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Writing Exercises - addiesin - 12-05-2018

Hey, I thought this might be a cool idea. Post ideas for writing exercises, or post the results after doing one (and the criteria if it didn't originate here). Also feel free to generally talk about writing; the ups and downs, successes and failures, anything like that. This thread is for getting better at writing.

Inspired by a reply I started writing that would have been off-topic elsewhere:

(12-05-2018, 12:17 AM)suspiciouscoffee Wrote: I'm stuck on my semi-autobiographical screenplay because I want to put in way too many irrelevant moments of my life just because I feel like they deserve to be mentioned.

Sounds like writing an outline could be helpful. Something to guide the final work without actually being the final work, where you can experiment freely. You could try numbering the lines first. Set rules for yourself, like restricting yourself to one line (without a line break) to describe what happens that page of the actual script. Start with page/line 1, then page 10, then page 30, page 60, page 90. 

Example:
Line 1: We open on a pool of blood coming from an elevator
Line 10: Inspector accepts the case after finding second body himself.
Line 30: With the drunken final flashback of his dead wife we see why he didn't want to take the case.
Line 60: On the rooftops, with a wounded leg, he barely makes the jump.
Line 90: Though he solved the case, the inspector goes home alone to drink.

Then just fill in the blanks between the lines you already wrote, starting from the middle, line 5 or 6, line 15 or 20, line 45, line 75. Then fill those leftover empty spaces in. I highly doubt you'll allow yourself to go off-track with restrictions like these, and you can hopefully find the core of your story, and how to make each page, even the ones between the big moments, contain something necessary to provide context, setup, or payoff for the surrounding material. Edit each line as necessary after reading and while coming up with ideas for the new lines. No need to keep what you wrote, all of it can be rewritten over and over if you want. 

Heck, try it with a new story idea if you're not sure you want to cram your personal story into such a structure. But on the other hand, it's just an outline and couldn't hurt. Happy writing!


RE: Writing Exercises - jrWHAG42 - 12-05-2018

A friend of mine gave me writing exercise advice, saying it was reminiscent of what Stephen King did.
She said to write anything that comes to mind, as much or as little. Then the next day, continue off of that without reading back what you wrote the previous days. I forget exactly what she said, but that's the gist of it I believe.
I wrote a bit one night, but never followed it up. 
However, I do still write from time to time. I have about four unfinished stories that I need to get around to finishing. Some of them can be considered "fanfiction", but I don't like the stigma surrounding that term. I prefer to call it "stories that happen to feature my favorite characters".
I really love to write, and I need excuses to write more...


RE: Writing Exercises - addiesin - 12-05-2018

I think the best advice for any venture (that won't cause you or anyone else harm) is just do it.

Finish it. It doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be done. You can redo it later, but for now just do it. 

One man's trash is another man's treasure and all that.


But advice alone doesn't make for an exercise. The exercise should help you achieve a goal. I find the best way to achieve my bigger goals is to break them down into baby steps. Call it a checklist, call it whatever you want. I find myself organizing these lists and keep coming back to outlines. That's why my first exercise suggestion above is for a specific type of outline (in this case, for a three act movie structure).


RE: Writing Exercises - wilhelm scream - 01-05-2019

I want to become a filmmaker and I'm currently writing scripts for my first 4 films I have planned.


RE: Writing Exercises - Handman - 01-05-2019

I had an idea, but it's not too original I don't think.  Just a guy like me, straight-laced, average, going through life, but gets in fights with his conscience, a Vincent Price type figure who goes on rants in that Vincent Price way.  The two would never really interact, but the Price figure would have a looming presence over everything the guy does, unknowingly to the others around him.  It's probably a bit obvious this is an allegory for dealing with terrible anxiety or depression, but I hope to write this in a somewhat comedic way.


RE: Writing Exercises - Canon Editor - 01-05-2019

To everybody hear wanting to write a screenplay, seeing as this hasn’t been mentioned yet: read the book by the man on the subject.  STORY by ROBERT MCKEE.  

Other really good books have come out in time, but few if none have the same rigour in teaching the craft this one has.  It has been hailed by many screenwriters and artists in general, and for good reason.  

“In an world of lies and liars, an honest work of art is an act of social responsibilty.”


RE: Writing Exercises - jrWHAG42 - 01-05-2019

I personally haven't read them yet, but it might also be worth looking into Lloyd Kaufman's books, such as "Make Your Own Damn Movie" and "Direct Your Own Damn Movie" and "Produce Your Own Damn Movie" and "Sell Your Own Damn Movie" and lastly, "All I Needed to Know About Filmmaking I Learned From the Toxic Avenger".
Again, I haven't read them, so I don't know how helpful they actually are, but I believe I've heard that they serve as legitimate reference books. I love Lloyd Kaufman


RE: Writing Exercises - Duragizer - 07-08-2019

An excellent plot for a horror film congealed in my mind last night while I was dozing. Not to give too much away, but it's basically City of the Living Dead meets Poltergeist meets Nosferatu meets The Church meets the trailer for Mortuary. All I lack is a cast of characters for the story to revolve around.


RE: Writing Exercises - The Scribbling Man - 07-08-2019

I noticed there were a few writing types on the forums, so have been meaning to start something like this - just couldn't find that round "tuit". Cool to see minds thinking alike.


RE: Writing Exercises - The Scribbling Man - 07-09-2019

Sat down to write some of my own stuff for the first time in a while. Normally, I would write at home, but this time I've gone out to a nice, independent coffee shop and it's really helped me focus.

If anyone is struggling with procrastination or simply struggles with getting distracted easily, I'd recommend getting out of the house with a laptop/device/pen & paper and placing yourself in a different environment to what you're used to. Doesn't have to be a coffee shop - can be a pub, library, a (non-distracting) friends house, even a craft beer bar Wink

If you go to a friends house, ideally pick someone who works from home/has bits they can crack on with while you're there.