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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Moving Parts



Scripts are a little like Rubik’s cubes. There are different elements and when you move or change one element, everything else follows. Here’s the fun part – these moveable parts are yours to arrange and rearrange until you find something that really clicks for you as a writer and for the material.

In other words, particularly if you’re stuck on a premise or your script just isn’t working. Throw all rules and judgment out the window and ask that script some questions as a way of jogging your creativity.

Is this a western?
Is this a science-fiction story?
Is this set during the Civil War?
Maybe the Civil Rights period?
Is this set in Mississippi – or Alaska?
Is my main character the opposite gender?
Is the beginning of my movie actually the end? Should I reorder the narrative?
Maybe my movie is set just before a real-life disaster? (Katrina? The Challenger explosion? 9/11?)
Or AFTER some fictionalized event: a flood, an election, a murder…
Maybe my antagonist is actually my main character?

In other words, shifting genre, main characters, time periods and events surrounding your story can suddenly shed new light. Don’t be afraid to click different elements in and out of place. I have literally seen writers emerge from a brainstorming session completely excited because when they did this exercise they suddenly got it – the thing that was missing – because they were able to throw everything out the window and just spitball their story and characters until something that had never occurred to them before suddenly made perfect sense.

So if you’re stuck, roll up your sleeves, take a deep breath and simply mess with your story. Ask it all kinds of questions. Go big. And you might just find the solution – and inspiration – to get you unstuck. Do it with a sense of playfulness because never forget, Wavers, this is supposed to be fun. We’re making up stories here, people, not solving prison over-crowding. So let loose with that imagination – don’t be trapped by a story of your own making.

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3 comments:

eddie said...

I don't have a comment specifically related to today's post, but would like to say I enjoy your site. Been checking it out for a few months now, since MQ posted a link, and always find your words well written and informative. Thanks.

Julie Gray said...

Thank you so much, Eddie!

Laura Reyna said...

Oh, I'm stuck right now. Can't find the ending to this fantasy/comedy I'm writing. I know generally how I want it to end but haven't got the specifics yet.

I took the week off to see if that recharges the batteries. And now back to it.

Gonna try coming up with 3 outragous, way out there versions & see if anything works. :-)