Ideas: Where to Find Ideas

Ideas don’t come from nowhere. There is no mythical Muse that comes and blesses the worthy with fully formed ideas. It’s a lot of work and it takes a lot of practice. If we want to be taken seriously, we need to take our ideas seriously, and generate ideas for stories that are complete and appropriate. While some ideas come to us complete, they aren’t always appropriate. And some are appropriate, but not complete. This is where most people end their journey. If we don’t have stories that people want to consume, or create in the case of screenplays, we have nothing. So coming up with ideas, especially when we’re working outside of comfortable genres, is a good skill to develop. Go below the fold to read about a couple things to try when you’re stuck coming up with ideas. Continue reading

Prepare Thyself: Plotting to Dominate the Zero Draft Thirty Challenge

Zero Draft Thirty is a fun, rewarding experience… until it isn’t. The easiest way to ensure that your ZD30 is a success is to plot everything out in advance. When you’re writing a large chunk of text over a long period, the burnout comes swift and it comes hard. Don’t try and make it more difficult on yourself by going in without a plan. Pantsing vs Plotting In the great debate of “flying by the seat of your pants” versus “plotting it all out in advance,” I am what is known as a reformed pantser. I believed wholeheartedly in going with the flow and letting the characters tell me what to do. NO MORE! When it comes down to it, you need to plan out longer work. When I was writing my feature The Patron Saint of Spies, the first draft was done intuitively. I let the story flow through me and went with my gut. I only worked when the Muse was talking, and it took me forever. When I finished, I read through the draft, and I did not like what I saw. Knowing that, I plotted out my next script (a ridiculous chase movie called Certified Public Accountant) pretty extensively. Even though it was a silly thing designed to boost my confidence, I was amazed at how much faster my second script went to my first. I was able to put out a seventy page draft in a matter of weeks instead of months, and the plot… Continue reading