I’ve known for sometime that sometimes the more constrained you are, the more creative you are forced to become. In writing, this can only be a good thing. Give me a deadline, give me a strict set of guidelines, give me an inflexible word count and together they will force my creative thoughts into places they otherwise wouldn’t go.
Discussions about structure in screenwriting (or any writing for that matter) always divide writers into two camps. In one corner are those that swear by the three act structure, midpoint reversals and scenes noted on index cards, while on the opposite stool are those screaming that structure and formulas stifle creativity, preferring to dive in and find where the story takes them.
Any scriptwriter will tell you the golden rule is “show — don’t tell”. A good script relies on strong visuals to tell the story, not dialogue. The characters shouldn’t tell the audience what happened, they should be immersed in it.
I love it when a new set of eyeballs reads my script. But, like anyone, when that person offers criticism the ego takes a knock. After all, what do they know? They didn’t stay up all hours writing the damn thing! Criticism is an essential part of any writing process, but more important is the ability to deal with this criticism effectively. Many times I’ve come across an amateur writer who dismisses criticism as a misunderstanding on the part of the reader. If the reader wasn’t completely won over by the script, they simply didn’t get it.