From the Bluecat blog: writing notecards and outlines comes from ” a different part of your heart and mind” than writing scenes. So, perhaps there’s something to be said for writing without a plan? Certainly it makes the rewrite more important — that’s where you shape your ideas into a cohesive whole.
The topic also came up on the Write Along podcast. C. Robert Cargill refers to the non-planners as pantsers (as in writing by the seat of their pants). Ultimately, he says, both kinds of writers spend the same amount of time on the work. Without outlining, the burden on pantsers is they must exert more effort to fix what they write.
Meanwhile, over on the Scriptnotes podcast, last week’s episode touched on this, too. Craig and John have a different sense of when to stop planning and when to jump in. Craig plans it all out, John leaves more space for improvisation.
The “Go Into the Story” blog is doing a series on writing characters, including advice from numerous Black List writers. There’s plenty of good ideas to be mined here.
For example, from Brian Duffield: “I find that by starting with theme, you instantly gravitate towards a character who is almost at an opposite place to deal with that theme, and then throw them into the movie and see what happens. Just by doing that, you have an interesting character who has a big obstacle to overcome, and it becomes really fun fleshing them out and figuring out the nuts and bolts of why they’d be the way they are. Lately I’ve been really drawn towards pushing character as far as it can go, to the point where they’re barely recognizable as human, and figuring out how to relate and understand that character. I think I’m just hungrier as a writer to see what I can do, especially with character.”
If you have HBO and haven’t watched Chernobyl yet, what are you waiting for? It’s astoundingly good.
Meanwhile, if you have seen it, and want to delve into the making of the show, Peter Sagal of NPR hosts a five episode podcast with writer/producer Craig Mazin. Yes, I’ve been listening to Mazin for years as co-host of Scriptnotes, so it’s rewarding to see him have creative and critical success with Chernobyl.
The podcast is available in a variety of places. Here’s an article about how it came to be and where to find it:
Listeners of the Scriptnotes podcast know that co-host Craig Mazin is not a fan of “how-to” books on screenwriting. So it’s interesting to hear his general theory on the subject, with emphasis on building from nothing, not trying to disect others’ films.
We get asked all the time about good, cheap software for writing screenplays. While Final Draft has its advantages, but if you’re just starting out, Trelby is a great free app for Windows and Linux users. And it’s FREE!
One of my favorite internet shows is STILL UNTITLED: THE ADAM SAVAGE PODCAST, which is available as a podcast and also Youtube video. Last week’s episode featured Michael Green, the co-writer of Blade Runner 2049. Adam’s love for Blade Runner goes deep, so it was a good interview. Michael talked about meetings with Ridley Scott and Hampton Fancher (who wrote the first Blade Runner), as well as how to address some aspects of the story which remain mysterious on purpose.