Screenwriting is categorized as a form of creative writing but unlike writing a novel or a short story, the resulting product, the script, has other components and features that will take the work from paper to film. In many ways, screenwriting is a much more challenging undertaking than other forms of creative writing where creative juices can just flow freely. In screenwriting, the artist has to contend with the technical requirements of format while making sure that he or she is developing the story in terms of action and dialogue. Through the years, however, professionals have managed to offer some tips and techniques to make the task easier.
Brainstorming as a Creative Screenwriting Technique
Never underestimate the power of brainstorming. This means generating new, fresh ideas to enrich or develop your plot. You can choose to brainstorm for the entire screenplay then do the same per scene or per character. Just start with a pen and paper then begin to write ideas as they come. Or, you can do this with a team if you belong to one; or you can make use of software. After the brainstorming, you organize and whittle down the ideas until you begin to glean a stronger, richer and clearer picture of your subject.
Outlines as Tools for Screenplay Development
Because there is an element of discipline in all screenplays, most use outlines to make sure their story is marshaled into developing strongly. The outline makes it incumbent for the creative writer to maintain an overview of how the story will begin, how the conflict will come in and how it will be resolved. Because each event in the plot is clearly marked, the writer does not lose track of how the characters can be developed through their actions and dialogue.
Screenplays that are created with the use of outlines usually have a better chance of being cohesive since the writer has a tool to aid in visualizing how everything will come out in the big screen. Self-editing is also easier. Some software will include outlines as a feature but these can be done manually per scene.
Streamlining Story Development
Once the story is laid out in outline form, the writer then can look at it as a whole and mark the way the story unfolds. This way the story will develop along clean strong lines; plot, structure, character, action and dialogue will be solidly interconnected. You need to make sure that the beginning succeeds in presenting the who, what, where and how of the story. Following that, the middle should show the confrontation and the end should provide the resolution.
Presenting Characters Clearly
Building characters in screenwriting is not limited to descriptions in terms of gender, appearance and age. Good screenwriters create characters that are real and vivid to the audience. When the screenplay is out as a movie, the audience should be able to perceive what the characters want, what motivated them to do the things they did and how their interaction served to affected them. The point in clear character presentation is that the you are able to show what depths to be discovered in each person as the plot moves on.
In creative screenwriting, the writer must remember that the script is the basis for a film which is basically a visual medium. The script therefore is a way of showing the story and it must powerfully display critical moments not only through dialogue but through scenes and action.
Creative screenwriting is not an expertise that is developed overnight. It takes time and study to develop the skills, the perspective and the techniques that go into the creation of a good script. The good news is that resources are available for those who are determined to master their craft and make their dreams come true.