Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Ready, Set, Nano!!

by Alexandra Sokoloff

It's here - the big day. Big month. Big everything.

The queen of suspense, Mary Higgins Clark, said about first drafts:

Writing a first draft is like clawing my way through a mountain of concrete with my bare hands.

Isn't that the truth?

Well, the point of Nano is to write so fast that you - sometimes - forget that your hands are dripping blood. It's a stellar way of turning off your censor (we all have one of those little suckers) and just get those pages out.

I'll be posting Nano prompts throughout the month, but here's a list of helpful hints if you find yourself stuck.


1. Keep moving forward – DO NOT go back and endlessly revise your first chapters. You may end up throwing them out anyway. Just move forward. If you’re stuck on a scene, just write down vaguely what might happen in it or where it might happen as a place marker and move on to a scene you know better. The first draft can be just a sketch – the important thing is to get it all down, from beginning to end. Then you can start to layer in all the other stuff.

2. Keep the story elements checklist close at hand for easy reference.

     - Story Elements Checklist for Generating Index Cards

Or if you prefer the elements in a narrative:

     - Narrative Structure Cheat Sheet


3. Review the elements of the act you're stuck on.


     - Elements of Act One

     - Elements of Act Two, Part 1

     - Elements of Act Two, Part 2

     - Elements of Act Three

     - What Makes A Great Climax?

     - Elevate Your Ending

     - Creating Character


4. As you're writing, you will find out more about your story. Write the premise again, and make sure you have identified and understand the Plan and Central Story Action.

     - Plan, Central Question, Central Story Action

     - What's the Plan?

     - Plan, Central Question, Central Story Action, part 2


5. When you’re stuck - make a list.

     - Stuck? Make A List.

6. Do word lists of visual and thematic elements for your story to build your image systems. Start a collage book or online clip file of images if that appeals to you.

     - Thematic Image Systems


7. Remember that the first draft is always going to suck.

     - Your First Draft Is Always Going To Suck


8. You can always watch movies and do breakdowns to inspire you and break you through a block.

Good luck, everyone - and feel free to stop in and gripe!

     - Alex

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All the information on this blog and more, including full story structure breakdowns of various movies, is available in my Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workbooks.  e format, just $3.99 and $2.99; print 13.99.


                                           STEALING HOLLYWOOD

This new workbook updates all the text in the first Screenwriting Tricks for Authors ebook with all the many tricks I’ve learned over my last few years of writing and teaching—and doubles the material of the first book, as well as adding six more full story breakdowns.

 


STEALING HOLLYWOOD ebook    $3.99
STEALING HOLLYWOOD US print  $14.99
STEALING HOLLYWOOD print, all countries 








WRITING LOVE

Writing Love is a shorter version of the workbook, using examples from love stories, romantic suspense, and romantic comedy - available in e formats for just $2.99.


Smashwords (includes online viewing and pdf file)

Amazon/Kindle

Barnes & Noble/Nook

Amazon UK

Amazon DE


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You can also sign up to get free movie breakdowns here:

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