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Creative Ways To Write A Scene
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As every screenwriter learns sooner of later, screenwriting is a very exacting discipline. While a typical novel runs to around 100,000 words, a movie script comes in closer to 20,000 words - that means that writers have to be sure that every scene, every page, indeed every word that you write delivers the maximum impact.
One way of doing that is to make sure that your story is structured properly and that your characters are interesting. But beyond that, one of the biggest differences you can make to the quality of your script is the choices you make about your scenes. Many writers take the actual structure of their scenes for granted, simply writing in the first way they think of that seems to meet the needs of the plot. But if you do that you are missing out on a great way to improve each and every scene - do that ten, twenty, thirty times across your script and you will dramatically improve the quality of your script.
There are many different ways you can write any given scene - the four listed below are just a few options. The beauty of them is that you can apply these to many types of scenes, and they are not mutually exclusive - in other words, you can sue several in the same scene. Here are a few basic choices:
Suspense: Scenes with a sense of suspense in them are inherently more interesting - you have immediately engaged the audience's emotions. What's great is that creating suspense is quite easy - you just have to lead the audience to believe an event is about to occur, and then delay that event. We typically think of suspense in thrillers - Hitchcock was the master of suspense - but suspense can be used not just in thrillers and horror films, but dramas, comedies, pretty much any genre. When you create a feeling of suspense, you are using the audience to create a mood - they are the ones expecting something to happen, so it is their own involvement with your story that creates the emotion. The more you can involve your audience, the more they will enjoy your story.
Surprise: This is the flip side of suspense. Whereas suspense promises something then delays the delivery, surprise delivers something we don't expect. Designing surprise into a scene will certainly engage an audience, making them think about what has come before in the story, and wonder even more about what is to come.
Close Encounters: What is a close encounter? It's any scene in which you force two characters to face each other with no chance of escape. If you have two characters who are in opposition and you want them to have an argument or a fight, look for ways to put them together somewhere there's no escape - an elevator, a taxi, on opposite sides in a public debate. The possibilities are endless - just take a few minutes to brainstorm for a few ideas that fit naturally into your script.
Dramatic Irony: Dramatic irony is a simple yet effective writing technique - it occurs any time the audience knows something that the character doesn't. This can be in a horror movie where we know the zombie is stalking the heroine but she doesn't, a comedy where the hopeless hero doesn't realize (but we do) that he's gone into the women's restroom, or a romance where we know that the heroine is about to be dumped by her boyfriend, but she thinks he's about to propose to her. Again, it's a fantastic way to engage the audience and increase the interest in a scene.
Using techniques like this can improve each and every scene in your script. Why not try them out on your next script?
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