How important is voice in screenwriting?

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #76
    Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

    Originally posted by Centos View Post
    I really don't have time to waste arguing with a crank. I'm fed up with everything I write being taken out of context by you. I basically agreed with from the beginning (moderation).
    Oh my.

    Centos, I took nothing out of context. Did you, or did you not say writers who follow the Guru’s DO NOT’s list by the “letter of the law" -– "results in stilted, horribly mangled writing”?

    I took offense to this statement. Why? Look at my opening page of my script in post #56. You’ll notice that you won’t find one “we see,” adverb, camera angle, present progressive tense form, etc. There are verbals, but this isn’t on a Guru’s DO NOT’s list. I do not believe my writing would be considered “stilted, horribly mangled writing.”

    Am I following a Guru’s DO NOT’s list purposely? No, this is just how I write and just like Jeff presented scripts that advanced in screenwriting contests that do use elements on a Guru’s DO NOT’s list, my scripts that don’t use elements, well, very rarely, on a Guru’s DO NOT’s list have all advanced in a screenwriting contest.

    Centos, you say, “…we pretty agreed that the ‘never dos’ were basically good advice when not taken to the extreme.” Also, you say it’s use is okay in “moderation.” This is not the point I’ve been trying to get across to you.

    My point is if a writer wishes to use the Guru’s DO NOT’s list -- to the extreme -- it’s okay. It’s their personal taste and style and if they are truly a writer, then their work isn’t going to be “stilted, horribly mangled writing,” which I’ve demonstrated with my opening page of a script that I’m working on and the fact that my scripts have advanced in contests against 4,000 and more of my peers.

    Comment


    • #77
      Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

      Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
      God help me, I know the voices of half the posters on this thread.
      Repetition does help with that, which I apologize to the members, but this Guru's DO NOT's list thingy has been going on with me and Centos for years and I wanted to make my point clear.

      Comment


      • #78
        Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

        Rule 1. Your voice should be clear.

        Comment


        • #79
          Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

          Originally posted by JoeNYC View Post
          Repetition does help with that, which I apologize to the members, but this Guru's DO NOT's list thingy has been going on with me and Centos for years and I wanted to make my point clear.
          Funny thing is, not being a crank, I don't even remember arguing with you about this, except in this thread. I don't – normally – take these things personally.

          Anyhow (as usual) another thread has strayed far from the OP's original question. (Yes, voice is important. No, don't listen to "never do" – emphasis on never do – gurus.) Maybe time to ask another question in different thread.
          STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I'm a wannabe, take whatever I write with a huge grain of salt.

          Comment


          • #80
            Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

            Originally posted by JoeNYC View Post
            Now, you say following a Guru's DO NOT list the writing will be stiff and boring. I didn't follow a Guru's DO NOT list, but it did naturally evolve to mostly what a Guru's primary point was about that DO NOT list: Write in present tense. My writing mostly follows what's on the Guru's list, though there are exceptions, where it'll be effective for me to use present progressive tense form, technical jargon, etc. and I don't believe my writing is pedestrian because of it. I may be wrong.

            I'm going to post the opening page of a script I'm presently working on and you tell me if by following what's on a Guru's DO NOT list, did it hurt my writing.

            Code:
            SCROLL OVER BLACK SCREEN:
            
            A miscalculation made by the United
            States of America escalated into 
            Thermonuclear World War III. After 
            all sides were so devastated that 
            they could no longer wage war, 
            billions of the world's population 
            were killed from direct hits, 
            injuries, radiation, disease, and 
            starvation... modern civilization 
            was blasted back hundreds of years.
             
            FADE IN:
            
            MAISY FINNEGAN (5), clothed in animal skins, walks along 
            blueberry bushes with a weaved basket and picks berries.
            
            SUPER:
             
            "25 YEARS LATER. RURAL SOUTH CAROLINA. 65 MILES INLAND     
            FROM THE ATLANTIC OCEAN.-
            
            Maisy spots a cottontail rabbit hoping along. The rabbit 
            stops and nibbles on grass. Maisy crouches and stares. The 
            rabbit pops its head up and twitches its nose, smelling 
            scents in the air. Maisy's eyes light up and she smiles.
              
            A hissing sound whizzes by Maisy's head. 
            
            An arrow strikes the rabbit in the heart. The rabbit flops 
            over, dead.
             
            Maisy's face goes blank. No expression of shock or fear. Its 
            an expression of accustomed. Like she knows this is the way 
            of life.
               
            EMILY FINNEGAN (24), quiver of arrows strapped to her back 
            and clutching a bow, squats down beside Maisy.
              
            EMILY
            He didn't suffer, Maisy.
            
            Emily rises and collects her kill.
            Unfortunately Joe, in my opinion, this is kind of stiff and boring. Too many short sentences, not enough pronouns. The short sentences are grating. Maisy... The rabbit... Maisy... The rabbit... Maisy... I doubt that I could take too many pages of this.

            I'm pretty sure the Maisy of 25 years later should be introduced as another character. I try not to do this much anymore, but I rewrote a little as an example of what I mean. (I realize that a lot of this is just personal preference.)

            Code:
            MAISY FINNEGAN, now thirty, spots a cottontail rabbit,
            she crouches and stares. It stops and nibbles on grass,
            then pops it head up. Twitching its nose, it smells
            scents in the air. Her eyes light up and she smiles.
             
            A hissing sound whizzes by her head and the arrow strikes
            the rabbit in the heart.
            
            It flops over, dead.
            Once again, this is my opinion, a worse problem is that it's not visual. Three images stick in my head -- "she smiles", "her face goes blank" and a "rabbit flops over dead".

            What I don't see is where they are and I don't see the characters. In the first scene, I see a generic girl (5) in animal skins, berry bushes, a basket and maybe fog or nothingness.

            25 years later, Maisy, (30), isn't introduced -- so basically a generic thirty year-old woman, who likes to watch rabbits (and maybe eats them, regularly?). In fact the location description is slight of hand. Rural South Carolina -- 65 miles inland, from the Atlantic coast.

            I've seen pictures of the South Carolina coast. I have no idea what 65 miles inland looks like. So what I see is the coast, that's 65 miles away.

            Emily is another generic woman, who is a good shot with a bow and I'm guessing, from the same last name, and approximate age, probably Maisy's little sister.

            For the third time -- this is my opinion -- take it with a grain of salt. But this style of writing is too stilted to show your real voice.
            "I just couldn't live in a world without me."

            Comment


            • #81
              Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

              A writer to admire whose writing voice put catchphrases in the American lexicon:

              “Tom Wolfe, Best-Selling Author And Genre-Breaking Journalist Dies At 88”.
              Last edited by TigerFang; 05-16-2018, 06:00 AM. Reason: Brevity
              "Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.- - Ray Bradbury

              Comment


              • #82
                Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

                [QUOTE=StoryWriter;956118]Unfortunately Joe, in my opinion, this is kind of stiff and boring. Too many short sentences, not enough pronouns. The short sentences are grating. Maisy... The rabbit... Maisy... The rabbit... Maisy... I doubt that I could take too many pages of this.

                I'm pretty sure the Maisy of 25 years later should be introduced as another character. MAISY FINNEGAN, now thirty, spots a cottontail rabbit,
                she crouches and stares. It stops and nibbles on grass,
                then pops it head up. Twitching its nose, it smells
                scents in the air. Her eyes light up and she smiles.[/code]

                -- Okay, thank you for your opinion.

                Comment


                • #83
                  Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

                  I didn't find it boring. I took "25 years later" to mean 25 years after World War III knocked everything back to the Stone Age, not that 5-year-old Maisy has now aged to 30.
                  Results posted for the Halloween 2020 contest
                  in Writing Exercises forum

                  Comment


                  • #84
                    Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

                    Voice is clearly not a singular variable -- it's compound; a sum total; a multiplication of many variables. And that means voice is somewhat intangible, and it cannot be addressed directly as a whole -- a writer can only address the component parts of their voice.

                    Yet how can we evaluate the importance of voice when it doesn't even have a proper definition in regard to writing? (Except voice as active/passive for verbs.) Surely we need a definition of voice for our particular purpose?

                    In the absence of that, here's one of those reverse-engineered acronym things, which are always so totally awesome:

                    V A L U E S
                    O P I N I O N S
                    I M A G I N A T I O N
                    C H O I C E S
                    E X E C U T I O N
                    Know this: I'm a lazy amateur, so trust not a word what I write.
                    "The ugly can be beautiful. The pretty, never." ~ Oscar Wilde

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

                      Originally posted by Crayon View Post
                      Yet how can we evaluate the importance of voice when it doesn't even have a proper definition in regard to writing? (Except voice as active/passive for verbs.) Surely we need a definition of voice for our particular purpose?

                      In the absence of that, here's one of those reverse-engineered acronym things, which are always so totally awesome:

                      V A L U E S
                      O P I N I O N S
                      I M A G I N A T I O N
                      C H O I C E S
                      E X E C U T I O N

                      Things in your writing that make US FEEL YOUR STORY is your voice. Your values, opinions, imagination, choices, excution, even your feelings are important only when they stimulate my feelings, making me eager to read on.

                      Writer's Voice is important because that is how we convey our stories. Without some kind of voice, your story will be nothing but a set of instructions, a dry computer program.

                      Comment


                      • #86
                        Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

                        Originally posted by jonpiper View Post
                        Writer's Voice is important because that is how we convey our stories. Without some kind of voice, your story will be nothing but a set of instructions, a dry computer program.
                        I still think the best word to describe voice was used in another thread. Confidence. Maybe add another "c-word," competence, to the mix. It's not a mechanical thing, it can't be reduced to a formula. It's a talent thing, it's built in. You can shunt your talent with mechanical formulas but you can't build talent from "paint-by-number" mechanical formulas.
                        STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I'm a wannabe, take whatever I write with a huge grain of salt.

                        Comment


                        • #87
                          Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

                          Could screenwriting “voice” be called “texture?” Or is it the omniscient, omnipresent-yet-unseen foremost character of any screenplay, from the beginning, one both detached and yet also involved, one that continually roves from storytelling to dialogue and back again until story's end?
                          Last edited by TigerFang; 05-25-2018, 05:06 AM.
                          "Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.- - Ray Bradbury

                          Comment


                          • #88
                            Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

                            Centos, confidence and competence will allow you to develop your voice and to put your voice on the page, but imho confidence and competence are not voice.

                            Voice is the way you put words on the page. Voice is the vocabulary, sentence structure, dialogue, story structure, etc. you choose to put on the page. Your voice is ultimately what we, readers, feel in the action, description, and dialogue you include in your story. Your voice is how you express yourself on the page.

                            TigerFang, I am not sure what you mean by calling voice “texture” or “the omniscient, omnipresent yet unseen foremost character of any screenplay…”

                            I, myself, cannot clearly define screenwriter’s voice, because voice is a combination ingredients. Others have listed ingredients that are included in voice. Voice is how we put our words on the page, just as a singer’s voice is how he or she expresses the lyrics of a song.

                            You could say that voice gives your story a distinct flavor, if that makes sense. No two stories have the same ingredients. No two stories by two different writers will have the same effect on readers, just as no two dishes by two different cheft’s will have the same effect on pallets. Is that because of the chefts’ different voices? Or is that because tasters have different pallets?

                            Your Voice is what arouses your readers feelings. Your writer’s voice arouses feelings, just as a singer’s voice arouses feelings.

                            As we develop our voices, I think we should be concerned with both the ingredients of voice and the affect of our voice.


                            How do we determine the affect of our voice?

                            Comment


                            • #89
                              Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

                              Originally posted by jonpiper View Post
                              Centos, confidence and competence will allow you to develop your voice and to put your voice on the page, but imho confidence and competence are not voice.

                              Voice is the way you put words on the page. Voice is the vocabulary, sentence structure, dialogue, story structure, etc. you choose to put on the page. Your voice is ultimately what we, readers, feel in the action, description, and dialogue you include in your story. Your voice is how you express yourself on the page.

                              I see what you're saying. I guess what I meant is that voice is a natural part of writing. It's something that can't be reduced to a formula. It comes naturally with confidence and competence.
                              STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I'm a wannabe, take whatever I write with a huge grain of salt.

                              Comment


                              • #90
                                Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

                                Originally posted by Centos View Post
                                I see what you're saying. I guess what I meant is that voice is a natural part of writing. It's something that can't be reduced to a formula. It comes naturally with confidence and competence.
                                Hey, Centos. Now I understand what you meant.

                                To expand on what you wrote, not only is voice a natural part of writing, we each have a natural voice that can be developed. We develop our voice naturally when we write with confidence. The more we read and write with confidence, the more competent we become and the more our voice develops.

                                Confidence allows us to experiment with different voices, to expand our natural voice, to discover different ways to use our voice,

                                and to discover how our voice is perceived by others. For example, does my voice sound like someone who knows what he's talking about or does it sound like I am full of it?

                                Comment

                                Working...
                                X