The Writes of Spring?

April 6th, 2011

Hey, congratulations! You made it through one of the coldest, snowiest, nastiest winters on record (so far), and spring – such as it is – is here. It’s time for ‘spring cleaning,’ and hopefully that includes any ideas you’ve been holding onto over the harsh winter. Washing the windows and beating the rugs – well, that’s your business. But when it comes to following your creative urge and putting those long-gestating ideas down on paper – what I call the ‘writes of spring,’ you should remember the importance of story basics. After all, spring is a time of renewal and rebirth; if you look at the movies coming to a theater near you this summer, renewed and rebirthed is a pretty accurate description of the sequel-heavy fare… It’s why you need to contribute to the ‘writes of spring.’ After all, your idea is better, isn’t it?

The importance of story

More often than not, audiences do not leave a movie theater criticizing the art direction. They find fault with the story – or the way the story is told. The first part means the writer didn’t do their job properly; the latter suggests the director is complicit with the writer. In either case, it’s probably because the story had flaws. Flaws which could have been fixed before the story left audiences wanting something better. That’s where the process of story development comes in: story development analysis reinforces scripts so their seams are not evident.

End with the beginning? Begin with the ending?

No matter what your creative process entails, the important part is getting words down on paper (or bits and bytes on your hard drive) to give your work life. Basics like story structure, pacing, tone, characters, etc. are all important, but without actual substance, all writing is hypothetical. So get those words written – however you want. If you want to begin with your story’s ending (usually the most difficult element of any story or script to get right), go for it! Just remember, while the ending is important, it’s no more so than the beginning or middle. But you’ve got to start somewhere…

Everybody’s a critic

Once you’ve accomplished your goal and put your script down on paper, what next? The subsequent step may actually be the hardest: letting others read and offer criticism of your work. It’s necessary for people to read your efforts – that’s the very definition of being a writer. But you want people to read your work with an eye toward making it better, not simply pointing out misspellings or typos or pronouncing it ‘good.’ Because of their formats, feature film scripts, as well as teleplays and stage plays, can offer a reading challenge to the uninitiated, so it’s a very good idea to have someone familiar with script format read your work for quality and clarity.

Written any good movies lately?

Spring has sprung, the sap is running… So start writing! Or do you WANT another summer of sequels, remakes and reboots? Frankly, it’s your move…

  1. Dad
    April 8th, 2011 at 13:48 | #1


    One of your best. Clear, concise, and to the point. Good work.

  2. Barrett
    April 10th, 2011 at 12:38 | #2

    Thanks, Dad! (And, may I add, one of your best complimentary comments!)

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