I would categorize myself as a novelist, first and foremost. I have written short stories (which will be detailed in another post) that have entertained and amused me…for a short while. Although my passion lies in the complexities of a deeply involved story (or more specifically, a series) I don’t shy away from trying my words at another venue. For a class, I even investigated poetry. If a short story was too compact for my over-active imagination, I should have known poetry would not satisfy my need to create a narrative.
Recently, however, I have dabbled in the art of screenplays. I’m finding it especially difficult to subdue my creative urge throughout this journey and yet I keep reminding myself that mimicry is the best form of flattery. I have been so taken by the clever humor of How I Met Your Mother that I decided to base my speculative script on it.
Although my current fiction series has plenty of dialogue, the skills I have acquired from years of novel practice needed to be adjusted to work correctly in the white-spaced frame of a script. The dialogue laden script has forced me to keep my descriptions succinct while focusing on the verbal interactions of characters. Admittedly the project isn’t too strenuous because it is a speculative version of Monday night’s greatest comedy, but nevertheless, it is taking careful focus to replicate the characters believably in an entertaining situation.
Seems simple enough. So, what is driving me over the edge? Formatting. Every piece of the script requires different margins and annotations. I wish it would be as straightforward as novel writing where the author can essentially create his or her own format, similar to how one might create a meal. A little of this, some of that, but nothing too strict. No, it’s more like baking where the recipe must be adhered to exactly or something will go awry.
Mimicking the tone of the show provides great practice. After all, writers have to stay on their toes and keep practicing like a visual artist might (as I have previously stated) to encourage the perfection of their talent. Playing all the options and styles gives the practiced writer a distinct advantage. So dearest writers- keep practicing.