March 29, 2012

script frenzy prep

In a few days, the madness that is Script Frenzy begins. This is my first year participating, so I'm guessing it is madness. But after two National Novel Writing Months, I stand by my conjecture.

What does that mean for those of us who plan to crank out 100 pages in 30 days? It means we have three days, counting today, to plan and prepare for the task ahead of us.

I am confident with my approach to this upcoming challenge. I may not hit the 100-page goal, but I know I have a story to tell, and I know how I want it told. I'm a planner by nature. I plot out my stories before I write them, and this script is no different. I have large and small goals and a map to navigate the rocky terrain ahead.

With that in mind, I will share a few of my tips on preparing for Script Frenzy:
  • Project folder. Just like it sounds, I created a physical folder to store all of my prep materials for writing. Being in a folder keeps everything in one place, offers organizational benefits and makes mobile operations easy. You just grab the folder and take it with you wherever you go. I stock up on folders at Back to School sales (along with a few other supplies) every year, which makes it an inexpensive tracking tool. I use this for all of my major writing projects, and it is the heart of my organization.
  • Plot cards. Like with my NaNoWriMo book, I used my beloved note cards to create the story arch for this WIP. My upcoming project is a web series, so each note card (pictured above) represents an episode. On each card, I wrote a few sentences explaining the key plot elements I want reflected in the episode.
  • Character sketches. Another great use for note cards, I wrote basic character descriptions, including personality and appearances, as a reference.
  • Track ideas. Each day that comes closer to Script Frenzy brings me more ideas on how I want to set scenes or write dialogue. Whenever I get an idea I love and want to use, I write it down in the miniature notebook I carry in my purse. (Note, writers, if you don't carry a notebook or writing utensil with you wherever you go, you should start. Inspiration is seldom convenient, and won't wait for you to find a writing implement.)
  • Research. In addition to doing some background research for the story itself, I have invested some time in reading TV scripts. The best way to learn any form of writing is by reading what others have done. I took a TV writing class in college, but that by no means makes me a pro. Neither does reading several scripts, but it gives me more confidence to consider how I will commit words to print. Here's a good tip: mix reading scripts for shows you have and have not seen. Reading the shows you have seen gives you a good idea of how it actually turned out. The shows you have not seen allow you to work that imagination.
What preparation do you like to make before beginning a writing project?

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