This is the view from my terrace, where I sit and think about writing.
It’s very quiet up here on the fourth floor. I hear the birds chirping, children playing, and occasionally a dog barking. Fire engine sirens, ambulances, and other urban disturbances are rare. Spending a few minutes in a beautiful outdoor spot is one of the greatest gifts a writer can give themselves. Even if it’s only a mental journey, finding where your writer self feels peace provides a repeatable technique to get you started on your daily writing. Taking a minute to recreate the image, sounds, and smells of a peaceful spot tunes up your imagination and calms you down.
As always, when you apply this technique to your characters, you can find out a lot about how they deal with stress. This knowledge can inspire small moments within a screenplay or a book that create the glue that will bind a reader to your story.
As I will soon be teaching an accelerated rewriting class, I’ve been giving a lot of thought about the reason why you even need to revise a screenplay, teleplay, or book.
I’ve often wondered why can’t everything be done in a first draft? Is there an actual reason, or is it just another myth we’ve been told?
After many years of writing, I’ve concluded that what you can achieve with practice is to come close to nailing something on the first try. However, if you’ve ever sent an email without rereading it, you probably know that’s it’s never perfect. Sometimes the mistake is a typo, a misspelled or missing word, but sometimes it’s the entire tone and the sense of it. Obviously, the way to write anything well is to reread it!
This happens because the translation process from your thought to your written word isn’t perfect. Why this is so would require a much longer conversation, but if we just accept it as a fact of life, like gravity or taxes, we can move forward with speed and precision.
The solution to how to write well and efficiently doesn’t lie in trying to make the first draft perfect, but by learning to create a first draft that is well-structured and, thus, easily fixable. This means that you get the structure, the character development, the scenes, and the plot pretty close to what you wanted when you first thought of writing the story in the first place.
This is my passion, to help writers create first drafts that can easily be revised effectively, and why I’ve been teaching people how to write screenplays in a short time for over twenty years.
The upcoming rewrite class continues that thought and will take writers through an efficient revision process, which means that the next story you write can be begun and finished with ease.
I have a couple of places left in the upcoming class, and I hope you will consider how effective and prolific you can be with more techniques.
Like dancing, practice makes perfect. Here’s a photo of me dancing the tango with a friend.
Excited to share the featured clip from JOS 72. Laugh, subscribe for free and share.
Here’s to your successful writing,
Professor Marilyn Horowitz