Tag Archives | screenwriting tricks

Should writers follow screenwriting tricks?

My 200 followers book give away and Act I critique ends Monday!

The post on Monday got me thinking about this. And Jennifer Hoffine pointed out that when creating the best-worst character, we run the risk of falling into cliche. (But when isn’t that a problem?) Why should we follow screenwriting tips? I mean, after all, I’m not writing a screenplay. What are the benefits?

First you have to figure out your goals as a writer.

Do you want to write a story that captures the attention of agents and editors? Do you want to become a best seller? Do you want to write high concept? (The answer doesn’t have to be yes.)

Okay, do you have to write high concept?

No. Absolutely not. But if you answered yes to the questions above you might want to try. I know. It’s hard.

But as is usually the case I can think of successful stories I loved that I don’t consider high concept. (Kate Messner’s The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z., Sugar and Ice; and Sara Pennypacker’s Clementine.)(I think those stories are the hardest to write because the success lies in the writing, emotion and character development – not the premise.) (Okay, I think any story is hard to write. And all stories need those elements.)

What about following my heart?

For me, being a writer is about being flexible.

  • It’s willing to give up a story idea that is nice and quiet.
  • Or it’s working with that nice story and making it bigger and more powerful.
  • Or it’s totally changing that story to something completely different but keeping the heart through theme.
  • It’s about giving up my vampire novel for something that isn’t quite so overdone.
  • It’s about staying within the market but not following trends.
  • It’s about changing the character who first popped into my head so he/she fits (or should I say doesn’t fit) the story better.

I think it’s possible to follow your heart, stay true to yourself, and write to get published. Be flexible. (Yeah, I’m still working on it all!)

Benefits of following screenwriting tricks:

  • Tight, well-structured plot
  • Great premise
  • High concept
  • Marketable
  • Active scenes
  • Stronger character arc

If you absolutely rebel at the idea of high concept and want to write your quiet but powerful literary novel then you must read this interview with agent Erin Murphy.

So what do you think? Agree or disagree with me? Thoughts? Who thinks we should just write the story and not think about high concept at all?

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