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Thread: My outlines? Fantastic. My execution? A mess.

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  1. #12
    Yep. I went through the same ordeal. I wrote 35 complete outlines before I transcended up into the scene-writing zone. It can be excruciatingly painful.

    I'm not a believer in 'seat of pants' writing, I continue to outline my scripts before scene-ifying them. But over-organization --when taken to extremes--can lead to a dead-end, also. Its called 'analysis-paralysis' and is in itself a form of writer's block.

    These days I only do whatever advance-planning I need to do in order to get the scenes themselves, underway. The scene is the goal, not the outline. No one will ever read your outlines.

    I find that the notecards in Final Draft are superb in that, what you write on a notecard can be sent instantly to the scene in the script mode. This is what really helped me. If you have to write everything in concrete, logical, methodological steps then definitely use these cards.

    You can at least get your sluglines down, and some annotations as to what the scene "must contain". The characters who are supposed to be present.

    Me: only when I know my 'scene goals' inside-and-out do the words flow. It's actually the only time I do 'pants' writing; because that's often the way dialog is. It goes places you can't predict. I can't even tolerate other distractions when it's going on.

    In general, I also try not to write any more dialog than what is needed to get the scene goals completed. Scene-writing borrows much from real life. Its where your ear for dialogue must show up, if it shows up anywhere. And when you think about real life dialogue (think about it at length) you will probably discover that

    1) people rarely say things straight out, or bluntly. People start off their conversations chatting about the weather, or sports, or money, or whatever...they make 'polite noises' at each other ....and only then--as the chat progresses--the questions which are really on their mind start to emerge. The stuff that's really bothering them only comes out gradually.

    I gave the above suggestion a "1)" because right now as I'm typing this, it seems to me a priority. But dialog is a world unto itself. Its a skill you never stop honing. But you have to start. The thing to do is start, then bear down on it until you figure out what your particular knack is.

    p.s. I just followed that link to John August's pdf. Yes, I mostly agree with it; hearty agreement with the section where he talks about 'scribbled scene notes'.
    Last edited by dinky_dau; 10-23-2016 at 01:41 AM.

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