Even creative non-fiction is comfortable for me and I’ve always enjoyed a good research project.
But in college I had the opportunity to take a film focused writing class. Mostly we were studying films and how to write about them, more like reviews with a deeper technical knowledge of the art.
But as a final project we were given the opportunity to write either a straight up film critique, or to incorporate some screenwriting into the project. When my teachers provided a creative option – that is always where I went, so I wrote my first screenplay.
It’s probably crap, it was a total experiment with a new style of writing where I didn’t really know much of the rules. But damn it was fun!
Unlike in prose fiction, there is no need to fill in description and such in a screenplay. It will be provided by the camera and the actors and so forth.
I loved that, because for the longest time I loathed description.
(I blame Nathaniel Hawthorn and The Scarlet Letter for killing me with several pages of description of a rose bush or however that book starts.)
I also found that telling a story almost entirely in dialogue with minimal direction suits me for at least a draft.
It is so easy for me to write several pages of description in a first draft because I want every detail that is in my head to be clear to the reader. No one wants to read that, least of all me.
Instead, starting from a skeleton of dialogue and adding on makes me focus on what really matters.
Experimenting with screenplay also taught me a lot about how many people can be involved in telling a story.
Writing was always a personal endeavor for me, something I would do on my own and where I had full control of the story.
Screenplay writing implies the involvement of multiple people, even though the initial story can be entirely mine.
Actors, directors, producers, musical directors, set designers, costume designers, production managers, post-production editors, and so many more people can have a hand in how the public would eventually see the final result.
I actually ended up researching how much control a screen writer would have, and made decisions to leave out details or insert more character notes based on that.
Overall I loved experimenting with screenwriting! It broadened my perspective on writing as a craft and introduced me to some things I had not realized about my writing habits.
How else can you experiment with your writing? Exploring a new genre is one thing I did, what have you done?
Let me know down below, and next week I’ll be writing about my overall opinions of writing as a degree in higher education.
Look forward to it!