The past few weeks I recommended a number of places to find a story. And now that we all (hopefully) have an idea to work with, I plan to spend the next few weeks discussing how to approach the writing of your screenplay.
As a writing coach, part of my job is to determine whether a story would be best told as a screenplay, novel, or play. I recently worked on a student’s screenplay that begged to be a novel, because it was all about the main character’s inner thoughts and because there wasn’t enough “on-screen” action.
The basic story is excellent. But in the middle of the narrative the hero is arrested, and spends the rest of the story in a prison cell reflecting upon his actions and his life. His thoughts and insights are amazing, which is why it was successful as a novel and didn’t hold as much potential as a screenplay.
When you are creating your screenplay, always remember: SOMETHING HAS TO HAPPEN. If you have a great idea but there isn’t much action, you will have to make one of two choices. One, you can write it as a novel. Or two, you can add more action so that enough happens to keep your audience watching for two hours.