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  • "It"

    Why can´t everyone become a good writer? Everyone have experiences that are unique and a lot of people want to talk about it or write it down in a diary or in a song lyric or screenplay etc. I hear things that contradict each other. Some say you can be a good writer if you just practice and some say that you must be born a certain way or in some way have the right abilities, and talent. Some start of with more talent than others and some have a tougher way but if you start to write a screenplay you are learning more and more and you become better with getting in touch with what you have inside of you, your knowledge about structure improves, and your s*it detector becomes better. I´m just curious to know what skills there are that you must be born with and that you can´t improve if you are a normal mortal. I´m not sure what I am in these aspects but I love reading and writing screenplays (even though I just got started). One thing I learned while learning how to play the guitar is that if you put in your time and practice the right way you will become a good player. I can´t say I´m afraid that I don´t have "it" when it comes to screenwriting because I don´t know what that "it" is. Until someone proves me wrong I will believe that anyone who just like writing and put in a lot of time and effort can become good at what they do. I could be wrong so prove me.

  • #2
    I'll tell yah somethin', amigo. There isn't a person here who can honestly answer that question for you. If they could we could all evaluate ourselves on some sliding scale and determine that we either have it, or don't. Different backgrounds, educations, preferences in topics, emotional experiences, attitudes, sh!t man, you name it... All of it and more combine to make a writer.

    Whether they combine to make a "good" writer or "great" writer is up to the writer themself. When you played guitar you say you practiced a lot. You took some lessons, learned some notes, played some songs. But I bet you have a ways to go before you're playing the half time show. I play guitar myself, even played in a band... but I never made any money at it. You have to look at writing the same way.

    Can simply being alive and having experiences be useful? Sure everyone has a different level of expertise that they develop in dealing with this thing called life. Maybe their Mom died, their uncle was hooked on drugs, they were beaten as a child, they had to fight to get where they are, the list goes on. Does this make a writer? No. Writing makes a writer. Do these things help? Yes. Believe it or not a writer is in the worst, yet the best, profession imaginable. The worse his past is the better his writing is. In my opinion anyway.

    The more horrible sh!t that can possibly happen to you, the more stuff that really drives you into the ground and makes you feel like ALL IS LOST, the better you're are going to be able to write characters with an extreme depth of emotion. Because you'll truly understand what that emotion's like. I'm a firm believer that if you've never really experienced feelings of hopelessness, of desperation, you won't be able to elicit the same gutteral emptyness in an audience. I'm not saying run out and get hooked on heroin, hit rock bottom, climb back out and you'll understand what it likes to have life suck. Life'll kick the sh!t outta yah without having to go looking for it.

    Just pay attention to the pain you do experience. Breaking up with a girlfriend. Getting fired. Financial difficulties. Get in tune with everything that makes you feel anything. Don't rush out and buy a notebook and write down how it feels every time you get pissed off in traffic. But understanding YOUR feelings are going to go along way to creating the same ones in others. Emotional writing can be learned, but it can't be conveyed the same way as person who's lived emotion can.

    What else makes a good writer besides going to hell and back? Work. Write all the time. Or think about writing all the time. There's a ton of people around who lay on the couch and when someone says, "Hey, cut the lawn." The reply is, "Can't I'm writing. I'm thinkin' about stuff." While an argument could be made that the Cheeto covered individual in question is, in deed, thinkin' about writing... He certainly isn't doing it. So be prepared to work just as hard at writing as you would at any guitar, or piano. More than you would at any job you've ever had.

    Next. Books, articles, newspapers, scripts, posts, the fvckin' back of the cereal box, I don't care but read everything you can get your hands on. If your not writing you should be doing at least that much. The more you read novels, scripts, history, etc. the more you actually fill in the gaps of not having a real life. That is, if you don't have a real life. And if you do, get rid of it now. You'll find that you'll be having a fantastic time with the kids, the wife, gf, whoever and all of a sudden you will get an urge to write so strong that you'll cancel dinner, the movies, everything just to go do it. It's a drug, man. A dangerous one. I sh!t you not when I say families have broken apart over it. Not mine. But I know of one or two.

    I'm not out to prove you wrong. Because in reality, I wouldn't want to do anything else. Writing is an emotional roller coaster. A neurotransmatic adventure that gets you off. There's nothing more satisfying then plot points coming together, or characters that YOU created making you laugh. And even cry. I don't think theres anything more rewarding in life, except maybe saving or caring for someone elses, that even compares.

    Welcome aboard.


    • #3
      It's like the FORCE - you need another Jedi to tell you...

      Oh wait...didn't Lucas come up with a blood-test instead?


      • #4
        Writing is easy if you have something to say, but it's not always the best writers that become successful. Desire, determination and hard work have a lot to do with it.


        • #5
          This remarkable column includes what I consider to be the best description of the qualities a writer must have (if you're brave enough to read that far):




          • #6
            Desire, determination and hard work have a lot to do with it.
            Plus time, time and more time...


            • #7

              'it' is a talent. if you don't have it you're beating your head against a wall. this gives rise to a question: why try to become a screenwriter if you're not cut out for it? and, so many do. i don't get it. so many jump through hoops trying to convince themselves they are meant to be a screenwriter.

              i'm no good at math, but i could force myself to become a mediocre mathematician. but, why? why would i do that? don't know

              the reason everyone can't be a good writer because not everyone has the talent for writing. everyone has a talent for something, but not for writing - not everyone.

              you could ask: why can't everyone be a good classical pianist? same thing but dumber sounding question. screenwriting has the unique distinction of being something that people aspire to when they don't have the talent for it and, worse, are not willing to work for it. this is the damnedest thing. could you imagine some schmuck wondering why he wasn't a world-class pianist when he doesn't have the talent for it and is not willing to practice, get accepted to a conservatory of music, work 2-6 hours every day for several years... could you imagine someone seriously posing such a dumb ass question? people do - but only for screenwriting - damnedest thing

              'it' is a talent thing. you simply cannot invent talent. you can't conjure 'it' up out of nothing. you're either born with 'it' or you are not



              • #8
                I recently attended an education conference, and the hot topic in education these days is brain research, and how the brain actually learns.

                What it all comes down to is this: you learn by trying, and anyone can learn anything, given enough time and effort and trying. Now, for some people, the amount of time and the effort they have to put into learning something exceeds their available lifespan. For others, the process is relatively quick and easy.

                In other words, anyone can write a good screenplay if they try hard for long enough. For some people, they will be able to do it after a few months of steady effort. For others, it may take a couple hundred years.

                How long will it take you? Try it, and find out.


                • #9
                  AD those are some smart words. Kojled I have to agree with you too.

                  Tomaz you must be born with a certain degree of talent in order to make it as a writer. If you want to make a good living than you have to be born with alot.

                  Now if you worked really hard and studied the craft then you can certainly approve your skills. But this could take many many years.

                  Anyways I have given you alot of good advice and some which you completely ignored. I will give you one more piece of advice.

                  This is the advice:

                  To be a great screenwriter you MUST be an exceptional Story teller. This is what people refer to as talent but talent without study is a waste. You NEED to study the theory of Story. You cannot be an effective story teller if you do not understand conventions and genres.

                  Believe it or not the above is the easy part. Most people can do the above but below is where 9 out of 10 people will fail.

                  Now take all that knowledge and move it from your head to your heart. Always right with your heart.

                  That's it. If you can do this then you my friend will be among the surviving few.


                  • #10
                    Kullervo: That column scared the s*it out of me at first.

                    Desmas, I haven´t ignored you advice. I try to take in everything I read.

                    And whats an exceptional storyteller then? How does it show that you have that gift? This subject seems so heavy. If I not long ago got interested in screenwriting and telling stories doesn´t I have the talent? Should I give up? I always felt that I wanted to express myself through words and I wrote lyrics a long time and still do. I was never encouraged to anything except sports so I didn´t do anything artistic in my childhood. I had a pretty lousy education and have some experience (a lot more bad than good). I love learning about screenwriting and I feel that I´ve made progress after reading screenplays and after writing. I just began with my first script and I couldn´t write anything, I felt as blank as the notebook in front of me, but now I´ve had two days of good writing. And I try to use almost all of my time to read and write. I´ve skipped school to be home and actually learning something. It feels good but this talent thing scares me. Man, I´m almost 20 and I don´t want to work in a supermarket and I don´t have any other education than the media class I´m in (which is not much by the way). I´m far from Hollywood (Sweden) and have no intentions of going there and I think my chances of selling something is a litter better here. I consider myself to have a quite good taste and I think that I´m one of the most hard working screenwriters around here . I never got good grades because I hated school, teachers,and myself but some of the better teachers always told me that they saw that I had ability to get good grades but I was never around (I feel this way too). I´m not bragging about myself I´m just telling you that this is what I feel I am from the bottom of my heart. I can tell that some screenwriters I´ve met here will never ever be good at writing scripts and I look at myself and feel that I´m "above" them. I´m just being honest. I feel that I am a screenwriter because it interests me the most of everything I´ve ever done. But on the other hand I was never the one who told stories around the bonfire or wrote excellent short stories in school. Perhaps I wasn´t born to be a storyteller but I feel I am. But then again my brain would stop me from admitting that I don´t have talent. I don´t know I feel confused. I will at least finish my first script and see if there are people who like my story and then perhaps I will consider more if this game is for me or not. I really appreciate the posts to my threads that have given me a lot of insight. I apologize for my bad grammar and use of words and thank god that there is a spell checker function.


                    • #11
                      If you have to ask if you have "it" or what "it" is, then chances are you don't got "it".

                      (someone had to say it)


                      • #12
                        I know Pipe but I feel that I have it, I´m just not sure if I do just like I´m not sure about a lot of things. Who would admit that he doesn´t have what I takes to be good at what he loves. It´s like watching Idol. Some people reaaaaaally sing awful and when they are told they do they defend themselves. What if I´m one of them..


                        • #13
                          We all have doubt. Everyday. No really, did you read that? We all have doubt. Everyone. It's how you deal with it that sets you apart.


                          • #14
                            What do you mean with "It's how you deal with it that sets you apart."


                            • #15
                              He means if you doubt push yourself harder, get more opinions, keep trudging ahead. Because it's easy to come up with a reason to quit. There's tons of them.

                              But really only one to keep going. You know you can.