Sometimes, when it comes to scriptwriting, you just need to start typing

Creepy, no?

This post builds on tip number 9 from Paul’s Tips for Generating Creativity.

Apart from the music I listen to often driving my creativity, partaking TV series, films, novels or videogames also have the ability to inspire me. In the past month, I’ve played Alan Wake and have been reading Salem’s Lot by Stephen King on my Kindle (started on it after finishing off The Dead Zone).

This combination of fictional texts has sent a tumble of ideas and “What ifs?” through the creative centres of my brain. And so a story concept was noted down in my favourite notebook. Then over the last couple of weeks this one story concept has had many notes added to it, elaborations, until finally Tuesday last week saw me write out a reasonable outline for a film script and character profiles for the key parts for the film.

A supernatural horror, it’s one of the few ideas that I’ve had where extra research has not been necessary (’cause a lot of my experience and previously gained knowledge was all I needed). This weekend just gone saw me take a break from fiddling with bits for my graphic novel Displaced. Instead I ended up writing something for fun. Of course working on Displaced has been fun, it’s just that I haven’t worked on any different creative projects for quite some time.

But what do I mean that sometimes you just need to start writing and therefore typing? Well, in my experience a lot of writers can get bogged down in doing research for something, but not actually put anything down that will become the final piece. Whether it’s a graphic novel, film script or a piece of copy for a business’s website – actually starting to write something, even if it doesn’t make much sense at first, is better than not writing at all and instead becoming obsessed with research.

Far too many writers that I know, while great at cracking out a story, can get obsessed with finding out every single nuance related to their idea before they start even putting an outline down. However, I am not saying that research is pointless. If you’re unsure of how something in the “real world” actually operates, then it’s still best practice to track down the info you need, just don’t go reading or talking to five different sources that inevitably say the same thing.

And remember, your first draft of a script (and any other piece of writing) is unlikely to be perfect first time round. Redrafting can be a research project in of itself, as you try to find out what works and what doesn’t work. Displaced is on its third draft and it wasn’t even a graphic novel originally, it was a 5 page comic book short, now it’s 233 pages long.


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