So, onto the final round-up for the writing segment of my, ’10 Things’ series.
One of my readers requested I write a post about how to write a play, so I thought I’d shared what I’ve learned. Firstly I should say that if you are interested in knowing the technical stuff, margin widths etc then there are a great number of books, YouTube videos and programmes that can help with this. I know that Celtx was used by a lot of the writers during the 28 Plays Later challenge, which has all of the margin widths ect, pre-programmed, like a word but specifically designed for scriptwriting.
I found that while writing in the challenge, I had little time to do much else, so I didn’t use any software, or read loads of books on the process because if I had done that I wouldn’t have had time to actually write the plays. So what I did was grab a play off my shelf and have a quick look at how it was set out and then used that as a reference point. I then just used word and started writing.
Obviously in the real world, if you want to start writing plays or screenplays, I heavily recommend you do more research than this because you don’t want to get to the end and then have to go through everything and re-format it, that would be incredibly frustrating not to mention laborious. For me though because of the nature of the challenge, I just wrote, I made sure stage directions/descriptions were aligned left and dialogue was centred. When I remembered I put the stage directions/description in italics and any mid dialogue instructions were in parentheses.
I found the biggest difference between writing stories and writing scripts was that everything has to be expressed/shown through dialogue. If I’m writing a story, I can express a lot through the characters inner monologues, in a script that is sub text. I found writing conversations particularly tricky because of this, I didn’t want to over explain things. This was definitely the most challenging thing for me.
Also when writing a play/screenplay you have to be aware of logistics. I a story you can write,
‘Just as Miranda’s transformation was complete, her second head starting screaming out a warning because a giant half elephant, half bumblebee came into view over the Martian landscape’,
and that’s it but when you are writing a script, people have to find a way to bring that to life. So that has to be a consideration in the back of your mind at all times, including scene changes for plays.
So I think that’s what I would say for me, were the challenges between the two styles.
As a final round-up, I think I will keep writing. I do enjoy it, not in the militantly strict format of the challenge but inventing characters and stories is a lot of fun, most of the time! I would not want to do the challenge again, it is extremely intense but I would still recommend it to people, it’s a great baptism of fire for creativity and ideas, plus there is a lot of support from the other writers. I learnt to care less about people pleasing and instead write for me, which was a great lesson to learn. I also learnt to let go of preconceived ideas and write to the brief but in my own unique way. It is a lot of work, to write something, it is a lengthy process and it is not always fun, as I have said there where days I didn’t want to write and at one point words lost meaning to be. There was serious burn out too due to the pressure cooker nature of the challenge. I think the most important thing though, that it drove home for me is, if you want to write, open your laptop, grab your phone/tablet or grab a pen and paper and just start, write nonsense, write badly, just write. It will start to make sense, words will come out that you hate and words will come out that you love but just get it down, it doesn’t have to be perfect, that’s why you edit! If you want to do it, then as the great philosopher, Shia LeBuff says, ‘Just Do It’.
Next Week: So onto the next thing and the next thing is Super Hero week! I will be spending five days attempting to commit anonymous random acts of kindness, which obviously can’t be completely anonymous because I will be blogging to you guys about them but, the idea is to do nice things for people without them knowing its me that’s doing them. So onto the next week, which starts tomorrow!
Be kind to each other, be kind to yourselves.