Bier de Stone (blanketsin.com) wrote,
Bier de Stone
blanketsin.com

Index Cards, and devoting your creativity to structure outline

As screenwriting how-to sites go, the endless tips and samples obtained can be discouraging as your manuscript continue to go nowhere. Oddly enough, the dispiriting affect of hearing the same thing site after site while you, as writer, adopts such theories come to the realization that more time is being spent surfing the web for screenwriting advice that deter your focus in the wrong way for the scene/sequence you're trying to hack out. I'm a fan of the Save the cat series because of the detailed explanation of each page of a screenplay manuscript:

  1. Opening Image (1)
  2. Set-up (1-5)
  3. Theme Stated (5)
  4. Catalyst (12)
  5. Debate (12-25)
  6. Break Into Two (25)
  7. B-Story (30)
  8. Fun and Games (30-55)
  9. Midpoint (55)
  10. Bad Guys Close In (55-75)
  11. All is Lost (75)
  12. Dark Night of the Soul (75-85)
  13. Break Into Three (85)
  14. Finale (85-110)
  15. Final Image (110)


Because I've been using a manual typewriter to hash out my scenes, my writing style is less structural and more impulsive. Like the popular social media sites that sponsor Vloggers for short, funny anecdotes, when I find myself visualizing a scene, I approach writing by describing my ideas into action/descriptive narration and dialog. I write this because I like the way it looks on paper. It may be easier to do on screenwriting software, but I like to share my ideas with like-minded writers and I decided long ago that html-ing my original scenes was an impossible task (although I may be wrong as the <pre> tag seems to do the trick with .pdf file outputs.)

As it goes with my learning process, hands-on practice and repetition is the only way things stick. Now it's time to move on from the beginner's screenplay format obstacle of scene headers, descriptive writing, capitalizations and indentations to outlining. While this may sound backwards, it works for maintaining my interest in screenwriting rather than story writing. As it happens, even screenplays possess some characteristics of plot and story so I decided to look up Index Cards and I found a short explanation from Go into the story.

Screenwriting Tip: Index Cards | by Scott Myers | Go Into The Story



BTW you will notice many writers use different color cards. Typically that%u2019s about tracking various subplots: White for the Plotline, blue for this subplot, yellow for that subplot, and so on. This is helpful because you can visually tell how you are cross-cutting between storylines which can help in terms of pace, transitions, etc.

I know some of you will chime in and suggest a variety of software programs that replicate index cards. And if that works for you, fine. But at the risk of sounding like an old farting Luddite, allow me to praise the simple 3x5" index card.


Everybody's heard of the blog Go into the story. The page–by–page breakdown, as published in the Blake Snyder books, is just a reminder of how far I tried to get in my own original screenplay before I decided to stop and focus on outlining this project. When I'm done decorating my wall with color–coded cards, I plan to finalize #tmtwngm project with effective dialog and character development.𓅱
Tags: #tmtwngm, index card, plot, screenwriting, writing
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