An agent as soon as instructed a screenwriter good friend of mine to not begin writing a script till he had generated a dozen story concepts. The agent did not wish to see a accomplished screenplay till he had an opportunity to assessment my good friend’s uncooked ideas. “Some concepts are film materials,” he mentioned. “Some are too small, too outdated, too bizarre, or simply plain boring. Solely when you’ll be able to generate a dozen story concepts in an hour are you able to compete with Hollywood screenwriters.”
That agent’s message hit our writing group like a bucket of chilly fish guts. Most of us had one “nice” thought we have been attempting to nudge into an entire story, all of the whereas guarding it from the idea-snatchers we believed have been lurking. The considered producing a dozen story concepts, solely to discard most of them, appeared not solely a whole lot of work but additionally wasteful.
What I discovered from that agent, nevertheless, is that concepts are like grapes. With the fitting nurturing, they may develop, typically in clusters, and pruning one batch merely makes room for the subsequent.
Can You State Your Concept in 25 Phrases or Much less?
A narrative idea presents in a single line who the hero is, what the hero needs, and the battle towards getting it. This idea can also be known as a log line. Here is one you might acknowledge:
An archeologist needs to seek out the Ark of the Covenant, however he should beat the Nazis to it.
That, in fact, is a attainable log line for Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Misplaced Ark by screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan and Director George Lucas. You will discover different examples each week in your newspaper’s film part (although they will not at all times be full). See for those who can establish the next ideas from common novels and movies:
- A sports activities agent loses all however one consumer and desires to take that one to the highest, however his consumer is impolite and obnoxious.
- A plain however common school professor needs to win the center of a colleague, however lacks shallowness.
- A lady needs to save lots of her son from a killer robotic from the longer term, however the robotic is unstoppable.
- A prosecutor needs to show he did not homicide his mistress, however each clue factors on to him.
- A storm chaser needs to file a twister, but it surely’s harmful and has by no means been carried out earlier than.
Did you guess all of them? 1. Jerry McGuire (Cameron Crowe) 2. The Mirror Has Two Faces (Richard LaGravenese) 3. Terminator II: Judgment Day (James Cameron) 4. Presumed Harmless (Scott Turow) 5. Tornado (Michael Crighton, Anne-Marie Martin)
Time It: A Dozen Story Ideas in an Hour
Begin by brainstorming solutions to the next:
- What occupations have you ever held? What’s your house within the household? In what cities and international locations have you ever lived or visited?
- What expertise/skills do you possess? By which areas are you completely inept?
- What do you’re keen on? What do you hate? What do you concern? What do you want?
Title Some Characters and Undertaking Their Targets
Select any one of many “individuals” described in your brainstorm notes and provides that particular person a burning want, ideally a want that is opposite to the character’s persona, station in life, or skills. Listed here are a number of from my very own brainstorm session:
- A chaste however impatient younger girl needs to expertise sex.
- A younger writing teacher needs to win the center of an aged scholar.
- A metropolis dweller longs to reside within the nation.
- A failure at mechanics needs to drive an MG identified for breakdowns.
- A squeamish horror film fan needs to carry a séance.
Subsequent Comes Battle
With out battle, you haven’t any story.
- A chaste however impatient younger girl needs to expertise sex, but her boyfriend needs to stay celibate till marriage.
- A younger writing teacher needs to win the center of an aged scholar, however the scholar worries about what his household would assume.
- A metropolis dweller longs to reside within the nation, however her nation neighbors are nuts and presumably harmful.
Decreasing your story to a one-sentence idea can crystallize it for you (and for the reader) and information you to remain on observe. Strive it. State in a single sentence:
- Who your hero is / what s/he does:
- What your hero needs:
- And the battle towards getting it:
Make It a Each day Sport
Whether or not you start with plot or with character, this structural begin can goose your creativity into excessive efficiency. You may get story concepts whirling at you from all instructions.
After brainstorming concepts from what you already know, take into account unfamiliar individuals, locations and conditions that spark your curiosity. In a single hour, you’ll be able to end up a dozen story ideas, maybe one large concept that turns into a fantastic story. And you may by no means need to stare at a clean web page.