Writing like a screenwriter

I’m trying to plan more before I start writing the first draft now, the combination of a toddler and sleep deprivation means I have very limited time to actually write so I thought that if I could give myself a more detailed blue print to work from I might stand a chance of getting my next book finished on deadline…..we can all hope!

I was lucky enough to go to a presentation by New York Times bestselling author Nina Bruhns recently who shared her take on Blake Snyder’s Save The Cat writing techniques. Save the Cat is looking at writing from a screen writer’s perspective and if you think it can’t help you think again.

Screen writing is really visual plus because of the nature of having to convey story in a shorter format, it forces you to really plot out the three acts of your story. Yes I said three.

Act 1 is your premise, the set up and introduction of your characters and the first lot of action. Act 2 brings in the twist of change of context to your plot and has your characters soul searching for what they need to over come and resolve the conflict of the story and Act 3 is the blackest moment, the finale and final conflict and the resolution where the world and the characters are changed.

The three acts and their detailed break downs are a great way of refining your plot and the arcs for all your main characters. I know you probably want the full detail here but sorry I can’t give it, it’s copyright, but it is something to think about isn’t it?

So think of your work in terms of a screenplay. Do you have a good opening scene? Think about how it ‘looks’ in your head. Maybe you could have the final scene mirror the first scene EXCEPT that in some way things have of course changed. A good example of that is if you think about the movie Romancing the Stone. In the beginning the main character walks down the street terrified of everyone and everything, at the end of the film she walks down the same street but her attitude is totally different. You can do similar things with novel writing.

Another good tip I picked up was Plot Problem Solving. You know when you’ve reached a point in your book where you just don’t know where the character goes next, what they do or where the hell to go? Happens to me frequently. The solution? Make a list. Yep, list 20 different ways the story could go from there. And don’t edit yourself when you do it, let it be as crazy or weird or nonsensical as possible because by the end one of them might be your answer.

2 thoughts on “Writing like a screenwriter

  1. I heard it was on too late! I would have loved to have gone. I just have just finished a course to help me with creative writing and now I wish I could have had the weekend free!

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