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20130220:15 Let’s write a story, part 1 of 10

Writer’s Blog, blank screen date: 130220:15

Of TEN, how’s that for commitment? Really, the segments I’ve studied break down to 8 parts, but I need this entry to explain my dilemmas and a thing at the end for the inevitable things I’d forget and or updates with situations therein.

I have read about and studied screenwriting and play writing. I have taken courses in college and have more film books than I can read. Honestly, history gets a little dry, which makes no sense. By definition history should be interesting if not exciting.

Currently I’m reading about just that, making every sentence exciting, losing those participals I keep dangling and extraneous prepositions.

Most films and plays follow a 3 act structure, but that’s odd to me. It’s too brief, too simple, but every act has a ton of elements in them. Tv is structured like that, half hour and hour shows, but none of them are formatted that way. They’re formatted to commercial breaks.

A half hour show has a lead in, opening credits, 3 commercials and closing credits. That’s at least 4-5 segments of story, each of which has to have a “teaser” to keep you from changing the channel while those annoying commercials come on. It’s similar for hour-long shows, they theoretically have more time to concentrate on a “b” story and even a C, if they have a lot of characters and they each have things to do.

Scrubs is kinda genius with this, since they developed by the 3rd season to mastering the 3 simultaneous story theme going on. Coincidentally, they’re made to parallel each other which is smart, coincidental or even dumb depending on how all 3 stories are executed.

I have also read short story writing books and read short stories. I like short stories because you quickly cover all the senses and all the w’s, all the character development, even mystery to your story. It’s why a lot of writers like me are super fans of things like Twilight Zone. There are horribly outdated things in those shows (small towns, imagine leaving your front door and car unlocked). But the concepts and feelings of a characters eventual desperation or situation develops.

Twilight zone is a forerunner to Star Trek on it’s best episodes. Those are the episodes that look at humanity from the outside as alien research. There’s things trying to be science fiction right now that are ridiculous, characters shouldn’t be invented based on their costumes or weapons to sell action figures. Sci fi lost its way with the whole dark, grim obsession. They want to be noir without the tragic ending.

So, I’m starting this for a few reasons: 1) to take you in and eventually by the end you should see the problems I’m having and hopefully have recommendations; 2) I want to write this to unlearn what I’m learning, even though that term is getting blurred with it’s over use; 3) if I can teach what I know, I’ll have to remind myself of the back corners of details that may spark something I have been overlooking. 4) If you’ve never taken a writing course, you’re about to save thousands of hours and dollars and commute to USC.

Weather I/ we write a story via blog entry, vlog, telling one at a bar, you tube video, short story in an anthology or film and tv, it can be broken down to the items to the following 8 stages. It’s true there are exceptions, but to those like me trying to “make it,” this format has to remain true. Those that get to break the pattern have made millions and can finance it themselves. We can’t.

If you think this is familiar, it’s a mishmash from a bunch of different screenwriters whose names reappear if you have studied writing format:

1. There’s a status quo, a place where the story starts off at.
2. There are characters, and their needs or wants will be presented.
3. There’s a “call to action,” the characters will be faced with having to deal with a threat and they will have to decide to do something about it. They will have to leave their comfort zone to do something about it.
4. They will have to adapt and “face trials” on learning how to combat the threat. Trial and error. Research, learning from others. Making more allies and enemies.
5. They will get the thing they want, but of course there are annoying strings attached that will screw other things up.
6. The characters, good and or bad will have to make sacrifices and take some big losses once the “thing” is obtained or achieved.
7. The characters will have to return to status quo land and they will have to decide to do this.
8. They will be back to another day similar to the beginning, but they will have knowledge and experience to deal with a threat that will be reoccurring or developing somewhere else.

 

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2013/02/20 - Posted by | Writing course in 10 sessions | , , , , , , , , ,

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