Screenwriting Is Easy, and Other True Lies about Craft

Read a screenwriting book and you'll feel like the king of the writing universe.

Read a screenwriting book and you’ll feel like the king of the writing universe.

This post is going to be short so I can get back to my screenwriting. You read me right. My husband and I have started writing screenplays. I’m diving deep into my first one literally as I type this. (Ideas are always brewing, you know.) Somehow, by reading Save the Cat! and collaborating with my husband, I’m not only coming up with ideas quickly, but…wait for it…I’m having fun! I know. It’s too good to be true. But here are a handful of reasons I think this is happening:

  • Brainstorming works: We’ve been encouraged (by the screenwriting books we’ve been consuming like candy) to come up with as many ideas as we can and not worry about totally fleshing them out, so we’re freed from the hard stuff (at least at first) and able to revel in the glory of what we think are genius movie ideas.
  • Walking collaboration is magic: We talk details as we walk to the store, and it feels more like planning a slumber party than writing a story. We talk motivation, action, conflict, how to ramp up the conflict even more, and how to get to the climax gracefully. And when we get home, we’re so energized, that we have to just write it all out. And we do! The lesson of the walk-talk is that collaboration can make writing more fun. I suppose you have to have a good collaborator, though, so I’m lucky there. My dude’s full of good ideas.
  • Helpful guidance is a sage: The books we’ve been reading (besides Save the Cat! there’s also Writing Movies for Fun and Profit, which is as much fun to read as it is to follow) give some great practical advice, including outlines and examples that are easy to understand and follow.

This isn’t to say that as soon as we get past the outlining phase all the lust won’t have evaporated, but it is to say that I’ve never had such a good time writing in any other genre, and I wonder why…

6 Comments

  • Amaris says:

    Exciting! Someone just recommended that book to me. Now I must check it out. Can’t wait to see the screen play.

    • JaimeRWood says:

      It’s a fun read, Amaris. Dylan and I have come up with a handful of ideas so far, and I’m really honing in on one of them, outlining the characters, etc. I feel like I’m actually producing something for a change! :)

  • I love screenwriting craft books and Save the Cat is one of my favorites. I learned so much about story structure, beats, and plot points from these books. Another great screenwriting resource I like is Michael Hauge’s Storymastery.com website. He makes many of his screenwriting master classes available on DVD.

    Can’t wait to read/see your movie, Jaime!

  • JaimeRWood says:

    Thanks for the info, Asa! We’ll have to check out Storymaster.com.

  • Sam Ligon Sam Ligon says:

    I think it’s the collaboration that makes it so fun… and the fact that you don’t have to worry about the prose.

    • JaimeRWood says:

      I think you’re right, Sam. We’re not worried about being artful. And coming up with ideas together is a lot of fun. This kind of writing feels more like putting together a puzzle than the kind of creative writing I’m used to doing, which feels more like mining for gold.

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