screenwriting is the new novel writing

So I’ve been doing some homework, kind of. I’ve been accepted onto a Scottish Book Trust screenwriting workshop thing that runs over the next three days, and I’ve been reading books about screenwriting.

It’s fascinating stuff, having come from the relatively less prescriptive form of novel writing into the world of writing for the screen – the whole Aristotle three act thing, when to put your inciting incident in to fuck yer hero up, etc, climaxes, focus points, point of no return and all that. Not saying it’s better or worse, just seems a very different discipline. Looking forward to it, anyway. I’ll report back after this weekend, which I’m assuming will be quite intensive stuff. Mibbes I’ll burst out of the place on Sunday evening with a genius script in hand, ready to be the new Charlie Kaufman. Or maybe not.

I have to say it’s already made me think a little differently about the fiction that I’m writing, anyway. More about that in another blog, no doubt. 

Some other screenwriting chat, though – I met with a guy recently who expressed an interest in adapting Tombstoning and The Ossians (my first two novels) into screenplays. Not quite talking about optioning rights, yet, but he seemed to know what he was talking about, knew some folk in the business in Scotland, seemed to get the books and knew his way around a film script as well. Like I say, a long way from optioning rights, and light years away from actually getting a film made, but an encouraging start.

I do really fancy writing scripts now. Had to submit a three-page script for this course, so I worked up a couple of ideas over two weeks and submitted the better one. They were called There Are Easier Ways to Kill Yourself and Kill The Deer. That was the first scriptwriting I’d ever done, ever, despite writing several novels and being very into film and television since I was about five years old. Odd, eh? Anyway, think I may well have the bug now. Apparently at this workshop we’ll be working on these scripts more. Once I have something at the other end I might well post it up here.

Aye so, think visual, show don’t tell, arrive late and leave early, screenwriting buzzword bingo ahoy!

About Doug Johnstone

I write things
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