Writing Not Typing - Complications Ensue
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

In Crafty Screenwriting your advice, as I understand it, is to not write your story down, to mull it around in your head, and tell it out loud to people until you're sure it's a good story. Then write it. I'm trying to reconcile this method with the mantra of most creative writers: "Write every day." What do you write if you're not writing the story in your head? The obvious answer is "another story." But what if all your stories are in the embryonic stage?
Working out your story in your head or by telling it to other people is writing.

It's just not typing.

I have a creative jones, to the point where if I don't write something during a day, I get really cranky. My addiction is completely satisfied by talking through a story.

Writing pages is good, but most people spend far too little of their time working out their story before they start typing, and consequently spend much more time fixing their story once it's written down. You often hear of a writer and director spending a week or even a month talking through the movie. It's really hard to spend too much time talking through your story. When it stops changing, or you're starting to get bored (not just fidgety), you're good to start typing.

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3 Comments:

For me, actually typing it down is simply a step in the process. I need to have formulated it into my head before I can type the words. The best example is when I was having a major problem trying to figure out how to carry through the story I was trying to write. I was able to figure it out while swimming lengths. That breakthrough helped me be able to sit down and type out the script. Sitting at the computer wasn't doing anything. I had to be away, where I didn't feel the need to actually getting something on the screen.

By Blogger Tim W., at 1:21 PM  

I think the "writer's mantra" is a good idea if the final product you're looking for is going to be words on a page. If you want to publish novels, articles, poems, etc., talking isn't really a substitute for writing. However, if you're writing something that you're hoping will become a movie, then I'd accept the idea that it should be attention-getting as a spoken idea.

By Blogger Andrew, at 2:43 PM  

Thank you so much for giving this brilliant advice early in your book, Alex. This very piece of advice turned the screenplay that I am co-writing with a friend from a misguided story into an extremely compelling and engaging one! Once we started telling our story ALOUD to ourselves & others, we could immediately tell where all the holes and the flaws were in the story.

By Blogger Scott Rose, at 7:07 PM  

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