16 Steps for Planning and Writing Your Script: Step 1

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Step 1: How to start writing.

I will start these lessons by saying first and foremost that if you are not already journaling on a daily basis; begin doing so immediately.  It is amazing how many “writers” I’ve met who don’t write.

Writing, like anything else, is a skill and skills are developed and improved through practice and repetition until they become second nature.

When people think of journaling (and I used to think this way, too) they usually think of being alone somewhere in total seclusion, like a monk, writing and writing for hours at a time.

Not true!


Journaling could be simply writing a few sentences in a notebook or jotting down an idea consisting of a few words. But when you COMMIT yourself to writing everyday, writing something no matter how much or how little, what you’re doing is programming your mind to think differently.

For instance, take something you said to someone today and put those words, exactly as you said them, in writing and have them read it back. They probably won’t understand that idea written down as clearly as they understood those words verbally.  This is why it is important to write, because writing reveals weaknesses in our ability to communicate our ideas to others on paper. 

Writing is the art of refined speech!



So, you understand the importance of journaling or keeping a diary.  How is this going to lead to writing your script?

Somewhere in all of these ideas, a baby is waiting to be born!  All scripts start, as babies start, from a seed, a single idea. And what happens after you discover this seed?  You lift it out of your journal and place it in a folder where you can begin feeding and nourishing it.

How is it nourished?  Through focused brainstorming.

Once you have the idea separated in its own folder, you think about this idea.  You listen to music and songs that make you think about and add to this idea.  You watch movies or television shows that make you think about and add to this idea.  You take long walks on sunny days, rainy days, in the daytime, at night, with someone, by yourself.

You talk about the idea and the connections it has to your own experiences.  The connections it has to the experiences of others you know.  Read a book.   Go see a play.  Have a debate with someone about something-anything– be it love, whether or not man evolved or was created, how the fact that water’s been recently discovered on Mars and may affect the push to terraform the planet for human migration and habitation, etc.

Read newspaper articles, scientific journals, fiction, non-fiction, philosophy, sociological literature, the Bible, do volunteer work, talk to a homeless person, visit a prison.

You receive inspiration from all of these sources to feed your idea.

As you brainstorm on that single idea-that single germ– that idea will become magnetic and attract corresponding ideas and these ideas, like cells, will begin to fuse and develop.

There’s no linear order or organization to these ideas yet, this will come when we begin building our outline.

Right now, ideas are occurring in a chaotic fashion.  Every now and then a new idea, unrelated to your growing idea, will insist on being developed.  When this happens, create another folder for this and other projects you want to develop later.

For now, keep the focus of your brainstorming on the idea you are on.

Sometimes, a story will assault me all at once; arriving fully-developed with characters, beginning, middle, and ending and these are times when I will go to the library or Starbucks and spend hours purging the idea in a document on my laptop.

Other times, a story will come in bits and pieces and I’ll brainstorm days, weeks, sometimes months before I have enough to begin constructing an outline.

But this is what I want you to do after reading this.

Journal.  Write down something that moves you everyday.  When you come across that idea that goes off like a spark in your stomach, put that idea in a folder and brainstorm specifically for it.

Next time, I will share some of my brainstorming techniques and my inspirational sources.

Thanks for reading! See you next time.




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