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Scriptwriting tips September

Here’s a selection of the best posts on Scriptwriting Tips during the month of September:

380: Actually spell out what will happen if your ticking clock runs out. Does it just stop ticking? Or is it attached to a metaphorical bomb that blows up everything your protagonist’s worked for?

381: A protagonist who succeeds because of her wits is usually much more likeable than one who succeeds through brute force, good looks or dumb luck.

386: Don’t leave your protagonist alone to think about things. Cut any scene where he looks through a file or figures out a code. BLADE RUNNER may be brilliant, but those scenes of Deckard hanging out in his apartment are pacing death.

389: If you possess some sort of special knowledge of a subject — architecture, French cooking, criminal law, whatever — by all means, work it into your script. Expertise is interesting.

391: Stop trying to write ‘exciting’ fight scenes. Throw out your adverbs and just write as clearly as you possibly can — one thing happening after another. Lucky for you, that happens to be the most exciting way to write action.

402: ‘Mysterious’ characters are usually boring as hell, especially if they only speak in vague generalities and only show up when all the work/action is over. Remember: characters are what they do, not what they say.

403: You can cut entire useless scenes and shift their information into the start of the next scene. For example: instead of showing your protagonist working through the night, have her turn up bleary-eyed the next morning.

406: Don’t over-describe. You can do massive crowd scenes, parties, elaborate locations, etc. all in a few simple lines. Save those lashings of descriptive prose for spaces that reveal character, e.g. your protagonist’s bedroom.

408: Your antagonist has to be the guy we love to hate. The simplest actions — putting a bullet into a foe who’s already down, picking on the most vulnerable kid in class just for the hell of it — can be enough to earn our hate.

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