#WritingAdviceWednesday – Writing Exercises: Learn From The Best

Writing Advice Wednesday

Writing Exercises

As well as a relevant video essay I’ve found, I’ll be giving you writing exercises to perform, if you’re keen to either get some practise, or need some motivations to start a new script or novel. It’s exercises like this that form part of my One Hour Screenwriter course, which will help you write an entire feature film script in 22 weeks. You can purchase it at the shop here. You can also read testimonies here that show my methods have worked for plenty of other people.

This week, it’s time to put stop writing and start reading!

Read a screenplay

Viewing a movie is vastly different than reading a script. If you aren’t in the habit of collecting and studying screenplays, cultivate that habit now. You will gain a wealth of useful and practical knowledge from reading good scripts.

Learn what keeps you eagerly turning the pages and anxious to learn what happens next.

Discover how other writers develop a sense of place and time.

Absorb the different ways conflict is generated.

Notice how character is constructed and maintained on the page.

See how another writer builds pace and rhythm in a story.

Most bookstores have a section on film. Many contemporary screenplays are now published in book form. Be careful, however, some of the scripts published in books are not in the proper form for submission or production. They are formatted to fit conveniently or attractively within the pages of a book.

You can also find a number of scripts online. The following sites offer downloads of produced screenplays for educational purposes. Most of these sites link to other databases so you may find duplications among them. There are a wide variety of scripts to download.

Drew’s Script-o-rama is one of first sites to offer scripts to download. It has a very comprehensive listing.

Script Crawler is the largest online source of scripts from produced movies. Many titles feature several different drafts of a script.

Simply Scripts offers scripts for movies, television shows, anime, radio plays, musicals and stage plays.

Internet Script Database is another good source.

Screenplay 451 is a Danish site that provides frequent updates of scripts from recent movie releases.

Retype a screenplay

The best way to study a screenplay is to retype it, page by page.

Purchase or download a favorite script.

View the film (starting and stopping it) as you retype the script.

This seems like a very tedious assignment but it will yield gold to repay your patience and diligence.

There is simply no better way to understand how a screenplay is put together. It is time well spent and will elevate your understanding and appreciation of structure and craft.

You can break this assignment into three pieces. Type the first act. Type the second act. Type the third act.

As you retype the film you will immerse yourself in the story and will put yourself in the original writer’s frame of mind.

Here’s a resource for more free screenplays:

50 Free Screenplays You Can Download Right Now, From ‘Eternal Sunshine’ to ‘Lost in Translation’

Video Essay of the Week

A brilliant recent screenplay was the adaptation of Arrival (a better Dennis Villeneuve film than Blade Runner 2049)

Let me know what you think of this week’s writing exercise by emailing me at ETBHelp@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you as we go forward with more of these writing exercises. Next week, it’s time to look around you…

Until then, remember- all you need to do is Get Started and Keep Going!

– Laurie


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