A New Way To Outline… maybe

I may have started a new screenplay this week. Not totally sure. I’m doing an outline for one. I do know that. So, we’re moving forward in the outline department, which is generally a precursor to writing a script. I HATE writing outlines and find them only agonizing. I spend a long time getting them right, and then I go off and write. I like writing screenplay pages, I’ll have you know. I just hate the planning.

Sort of like sex. All the taking them to dinner and meeting their parents and all the groundwork that seems to have to happen before you get down to the real nitty gritty… but I digress.

So, I was sitting there yesterday, with a half assed outline of more or less a lot of the movie… mostly 1/4 assed outline of not enough of the movie… and I am going in and refining my opening sequence, trying to get it right, and then what do you think happened?

I opened up Final Draft and wrote page 1. With only a ghost of an idea of what was going to happen on page one, but I did have a ghost of an idea. Better to have a plan, however wispy, than no plan at all. And my page 1 was fun to write, since I had a decently vague idea of where it was heading, but only vague.

Then back to the outline. More work. More thoughts flowing. And then I wrote some more actual pages. By the end of the work session, I had five pages of script, more or less by accident.

What makes me hope I’m on to something is that it was FUN. Way more fun than outlining and way less scary than writing FADE IN: and just making stuff up. I’ve done that, but ask Mr. Wallenda what it’s like working without a net…

So, on to more outlining and writing at the same time. I have no idea if this is going to work, only one day in, but fingers are crossed. Mind you, I do have a general idea of the whole story, and as I work on the outline, my new plan is to write a page here and there to see how it goes. We’ll see how long it takes me to crash and burn!!



Filed under character, Screenwriting, Writing Process

7 responses to “A New Way To Outline… maybe

  1. I have to agree with you on this one, while I disagree.. I love outlining, its when you can be the most free… how hard is it to rewrite a scene? What about just moving that note card forward two spaces and writing a sentence on it?

    But when I get stuck with my outline, I go to write the damn thing… write the first five pages or so and that usually frees me up to outline some more, gives me some more ideas.

    But yeah, you need to have the broad strokes down, the beginning middle and end, and the major plot points. Not that I’m a stickler for structure, but I do believe in the basics of the story structure.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      I have to force myself to be free during the outline process, but I can do it. I just would rather write pages of script and dialogue. It’s so much more enjoyable. Outlining is solving a puzzle and I loathe puzzles. Visit the Random Thoughts chapter in my fabulous book for a way I combat my need to hurry from outline to script pages.

      Maybe I better visit it too!

  2. Oh man, I’ve done that before. It feels fantastic for the first 30 pages, until I absolutely crash and burn somewhere around the middle of Act Two. Then I go back to do a full outline and realize that Act One doesn’t work either. šŸ™‚

    You’re much wiser than me, though, so I’m sure you’ll pull it off!

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Yeah, well. We’ll see. I can see that this method is fraught with peril. But, at least yesterday, it was FUN. Talk to me in May when I’ve abandoned completely this idea I’ve had for eons because I totally messed it up.

      We shall see what we shall see.

  3. Pingback: Screenplay Outline Onslaught: 45 Screenwriting Resources To Help Improve Your Outlines | The Screenwriting Spark

  4. I disagree. I need a outline otherwise I won’t write

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Everybody’s different. I’ve done it every way there that I can think of to try. What matters is that you discover the method that works for you. Whatever works for you, is the right method. I find that I keep poking at my method, trying to improve it. And, of course, every project is different and requires a slightly different approach.

      Have you read From Where You Dream by Robert Olen Butler? It’s very very good on outlining. And his method was an eye-opener to me.

      Good luck with it all!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s