My first week back from vacation was exciting because I had the great pleasure of reading five completed feature length scripts from recent NYU and SVA students. It’s thrilling to see first time writers create finished work that is well structured, imaginative, and well written.
I give them all of the credit for their creativity and hard work. I give my writing system credit for helping first time writers have good structure, strong characters, and serviceable dialogue.
The main question students asked was: How can I do an efficient rewrite?
Here’s the answer:
1. Create a scene-by-scene outline.
2. Be methodical.
3. Work on characters first, change whatever you need about their personalities to serve the story, then make notes on the outline but don’t tackle any scenes just yet.
4. Check the structure against The Mythic Journey Map in my book.
5. Check the character arcs against the plot by using the 4 Magic Questions of Screenwriting.
6. Now work in the script, but go from beginning to end each time you work on a character or a plot event.
Following these six simple but not easy steps will speed your progress and make you feel a sense of mastery.
One last tip: Don’t be afraid to take things out that don’t work. Make a file. I guarantee you will find a place for them in another story.
Hope this simple technique brings a feeling of “Independence” to your work!
Happy July 4th!
Here’s to your successful writing!
Professor Marilyn Horowitz