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Thread: Creating the Story, How do you do it?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    U.S.A, Upstate New York

    Lightbulb Creating the Story, How do you do it?

    For our little group we get togather in the evening with a pad of paper, and plenty of drinks. I find you come up with some very interesting story lines and scripts by this method. Granted I won't write an entire film by this method, however, for some of the more major sites or scenes it's quite helpful, allowing you to fill in the gaps between scenes while sober.

    How do you start writting a story? How do the ideas come to you? Lets hear it!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Bristol uk
    Blog Entries


    Most of the stuff I have written or am writing grows from one small arresting idea that I just run with, usually when i start to write something it is in the middle somewhere.

    When I have a rough outline I try it out on friends and if they groan - I (try) to drop the idea; I find it very easy to end up writing for myself only.

    I usually grind to a halt whgen trying to write dialog - around this point I realise I cant really write and sulk off back to my editor.

    What I would suggest is that people who want to write read stuff on how to do it. I am part way through a book on scriptwriting and it has been really helpful - I might even finish something soon.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Western Europe


    I suppose a lot of stories could start with an event that took place in the area where you live now, many years ago. A murder, a bank heist, a disaster, a kidnapping, someone who took on a large corporation or the government and won etc. After choosing one of these, you need a hook, something to make it different from all the other types of similar movies that have been done before. Take the Blair Witch Project, near the end when there is just the man and woman remaining, and they are walking through the woods, you think they will find the road, locate their car or stop someone and get help...but oh no, the big scary house appears out of nowhere and we all know what happens to them...

    If you have older relatives living nearby or friends who've 'been there, done that and bought the t-shirt', they can also be a good source. Newspapers, the internet (everything you read on the internet is true, isn't it?), the movies - better to give a genre a new twist of your own rather than trying to rehash something that has been done before. So research and brainstorming would feature high on my list of priorities in that initial stage to get a good solid idea that would stand up to all kinds of scrutiny.

  4. #4

    Default writing

    When I look at the typical three act structure, nine times out of ten, I know how the third act is going to end before I even start to put pen to paper. Or fingers to keyboard in Final Draft.

    I find the advantage of this is, in knowing the pay off, I can work backwards to leave the proverbial breadcrumbs for my characters to follow or discover.

    I can set the pace in reverse, I can set the height of the obsticles to over come in reverse. If you start with your best idea, you have nowhere left to go, so end with your best idea, but start with a bang.

    Rule of thumb for a 90-120 page feature; you have to have them hooked by page ten. End act one with a big question. End act two with a change of direction.

    If Robert Mckee is such an expert on writing books on screenwriting, why isnt he writing Hollywood blockbusters?

    If you want good dialogue, watch anything written by Shane Black.
    My two cents.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Hertfordshire, UK


    I've been writing a story for my ambitious film since last Summer, so I understand the ups and downs of it all.

    I found it best to not get worried in buying tonnes of books and material just to understand how to write well. To be honest, if you've got the internet, you've got the biggest help-book that you'll ever need.

    It helps to know how long you want your film to be, if it's short, then there's not so much pressure. Write down every idea that comes into your head, however weird it may be. You could always alter it in the future. Think of the dreams that you've had that you remember. Some very cool stories can come from dreams. Another way to come up with an initial idea is to think of your favourite film, and write down what you love about it, and how you would make it yourself. Ever anything that's ever gripped you? Then think how you would make it different to the actual film, and make a list, or spider diagram, and think of all the changes you could make, until the whole thing looks totally nothing like the original film, and is all original material by yourself.

    I bought myself a nice notepad which I carried around everywhere before I wrote any ideas down about my big film. I've really benefitted from having it everywhere. Take it on any trips you have - most ideas come from being in a different environment. Go somewhere new, or go for a walk. Don't expect to be inspired by the surroundings, but it helps your mind to wander.

    I also listened to my favourite film music. Alot can be inspired from film music. Listen, and what do you see? I also wrote down tonnes of quotes that would fit well into the film. You usually think of a few seconds of film that would work really well in your story. Write it down, as you can come back to it all at scriptwriting.

    Once scriptwriting, don't be too scared. I'm being really open on my first draft. Say all the dialogue in your head, if not out loud, and write it down to make it all sound natural. you can edit it later, but once you start typing, the scene will flow in your head, and you just have to put yourself in each characters' shoes, thinking "what would I do now? How do I feel?"

    I wish anyone who wants to start writing a new screenplay luck. It can be difficult at first, but don't pressure yourself for a story. Create the characters, create the situation, and let them react in their own way.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Bracknell, Berkshire, UK


    Not really too sure how much I can add to this discussion as I've never really thought about what my inpirational process is.

    What I can say is that all of my writing (except for "on the set" last minute changes [Thanks Marc and Tony]) is done by me and not thrashed out as a committee. Usually my ideas do not even reach the drawing board (ok then My own personalised MS Word screenplay template) until pretty much the idea idea is in my head. When you think I tend to do shorts then it;s a bit easier. I usually thrash the idea out, including most of the dialogue on my daily commutes to and from work in the car.

    Not really sure where my ideas come from but I tend to stick with the subject matters I like personally. On at least one occasion my idea for a particular story has come from watching a movie and thinking I know where the story is going only to find it takes a different turn which, of course leaves me with my own 'version'. I can then usually weave that into a something worthy of more thought.

    Well, that's about all I have to say about that....

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