Want to know how to start writing a story? Read the following excerpt from Story by Robert McKee. Afterward, buy his book. I HIGHLY recommend it to every writer of screenplays or books.
Writing From the Inside Out
As the term implies, a step-outline is told in steps. Using one or two sentence statements, the writer simply and clearly describes what happens in each scene, how it builds and how it turns, for example, “He enters expecting to find her home,but instead discovers her note saying she’s left home for good.”
On the back of each card the writer indicates what step in the design of the story he sees this scene fulfilling–at least for the moment. What scenes set up the Inciting Incident? Which is the Inciting Incident? First Act Climax? Perhaps a Mid-Act Climax? Second Act? Third? Fourth? Or more? He does this for Central Plot and subplots alike.
This advice is golden. Sometimes writers think they need to write emotionally or organically minus a game plan when really they need to write logically and orderly according to an outline which of course is a game plan. (Whoa! I used a whole lot of adverbs there.) This process will help avoid many of the common writing pitfalls like a soft middle, a contrived story, a plot riddled with holes, and so on and so on.
Take my advice. Buy Story. Read it and write correctly–from the inside out. By the way, Mr. McKee does indeed discuss the horrors of writing the opposite way– from the outside in– in his book in case you have a perverse curiosity about doing things the wrong way.
There’s always one or two of you out there.
February 26, 2012 No Comments
Directions for Uninhibited First Draft Writing
1. Plop down in front of your computer and start pounding out words. Who cares if the words sound stupid! If you don’t read them you won’t know they’re stupid. Besides, stupid today can look like genius tomorrow and yeah, well, it works the other way too. The important thing is NEVER EVER read your fragile virgin words immediately after you’ve let them loose.
Helpful Hint: Pretend that you are a court reporter and your job is to report/type the words you hear in your head. You do hear words, people speaking, that kind of think, don’t you? As a court reporter, YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO CHANGE THE WORDS, NOT EVEN ONE TINY WORD, OR YOU WILL BE FIRED! Let me be clear. I mean leave the mistakes. Leave the shoddy punctuation. Leave the angry words and the naughty words and the embarrassing grammar.
2. Write until you reach the goal you set for yourself. Hello! You did set a goal, right? Some writer folk use a time-limit, some like a word count, some a page count. DON’T set an obnoxiously huge goal that will be impossible to attain. There’s a term for this kind of person. Self-Sabatoger!
DO set a baby goal that you can feel good about cause you will be able to accomplish your goal in 20 minutes, no problem. When you are finished hit save and walk away. Walk away. Walk away.
3. I am of the opinion that uninhibited first draft writing requires a chaser to relieve the stress of . . . uninhibited first draft writing. I favor dancing to the funky little tune, ”Get up offa that thing” by James Brown http://www.youtube.com/embed/0ROzGihgCj8
If you’re going to imitate me, remember, absolutely no editing, no analysis, no mirrors for goodness sake! Just feel the music and move it!
April 4, 2011 3 Comments