9 Honest Things I Learned While Writing S.L.A.Y

Yes, yes, I know! It’s been a while since I added anything to the blog! I’ve been trying to get everything in order. Also, I got a brand spankin’ new computer, which is exciting. Anyway, let’s get to the really honest post about my comedy screenwriting debut, S.L.A.Y…

 

I never thought I would write my first comedy. I have never thought of myself as a funny person. Okay, I’m sarcastic. That’s about it. I also never thought I would complete a first draft. I thank the challenge I entered a month before my cousin’s wedding. My story wasn’t inspired by it, at all because I couldn’t think of anything else. Okay, pretend I didn’t say that.

Anyway, I thought I would put together a list of 9 things I learned while writing the first draft of S.L.A.Y.

9. Too Much Dialogue… Yeah, That’s An Issue

When I wrote the first draft, I didn’t think about how much dialogue I wrote. It didn’t occur to me until I let a friend of mine looked at the only printed copy of the script. He flicked through the first few pages and said,

“There’s a lot of dialogue.”

He wasn’t wrong. I’m gonna cut a lot of it out when I get to the second draft.

8. Try Not To Confuse Characters For Others

Because there are so many characters in the story, it makes it hard to keep track of who is related to whom. I started out with one character being the daughter of one character before he ended up being the to the daughter of another character. It got really messy.

7. Don’t Leave Characters Out Of The Story Too Long

When it comes to writing characters into the story, don’t leave characters – especially main characters out of the story too long. If you do this, people will forget who the character and question where they came from. Try to allow characters more time on the page, but not too much otherwise they’ll outshine the other main characters.

6. Be Sure To Plan Your Characters, Plot and Locations Ahead Of Time

Not everyone likes to wait when it comes to launching into a story. I’m one of those people. I hate having to plan a story before I can actually write it. It makes me forget what I actually want to write about. I do, however, have a partial plan in place before I write anything. Once I finished the first draft, then I started to plan things out properly.

If there’s anything I’ve learned when it comes to character development, I love it. It’s just I hate having to write about the locations in which the story is set. I can’t write about locations, even if I knew how. It’s always been a weakness of mine and I wish it wasn’t.

5. Don’t Use Names That Sound Unoriginal Or Don’t Sound Right

We’ve all heard character names that don’t sound right to the ear or siding off the tongue. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Anastasia Steele. When it comes to naming your characters, be sure to watch what you name them. It’s fine to name your characters whatever you want in the first draft, but when it comes to shaping your characters during the second and third drafts, you may need to consider naming them something that rolls off the tongue better.

4. Know Who, What And Where Before You Write The Scene

Nothing says writers block more than not knowing where the scene is going to go. Every writer, no matter how experienced you are will know the frustrations. Be sure to plan out your scenes briefly before you write them. I plan my scenes mentally, but other screenwriters will have different techniques as to how to conquer this. Also, it will help you cover over any potential plot holes, should they arise.

3. Don’t Have Characters Appear And Serve No Purpose

One of the worst things you can do when it comes to writing characters is having them be there, but they don’t serve a direct purpose. It’s perfectly fine to have characters in the background of the scene, but what are they there for? Are they there to observe or to spy? Do they interact with any of the main characters in any way? Every character, no matter how minor has a reason to be there. If they have no actual place in the scene, don’t include them.

2. Don’t Add In Too Much Detail

When it comes to writing the descriptions of what’s going on in the scene, don’t add too much detail. If your screenplay ends up going to the big screen and actors read it, they want to be able to add their own spin of what you’ve written. It’s their job, after after all. Also, it may piss them off if they see there’s nothing for them to incorporate as their own. If you pass your screenplay over to a screenwriting consultant, it’s likely they’ll tell you the same thing.

1. Keep To Your Notes… If You Have Them And Be Honest About It

If you have notes written about your characters, keep to them. There’s nothing worse then writing a character one way and they turn out totally different to how you imagined. The best thing you can do is to open your notes and have them sitting with you as you write your characters. Otherwise, everything turns will turn to distress when you reread your work later.

Conclusion

Let’s be totally honest here. It’s no easy feat to write a screenplay that may or nay not end up on the screen at some point. What’s more is that no first draft, no matter how good it might be, always ends up being shit. The more drafts you write, the better the story becomes. I’ve know this forever, but it’s only now that I get to put it down on to share with you guys. I hope you girls learned something as I did and I hope to see you all with the next post.

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