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Story development


#1

Anyone got any advice on story development for a screenplay? I do fine writing scenes but they would never tie into a story. Any help would be awesome.


#2

[quote]Anyone got any advice on story development for a screenplay? I do fine writing scenes but they would never tie into a story. Any help would be awesome.[/quote]

The only way to develop a story is to know the story you want to tell. Know it from beginning, middle to end. Otherwise, you just have a mold of shapeless scenes that lead to nowhere.


#3

I know the story I want to tell but I don’t have the specific events. That is what I mean. You can have two of the same basic story: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl, for example, and they could have absolutely none of the same events. That is what I need help with. I’ve got the basic idea I just need to develop it.


#4

[quote]I know the story I want to tell but I don’t have the specific events. [/quote]

That’s not a story, that’s merely an idea. Two totally different things. Like I said, know your story inside and out, know where you want to go with each scene and write it.


#5

I’m trying to develop that idea into a story. That is what I’m asking about. To know it inside and out i have to develop an inside and out which is what I’m stuck on.


#6

Well, here are a few starting points that you can choose when developing your story:


  • A concept
  • Characters
  • The setting
  • The ending
  • A theme, maybe?
  • The plot
  • An historical event?
  • The inciting incident
  • Music perhaps?
  • Or personal Experience…



    Any of these things can be used as starting blocks when developing your story.

#7

Music, that’s interesting. But how woud you use music to develop a story? I actually have been trying to use 96 quite bitter beings by CKY to help me develop my story because I want it to have the mood and rythm of that song but I have no idea how to really make anything of it. I guess there’s really no specific way to turn music into a story.


#8

[quote=“Damo”]
Music, that’s interesting. But how woud you use music to develop a story? I actually have been trying to use 96 quite bitter beings by CKY to help me develop my story because I want it to have the mood and rythm of that song but I have no idea how to really make anything of it.
[/quote]


Use music to fit a scene, not a scene to fit music.

#9

[quote=“Damo”]
Music, that’s interesting. But how woud you use music to develop a story? I actually have been trying to use 96 quite bitter beings by CKY to help me develop my story because I want it to have the mood and rythm of that song but I have no idea how to really make anything of it. I guess there’s really no specific way to turn music into a story.
[/quote]

I’m actually trying really hard to use music in a more powerful way than I’ve ever seen. Like there is a really cool fight scene between a bunch of Apache indians that is set to Dick Dale’s version of Ghost Riders In the Sky, and the very end, where the criminals get caught, they have the car chase, and them marching into their cells, getting their mug shots done, etc. that is done to the white stripes version of one More Cup of Coffee. And there are a few other scenes, where practically every movement is to the rythm of music. I hope it works out.


#10

Something I wish I’d done when I started writing my feature length script now is outline it first. I’m kind of getting into a flow again but for a while there I had no where to go. I had my beginning and end written and a little of the body but not nearly enough. Had I decided to outline my entire script before I started writing I would have been able to keep consistently writing instead of running into a badass writer’s block.



Also make sure your characters go through a change in the script. I noticed I wasn’t doing that in my script and it gave me something to write and something more specific to brain storm when I’m thinking of ideas, scenes, etc. That sounds dumb. Maybe I’m the only person that would forget something like that but maybe not.



I wold also suggest becoming an insomniac. I don’t know, when I can’t sleep seems to be the time writing is easiest.


#11

If you begin to write enough, you’ll come up with endless ideas, and you’ll mix and match alot of them. Some turn out good, and some bad.


#12

You’ve got your situation. Your concept, what ever you want to call it. Create your characters. what do you want your characters to do within that particular situation. How do they react to the situation, to each other. Now throw in a result of their reactions, or more situations or conflicts or other characters (just not too many) who are affected by their actions or the event. Keep the story moving.



It can get complicated. Get 3X5 cards and write down characters and situations and where it’s all going. Dialogue etc. I just started doing that and it helped me to organize scenes etc. much easier than putting it all in my head.



Here’s a link that’s been posted on the board before that’s been a great help to me:



<LINK_TEXT text=“http://www.bruce-campbell.com/babblings … advice.htm”>http://www.bruce-campbell.com/babblings/advice/script-advice.htm</LINK_TEXT>





I’ve also found music to be a great help when writing. Music helps me to set a tone for a scene, a character. I’ve even based screenplays on ideas from songs. Its a great tool. But don’t let it confine you, it should set your mind free to ideas.


#13

That all sounds complicating, but I agree with the music, it’ll really help you put your mind where it needs to be to create certain scenarios.


#14

I agree it sounds that way, but read the bruce campbell link, he says it better.


#15

I found this article on a board at http://screenwritersutopia.com



It’s a bit long, so I skimmed it down to the good parts.





-------------------------



I CAN SEE IT NOW!

The Seven Tests Of A Good Screenplay Idea

By Neill D. Hicks





Somewhere in the churning soup of your creative self, a bubble begins to form. It grows larger and larger: an irritation, an obstinate itch, an insistent demand - an idea! At first, it’s a craggy, bumpy, uneven sort of thing that only a creator could love. But, with a little work, you forge it into an authentic concept suitable as the operating premise for a…? A what? A note pinned to the supermarket bulletin board? A magazine article? A novel? A textbook? A stage play? How about a movie?



Sure, everyone’s writing screenplays these days, and some of those screenplays are selling for big money. Why not yours? Before you plan your Academy Award acceptance speech, though, let’s consider what makes a good movie idea that’s worth spending the next six months to a year fashioning into a screenplay.



Movies Tell A Dramatic Story



It may seem obvious, but keep in mind that the movies we enjoy the most tell a story. A magazine article about how to select fresh fruit is probably not going to become the basis for an exciting film. Neither is an essay on health care. Even a short story about a young girl who waits by the telephone to be invited to her first dance is not the kind of material movies do well. We may be satisfied in a short story to glimpse a slice of life, but in a movie we want the whole pie - and we’ll be unsatisfied if we don’t get it. A good movie has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It tells the narrative of change for a character in a dramatic sequence.



Dramatic is the important word. Movies are dramatic, and drama is about conflict. All good movies are about a character acting against another character or his environment. The main character moves through the story only because he overcomes obstacles. The character may have to use physical force, as in an action-adventure movie, or emotional and verbal force as in a movie like Rain Man or Kramer vs. Kramer, but in either case the character always will have to take direct action in order to overcome the opposition.



The opposition in a movie story comes not only from an antogonist, but from the main character himself. Before he can win, the main character must conquer some fear or shortcoming. In other words, the character must come to grips with his own values.



So, movies are stories about change in the values of a character that is achieved through conflict.



Movies And Novels



Movies are action.



One of the requirements of action is that the character is forced to make difficult choices. Remember that the story is about the character’s change in values, so that character is going to be making some tough moral choices before he can progress in the story. The audience, however, can’t see the decision making process, only the result of the process. A portrayal of the agonies of making a decision is of little interest, while the actions that come from that decision probably will keep viewers entertained and excited.



Movies, in fact, are a poor medium for exploring the inner life of characters. While both stage and film dramas deal with conflict, stage characters usually talk their way through the dilemma on their way to self-discovery, but film characters must take action against other characters.



Movie Story Structure



Generally, movies don’t ask us to imagine what a character is thinking or feeling, but show us their results of those thoughts and feelings in actions that we can see clearly. The best movie ideas do this by structuring events in ever increasing importance. We don’t want to watch the character make the same decision or go through the same actions over and over again. The result of the character’s actions must lead to a more difficult decision to make, which in turn leads to greater action, and so on until the character solves the problem.



The worst movie ideas? The worst movies don’t tell us a story at all.



Is It A Film?



Let’s get back to that irritating bubble that is swelling up to become an idea. When it finally rises into your consciousness, ask yourself a few questions before you reach for the keyboard:





Is there a clear main character?

Does this main character have a problem to solve?

Is there clear, definite opposition? An antagonist?

Does the resolution of the problem require the character to take action against the antagonist?

Does the resolution of the problem bring the character’s values into question?

Does the story have “air” in it? Does it take place in several locations?

Is the primary thrust of the story emotional rather than intellectual?



If you can answer “yes” to all of these questions, you may have an idea for the next Academy Award winning screenplay!



Copyright 1999 by SCREENTALK. All rights reserved.


#16

Good article.



Just as some advice, warning I’ve yet to finish a screenplay, but have high hopes for the one I’m working on now.



I tried about everything, and I think what I realized (hope what I realized), is that I’ll start with an idea develope several obsticals/jokes/scenes, and I’ll think to myself “these parts are perfect, I’ll toss them aside if I think of something better, but until then they are in the scene.” And in the past I worked around those. Keep in mind all oof these are very non-linear, beginning(first 5 mins) scenes in the middle (2 or three that are about 5 mins long) and ending (10 mins, such a great ending), I’ll also have alot of secondary ideas to but I’ve used the 5 or 6 scenes to build a script out of. Even though I don’t intend to give up on the first 3 scripts I’ve started and the one script in my head(let’s just leave it at that), I’m trying another approach.

I had a few preconcieved ideas on my new one, but I’ve pretty much gone throught them within the first 10 pages, I have a vague idea of direction but am not going to sit aroun thinking up hoops for the main character to jump through until I get him to a place he can jump. I pretty much based the beginning off of itself, leaving little empty spaces (I mean, "How am I gonna get so and so here, when he’s all the way over here, or “How am I going to link these events plotted out in my head”). I also found that by have these preconcieved ideas( which every outline I’ve ever done is filled with them) I tend to make the story way to complicated.



Just a few thoughts, like I said I’m just stating what didn’t seem to work for me, and I don’t know if my new approach will yield anything better, but damn am I hopeful.


#17

For Formatting I would visit the sites below.



http://www.screenwriting.info/

<LINK_TEXT text=“http://www.godamongdirectors.com/script … voir.shtml”>http://www.godamongdirectors.com/scripts/reservoir.shtml</LINK_TEXT>


#18

[quote=“roulette67”]
For Formatting I would visit the sites below.



http://www.screenwriting.info/

<LINK_TEXT text=“http://www.godamongdirectors.com/script … voir.shtml”>http://www.godamongdirectors.com/scripts/reservoir.shtml</LINK_TEXT>
[/quote]

RIPOFF! YOU STOLE MY IDEA!! :wink:



The problem with my script ideas is the fact that I either consciously or subconsciously copy from other movies. So what I tend to do is the same that Tarantino did with the HOBL-fight scene: write a bunch of stuff that is from other movies and then start leaving them out when coming with ideas that work better or change them.



The bigger problem is when I’m not aware of the copying. I’m watching some movie for third-or-so times and then notice something that I’ve had in my head for a long time. And another is when I’m seeing the movie first time and get scared that someone will think Iäm ripping them off. (Like Tarantino told in the commentary of True Romance that he’s copied mexican stand-offs from John Woo.)



A great tip for anyone just starting: KNOW YOUR CHARACTERS! It makes the writing so much easier.