 challenge: Two people talk while dancing.

Day 4 challenge: The audience knows something the characters don’t.

Day 5 challenge: Miscommunication.

Day 6 challenge: A character reviews a series of voice mails, each with worse news.

Day 7 challenge: An intervention.

Day 8 challenge: A scene with a man holding a gun.

Day 9 challenge: Introduce a character with a memorable impression.

Day 10 challenge: A conversation with someone who’s locked him/herself in the bathroom.

Day 11 challenge: One character has to break bad news to the other.

Day 12 challenge: A scene where the entire conversation takes place off-screen.

Day 13 challenge: Settling an argument by playing Rock, Paper, Scissors.

Day 14 challenge: A pet uses voice-over narration to comment on a family fight.

Day 15 challenge: Leaving a voice mail.

Day 16 challenge: Smack talk at a sporting event.

You can check out the fruits of our collective labor from the last three years:

Scene-Writing Exercises (2013)
Scene-Writing Exercises (2014)
Scene-Writing Exercises [2015]

Finally if you have what you think is a good suggestion for a scene-writing prompt, please post that as well.

It’s the 2016 Scene-Writing Challenge! Give a jolt to your creative and writing muscles… and win 1 free online class with yours truly.

NOTE: When you can verify the 10 scenes you’ve written and the 10 scenes on which you provided feedback, email me and let me know which of the eight Core classes you’d like to take. That’s all you need to do!

Onward!

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