I’m moulding a plot for a script at the moment, and I’m approaching it in a way that I never have before. It’s unusual for a plot not to present most of itself to me as I begin work on planning a script, but this time round, it’s being a bit stubborn. The basic underlying structure is all there, but the bones of the narrative flow are not.
So, I’ve written out an act breakdown, and I’m simply typing a question or two into each section, with the answers sparking new questions and resolving other questions. It feels a bit too inorganic at the moment, and maybe having to force a plot out means that there’s something fundamentally wrong with the premise, but I like exploring different ways of working.
On Screenwipe a few weeks back, Charlie Brooker interviewed an endless stream of excellent writers about their craft and workflow, and I was amazed at how few of them broke their plots down before embarking on the first draft of the script. I think Tony Jordan said he writes Hustle (of all things) without knowing how it’s going to end. As a result, he says he often writes 30 or more drafts.
While I have begun a script without knowing where it’s going on many occasions, and the journey of discovery is always fun, having it structured and laid out before embarkation is just as exciting, and often it gives you more freedom to explore. If you know you have to be at the bus station by ten o’clock, you know that you have time to pop into the shop and buy a book to read. Plus, things always happen that you never planned for or expected.
Anyway, I’m writing this now because I am procrastinating with the plot. It’s either this or PES on the Playstation. At least this seems like writing.