Write just enough scene description and then QUIT

I don’t know why this is so tough, but it really, really is.
You need to read screenplays. Lots of them. A whole lot.

One of the things that you’ll figure out is that they aren’t too long on action description. [I used to call it “scene description” …trying to quit the habit. Not easy.]

They tell you, barely, what happens, just barely enough for you to get the picture and then it MOVES ON. No atmosphere much. No novelistic description of what the room looks like. Nothing but the motion and some emotion and that’s it.

Read your stuff out loud and see if you’re telling too much.
Get someone to read it to you and see if you’re telling too much.

But read scripts and see how guys who do it for a living, do it. Then DO EXACTLY WHAT THEY DO. How hard can that be? You want to cash checks like they do? Write like they do.

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5 Comments

Filed under Bad Writing, Scenes

5 responses to “Write just enough scene description and then QUIT

  1. Melody Lopez

    I’ve read some produced screenplays and it is hard to know what to follow. Sometimes I’m reading the shooting script and I’m reading exactly what I saw on screen and sometimes…it is A LOT… so this is not an easy task…

    but don’t you think for early drafts…more is better then not enough? Cause at least you know what to cut or tighten ..

    if Not… I have no idea what is just enough… BOO HOO

    • SA CARPENTER

      Billy Bob Thornton wrote a script called “Sling Blade.” It’s on the internet as the spec. script. I’ve seen the movie numerous times, but the read is really fun. It grabs you by the front of your shirt and never lets go. That’s when you know you’ve nailed it!

  2. Pingback: Akers on Scene Description | writewhatyoudontknow

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      If people wrote with a pencil, which is more difficult than with a computer, they’d leave out a LOT of useless words.

      • Good tip! I find it a lot easier to write with a pen. Although my fingers move a lot slower than my brain in that medium, it’s a good thing. When my fingers catch up I realize what I was aiming for wasn’t so important after all.

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