Don’t start. That’s the first piece of advice I’d give anyone who asks me how to start a script. Don’t start.

At least, not yet.

The quickest and simplest way to get yourself a half-baked script that no one wants to read is to set off without knowing where you’re going. To dive in and start pounding out pages, without any clear idea of what you want your script to be, or how you’re going to get there. That, my friend, is a one-way street to inconsistent characters, wandering plots and loose, flabby structure. 

And you don’t want that, right?

A screenplay of 110 pages (and hopefully not too many more) is possibly one of the longest things you’re ever going to write (unless you’re something stupid – you know, like a novelist). Writing a script is complex and intricate. You can’t build a house without making detailed blueprints showing how all the doors and windows and floors are going to fit together.

Why would you start a screenplay without a plan? In the next few blog posts, I’ll try and talk about some ways that I go about making a plan…

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I'm James, a screenwriter working in the film and TV industry. To get in touch, see my e-mail contact page.

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