This week I worked on two projects, one a novel, and the other a TV script.
Both projects had the identical problems, and I’ve seen them
many times — a chunky, incomplete draft full of flat scenes, weak dialogue and story logic mistakes. There’s no reason to write a first draft this way. Here’s the solution: prepare!
Neither of my students prepared an outline of the whole story. Nor did they write a treatment or any kind of summary that went from the beginning to the end of the story.
Here’s the process:
1. Write your story down briefly as a synopsis.
2. Expand that into a one-page story written in the past tense. Using the past tense helps you access your knowledge of the many books you have read.
3. Now organize the one-page synopsis into scenes.
4. Create a two or three-page treatment that describes the story visually in the present tense.
By this point, you will have solved many story problems such as logic, stakes, plot twists and turns.
6. The final step is to begin writing, and try to get through a whole draft before going back to revise.
If you follow this plan, your first draft will be well organized well written and easy to revise.
Here’s to your successful writing,
Professor Marilyn Horowitz