Right now, my script-writing has taken a bit of a knock. For some reason, I cannot sit down and write anymore, without being relentlessly distracted by Gears of War 3 (as my Twitter followers can vouch for). I figured that this was because I was writing scripts that I had too much at stake with. Either I was having a crack at a script-writing competition, where I had to whack out my best work in a month, or trying to write something suitable for the BBC’s writers room. I decided that I was so busy looking over every bit of dialogue and scrapping scripts for being too ‘expensive to produce’ that I wasn’t finishing anything.
Therefore, I am moving away from doing any serious work and am writing for the fun of it again. This involves writing a script (or a short story or anything creative), that I have no care for. If I get halfway through it and decide to move on to the next project, no harm, right? It is a much better writing process as I am not scared about messing up a scene, as it’s for my eyes only. Sometimes good ideas can stem from it. Sure, that script I whacked out in a week was pretty poor, but I fell in love with the leading hero and used him in a more serious script. You could end up with a collage of narrative devices with a few gems hidden underneath.
Today, I have got together a few ideas that I have used when I found the writer’s block creeping in and the creative process running dry. Remember, I use these for scripts, but this can be for writers, poets, art… anything where writer’s block becomes a problem. Also, these have helped for me, but I cannot guarantee they will work. I would be interested to know if any helped, so please leave a comment below if you found anything here useful.
4 – ADAPT A BOOK
People always complain about book adaptions being poor. Most of the time, the film just re-iterates a story we already know and when it doesn’t, it often ruins the story we have come to know and love. However, re-iterating the same old story is exactly what we want here. Take a book you like (preferably a short one) and try adapting it into a script. I have found that this helps you pinpoint what parts of a story a film needs. How can you trim the exposition of this chapter and whittle it down to a sharp-paced movie scene? What characters need to be cut? What are the main themes and tones the author wanted to convey?
Sure, it might turn out into the worst of book adaption films, but it’s a learning process. No one will ever read it and it’s a script where the actual book has given you a leg-up. You don’t have to spend precious time scouring your story for plot holes, as you already have a plot. Just knuckle down and write the thing. It could turn into a very rewarding experience.
3 – WRITE A SEQUEL
I do this a lot, as you can probably tell from some of my ‘If I was Writing It’ articles (need to do one of those again soon). Sometimes it is fun to guess where your sequel would go. I have the vague premise for a stand-alone Batman film and a few ideas for sequels. Have you ever thought how a sequel to a certain film would never work? See that as a challenge. How would you continue the Prometheus story? Would you kill off any of the X-Men? What minor characters would you give a bigger slice of the action? There are no limits to where you can take that story, as again, it is just for you.
2 – WRITE SOMETHING FROM YOUR DREAMS
This isn’t as corny as it sounds.
Have you ever woken up from a strange dream and tried to wrap your head around it? I find it fun to put that dream onto paper, simply to see just how crazy it turned out. Usually it involves me and a group of people that have no rights of being there. A close friend, a friend I haven’t seen in years, a family member, a celebrity who knows me like a best pal and a stranger I have never seen before. We usually end up getting drunk in a billionaire’s house or taking on zombies. Once I had a game of hide and seek in an apocalypse with the cast of ‘The Only Way is Essex’. Now, that would make a fantastic screenplay!
There are flaws with this, as it is hard to characterize anyone when you are writing about yourself (who I assume you will write in as positive light as possible) and your mates. However, I find that I can write quickly like this, so while it might feel shaky at first, you might surprise yourself before too long. Who knows where your story will end up? And this is just a piece of fun, as I must keep insisting.
1 – WRITE AN ARTICLE ABOUT WRITER’S BLOCK ON YOUR FILM BLOG