“Look” is a Four Letter Word

Working on a screenplay. Thought I’d pass on a little of my own advice, which I took myself. Came in handy.
What are you doing? I hope, lying on a beach with an umbrella drink and someone you like.

Looked at my own list of “7 Deadly Sins of Writing” t’other day. One of them is “look.”

Did a search for “look” through the whole script. AMAZING. So many of them! So many times I tried to over-control the read. I’ve been doing this a long, long time, and still am making bush league mistakes. This writing, it’s not easy.

Changed a lot of “looks” to other things. I was kinda stunned how many there were. Embarrassing that I don’t even follow my own rules. Goes to show, that writing is a lot about “fixing it later,” rewriting.

*

3 lines
Joe won’t leave. She eases him up. Points down the long hall. A dead man walking, he shuffles away. Looking back, so worried.

2 lines
Joe won’t leave. She eases him toward the long hall. A dead man walking, he shuffles away, so worried.

*

Everywhere Joe looks, he sees happy FATHERS with many happy CHILDREN. A FRIENDLY WIFE leaves her FAMILY, goes to Joe.

Joe sees happy FATHERS with many happy CHILDREN. A FRIENDLY WIFE leaves her FAMILY, goes to Joe.

*

Kirschenbaum turns away. Frightened. Joe grabs his face. Looks in his eyes. Stacked Blonde breathes a little faster.

Kirschenbaum turns away, frightened. Joe grabs his face. Stacked Blonde breathes a little faster.

*

Joe looks up to see THREE COPS and the hard ass POLICE CHIEF, (Henry J. Garvin), 60s. Stacked Blonde vanishes like smoke.

THREE COPS and hard ass POLICE CHIEF, (Henry J. Garvin), 60s, arrive. Stacked Blonde vanishes like smoke.

*

And on and on and on and ON!

If you look at “look” in your script, please let me know what you discover…

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4 Comments

Filed under Good Writing, Rewriting, Screenwriting, Uncategorized

4 responses to ““Look” is a Four Letter Word

  1. Great post! I’ve also noticed the overuse of “sit” or “stand” in my screenwriting and I’ve been working on changing those into the more action-packed phrases. Going to have to check for “look” now, too LOL.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      I just posted the whole, updated “7 Deadly Sins of Writing” list. May be some in there you’ve not thought of. Took me about nine years or more to come up with the list… I just searched my script for “watch” and “watches” and “watching,” and got rid of a lot of ’em.

      Enjoy rooting these words out of your writing. It should tighten things up a bit.

  2. Just read the post – great list! Thanks.

  3. R

    It seems like “look” and “turns” go hand and hand.

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