Sunday, August 2, 2009

Screenwriting techniques

I'm applying screenwriting techniques to my new novel-in-progress. It's an interesting process. The technique involves writing the story in Three Acts. I have developed the inciting incident early in Act I. This incident forces the main character to make a decision. The decision that comes at the end of Act I changes the direction of the story.

Act I in my new novel covers the first five chapters. I have reached this point in the writing. Next comes the middle section--Act II. For me, this is the hardest part to write. I know where I'm going, but I must not make it easy to get there. I will create barriers so that the main character doesn't get what she wants without a struggle.

To create interest, I will need a combination of scenes of tension and of relaxation. Just when things are looking good, bad things will happen, until finally the crisis comes that ends Act II. I don't know yet what this will be, only that reaching her goal has now become more dangerous for the main character.

The last three chapters of the novel will make up Act III. This is where the climax of the story comes. Afterwards, the story should end as quickly as possible. I know from experience that any subplots in the story must be concluded before the climax and, of course, the cardinal rule: Never take the climax out of the hands of the main character.

Write on!


Willow said...

I've used screenwriting techniques in my novel-writing too. One thing that really helped me was the idea of sequences: thinking of each of the scenes as leading to the climax of the sequence, then a drop in tension as you begin the next sequence (or act).
I'm really enjoying your blog--great entries!

Peggy Dymond Leavey said...

Thank you for letting me know you're enjoying my blog, Willow. Sometimes it feels as if I'm writing it for myself, so I'm glad to know you're out there. Lovely to meet you!

Willow said...

Nice to meet you, too. Re blogging, if anyone is reading mine, they're keeping it a deep, dark secret!