by Peggy Bechko
…In Hollywood – or somewhere!
You’ve no doubt been told some of these things before – perhaps even here on TVWriter™, but it is worth bringing up again and reminding you of some things you should and most certainly should not do in order to get someone, somewhere to read what you’ve written.
You DO want to appear professional, don’t you? In fact I’ve no doubt you want to BE professional. So here goes.
1. Let’s have a discussion about your photo. Yes, there may well be a call for it at some point. No, you don’t embed it on the cover page of your script or the inside page of your novel. Really, nothing screams newbie like plastering your face in a place where it’s the first thing a reader sees, and not your writing. Okay, I get it, you want the world to become acquainted with your smiling mug. Just not first, okay. Wait until someone asks. That’ll probably be never with a script, and only later if a book and they want your photo on the dust jacket flap or on the back cover. So listen to me and save it.
2. I’m going to assume (although I probably shouldn’t) that you know about formatting. Whether formatting a novel using Word or a script with Macros or perhaps a script writing software. Nonetheless I’m going to repeat it. Check and recheck your formatting. Scripts filled with skinny margins to make more fit on the page (if it’s too freaking long, cut it already), just wrong formatting and typos are real turn offs to script readers. Ditto for readers at publishing houses. If you’re writing from one edge of the page to another, can’t punctuate worth a darn and have a white page littered with typos you’re going to turn them off before they even get into your story.
3. Does your story, whether script or manuscript convey a clear concept? Do you have main characters with wants, needs and desires and are they clear to the reader? Have you created obstacles that are realistic and stand in the way of the hero or heroine attaining those wants, needs and desires? All this has to be very clear and conveyed early if you want to snag a reader’s attention and hold it to the point he or she gives it a green light to go to the next level. Keep it clear, really. Just do it. Have people read it first and tell you where they might get confused.
4. This ties in with number 3. In addition to being clear is the story captivating? Not slowly dragging. Whoever it is reading your script or manuscript wants and needs to be hooked hard and hooked early. You don’t want them to be able to put your writing down. You want them so gripped by your story and your writing that they can’t move past your script until it’s read – doesn’t matter how tall that ‘to read’ stack is at their elbow or how much they want to work their way through it. This goes back to your own developing talent and abilities. Never stop working on them, never stop getting better.
5. Do the scenes in your script have a reason? Do the scenes in your novel move the story forward? Is there a reason for each one or are you being lazy and just writing filler? Keep it tight, move it forward. Cardinal rules of storytelling. This one alone will gain you big points with the readers.
6. Details, details. Yes, we need some in our stories to set the scene, to give it flavor and oomph, but don’t fill the pages with excessive details. You might think I’m speaking here only of scripts and of course it’s even more imperative there. But really, it applies to all storytelling. If you toss out such detail and minutia that it slows the story to a crawl you’re in trouble. There are those who tell screenwriters if that’s their inclination then they should be writing a book instead, but believe me as a published novelist, don’t do it there either! With a script you’re creating a world, your own, that you want to see made into a movie. That’s a collaborative effort and as long as you set the scene and capture the flavor, that’s where you need to be. If a novelist, long lists of details, every little thing will result in a great big yawn from the reader. So, consider your venue, choose your details, keep it tight, and show the world what a great storyteller you really are.
Meanwhile – if you haven’t see it yet, book 2 of the Planet Of The Eggs Comic series released – Grimoire: Book of Spells
Oh, and if you have a minute and haven’t already liked the Planet Of The Eggs page on FB – a like would be much appreciated.
It’s at www.facebook.com/PlanetOfTheEggs
Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. Learn more about her HERE. And don’t forget Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. Grab your copy of Book 2 now! And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page