Sex!!!!

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  • Sex!!!!

    Now that I have your attention, how do you outline? This was briefly discussed in my 'plough on' thread but it deserves one of its own so here we are.

    Do you map out every little detail so that writing the script is just fleshing out each point? Do you just have your skeleton of inciting incident, act breaks, midpoint and a rough idea of what you wanna see along the way? Are you inbetween these two models - listing 10-15 major elements that just need expanding on but still leaves blanks that need to be filled? Or do you do something else altogether?

    Do you sit down and plan it out or do you mull things over whilst shopping, driving, ironing, writing down each aspect as and when it comes to you? Do you start your script once you've enough material - be it the opening or all of Act 1 figured out? Or do you wait until you have the whole thing outlined?

  • #2
    Re: Sex!!!!

    I've found diminishing returns with outlining. For me, the outline never survives the first round of writing. What makes sense in the outline rarely does once I start writing.

    The most success I've had is to have an idea - a concept, setting, characters - and to then start writing. And as I write I'm more imaginative in the directions the story can take, and things fall into place faster. Being in the midst of the story (rather than at a thousand-mile high view) makes it easier for me to see where it needs to go, strangely enough.

    It's only when I get stuck that I start outlining, and it's usually a diagram with a scene drawn inside a circle, then I draw lines out showing potential paths, follow them to their end, and start erasing as I hit dead ends.

    It's not how I wish I wrote, in some ways I wish I could outline an entire story before even starting to write. I've tried that, and it didn't work - once I start writing the outline stops becoming a guide and starts becoming an impediment to where the story wants to go. Because while writing, I may find a new path that totally screws up the outline, and I end up spending too much time trying to reconcile the two.

    In fact it's only when I'm done writing, after going down all the paths, that I know the characters, their motivations, their backstories, and their arcs.

    To each his own, I wouldn't necessarily recommend my style to anyone. It's a compromise between order and imagination, that I've found works best for me.

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    • #3
      Re: Sex!!!!

      "Plough on", "fleshing out each point", "what you wanna see along the way", "inbetween these two models", "need to be filled" !!!? Are you sure you're not talking sex?
      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

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      • #4
        Re: Sex!!!!

        Originally posted by Crayon View Post
        "Plough on", "fleshing out each point", "what you wanna see along the way", "inbetween these two models", "need to be filled" !!!? Are you sure you're not talking sex?
        So your fingers have been rubbing your head at my OP and it's very hard to figure out what I mean? Seems to me your current way of thinking is stiff and rigid. It's just a question - insert it deep inside, your mind, and see what stirs, what opens up, what joy it brings. You have to try new things and experiment, just like if you've had enough of doing it solo, do it with others, maybe even in a group. Or in a change of location, make use of the sunny weather or in your car if it's comfy enough. I get it, you think all this is quite a mouthful but just take it slow and speed up when you're ready. Once you start you often realise that was first difficult and unenjoyable is actually very pleasant and you wonder how you ever lived without doing it that way - resulting in that triumphant moment of the big finish.
        Last edited by SundownInRetreat; 06-20-2020, 10:27 AM.

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        • #5
          Re: Sex!!!!

          Originally posted by Anagram View Post
          I've found diminishing returns with outlining. For me, the outline never survives the first round of writing. What makes sense in the outline rarely does once I start writing......................To each his own, I wouldn't necessarily recommend my style to anyone. It's a compromise between order and imagination, that I've found works best for me.
          So how do you actually write? Once the outline is thrown out do you sit down to write and just hope for the best? This is my default - because my outlines are loose - consisting of the base skeleton, characters, arcs, CDA, several scenes - and it's annoying as I get in the mood to write and end up staring at a blank page for 2 hours and that's just time wasted.

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          • #6
            Re: Sex!!!!

            Originally posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
            Now that I have your attention...
            This is not fair. I actually dove in thinking it was a discussion about how, and how much, you wrote into sex scenes in your scripts. Lascivious or not, I thought this would be a useful discussion!

            Oh well, it's just another 'outlining' thread.

            Tell you what, I've been very busy and a mere passive reader here for a couple of months, so I'll post a topic under "Screenwriting" called MY OUTLINING TECHNIQUE in a few days. I couldn't have my 50+ scripts and keep organized, if I didn't do outlining.

            So keep posted. Monday afternoon, maybe.

            It'll be about my script Mission to Borroloola, a middling-quality, fairly derivative script on which I'm now doing its annual polish. Since I keep daily ZIP backups of every step, I will post my first day's outline, my last outline version (to see its progress, and before I write one word of screenplay), and I'll even post the script PDF for a comparison of the final result. Why not.

            That sound good?

            For a little more backgrounder, I'd posted the query/log on this one nearly a year ago: Mission to Borroloola - Action/Sci-Fi (semi-zombie type of story)

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            • #7
              Re: Sex!!!!

              If the scene calls for it, I write in lascivious detail. If it gets me hot then I know it's hot.

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              • #8
                Re: Sex!!!!

                Originally posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
                So how do you actually write? Once the outline is thrown out do you sit down to write and just hope for the best? This is my default - because my outlines are loose - consisting of the base skeleton, characters, arcs, CDA, several scenes - and it's annoying as I get in the mood to write and end up staring at a blank page for 2 hours and that's just time wasted.
                I’ll have an idea of what I’m working towards, generally the major beats, and I’ll start writing. In the process the beats and characters change as the story takes shape.

                I wouldn’t phrase it as hoping for the best. But I’ll write knowing most of this can change as ideas occur to me. For example, a turning point I realize in the third act will require setup, so I’ll go back and make sure it’s there. Or a setup in the first act needs to be paid off in the third act, and I’ll make a note of it.

                It’s not so much winging it, as it is starting at the beginning and then finding the most interesting next thing that could happen. I won’t know the whole story until I’ve reached the end, and because I didn’t tie it down to a rigid outline it tends to be more interesting than if I’d planned everything in advance.

                This is an interesting exercise because I don’t think I’ve ever consciously thought about how I write. Having to actually write this down has helped clarify it to myself - and hopefully I’ll be more productive as I stop trying to force my writing style into a ‘best practice’ that may legitimately be helpful to other writers, but isn’t the best way for me.

                Overthinking and over-planning (for me) seems to lead to analysis paralysis, and rather than agonizing over an outline, what works for me is diving into the writing and learning what the story wants to be.

                It’s not writing blind. I do have a concept, tone, rough characters and a general plan - it’s just I’m not tied to the beats and I expect them to change.

                Again, to each his own. This isn’t the best way, just what’s best for me. It’s why leaving a story for a few months, and losing that level of immersion, makes it harder for me to get back into it than it would for someone who has things more meticulously planned out. And it won’t work if I can’t on an intuitive level understand the ramifications that a change will make throughout the story.

                By the end I’ll have a fully fleshed outline, but it’s come together after I finished, rather than before I started.

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                • #9
                  Re: Sex!!!!

                  My outline style is pretty eclectic as it varies from script to script depending on what I'm doing with it.

                  Generally, I wing the first act, although I do tend to know what's going in there before I start.

                  I typically will have a second act outline before starting the first act, or after I finish it. Depends on the script.

                  My second act outline will have about 12 bullet points. Knowing how I write, if I put a scene into my outline, I expect that the scene, plus what minor story beats I surround it with will equal 5 pages on average. I never usually know what these minor beats are going to be until I write them.

                  Once I have that, I have a tendency to outline 10 pages at a time with 5 bullet points for beats, banking on the idea that it'll take me 2 pages on average to complete each beat, but since my average scene is 3/4 of a page long, I realize that I'm probably building in a level of cushion.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Sex!!!!

                    Originally posted by Anagram View Post
                    Overthinking and over-planning (for me) seems to lead to analysis paralysis, and rather than agonizing over an outline, what works for me is diving into the writing and learning what the story wants to be.

                    It’s not writing blind. I do have a concept, tone, rough characters and a general plan - it’s just I’m not tied to the beats and I expect them to change.
                    Sounds like me. I have the base skeleton of the plot points, characters, arcs, CDA etc and then dive in as I know my opening and inciting incident. Though I wish it wasn't my MO. as the down side is, later on, I can spend ages staring at a blank screen - which usually ends up in browsing the internet in increasingly long spells to the point where 2 hours go by and I've achieved nothing except anger at myself for wasting precious time. Even when I devote that time to just beating out a story - I find distractions easy to come by. Y'know, first to quickly check my emails, then a cup of tea, then to quickly check DDP etc and before you know it that quick DDP 'glance' turned into several posts and PMs - and so I end up achieving nothing. Hence this thread.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Outlining

                      Here's a great video about how pros outline. It answers the outlining question once and for all!!!

                      HTH,
                      Just my 2 cents, your mileage may vary.

                      -Steve Trautmann
                      3rd & Fairfax: The WGAW Podcast

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                      • #12
                        Re: Sex!!!!

                        That is a great video and now I want to find the full interviews. I love this stuff -- but of course these are the people who are the top of the field, so it's also the advice that is most distant from where I am now.

                        When I'm a pro famous writer -- I can't wait to give advice on my process and I will totally make stuff up just to see if newbie writers will do it.

                        Like "I always write Act One holding a duck... I guess it could be any bird, but I find the duck most soothing... and I type with one hand and feed the duck with the other..."

                        ---
                        This was my point in another thread -- all this stuff is interesting --- but most of the time we find our OWN PROCESS that works for us and it's set in stone early in our writing life.

                        ---
                        By the way outline and treatments -- people have different views on this.

                        To me when it comes up is when you need to write an outline/treatment for producer/rep and you HAVE TO DO IT. Most of the time this is required step from my experience.

                        So obviously if you get to a certain level, I guess they just let you hand in the script.

                        And on spec level we can do what we want if our reps let us.

                        But sometimes -- the business itself -- will demand you write it out and can't just wing it.
                        ---
                        For scripts I need at least a 2-4 page outline of major beats to know if I have the right story and enough for 90-110 pages.

                        I like 3 Acts. Midpoint. Try to find that "sad best before Act 3 begins -- dark night of the soul Save the Cat calls it"... Just flesh out the main beats / story and top 3-5 characters.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Sex!!!!

                          Originally posted by Bono View Post
                          For scripts I need at least a 2-4 page outline of major beats to know if I have the right story and enough for 90-110.
                          Care to share? I'm intrigued how detailed your outline is in order to generate that many pages (and I know that's a lot less than many writers).

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                          • #14
                            Re: Sex!!!!

                            Everybody outlines whether they do it consciously or subconsciously. You are in a discovery process during the life of the script. I guess it all depends what is meant by outlining. Do you have to be sitting in a chair at the laptop trying to write down scenes in sequential order? Sometimes I'm in the car or shower and things come to me, I think that's outlining too.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Sex!!!!

                              Originally posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
                              Care to share? I'm intrigued how detailed your outline is in order to generate that many pages (and I know that's a lot less than many writers).
                              Well my current spec I wrote a 15 page treatment. But it started as 6 pager. I'm one of those people that combine outline and treatment -- they mean the same to me often when talking to people however let me think about it and show you how they are different.

                              We should find examples from work that everyone can get not just my personal stash. Let me look.

                              I used to watch movies I wanted to copy structure of and I'd just write down every scene I saw on screen. So to me that would be an outline.

                              OUTLINE

                              1. Joe wakes up
                              2. Joe takes a shower
                              3. Joe drives to work

                              TREATMENT

                              Joe Mann wakes up in his messy apartment -- typical college age guy. Wait, he's actually 45 and not 25 -- what a slob. He stumbles out of bed and steps on leftovers from last night. "Fuuck." Joe takes a shower and still has leftover lo mein on his leg. "This day already sucks." As Joe drives to work, he tries to find something good to listen to on the radio, but all he finds is commercials. He listens to one. "Are you lost, do you need help?" Joe answer backs. "who isn't? Radio, "Then you need to buy some of our focus pills. It will focus you and make your life better. Call now 555-7688 or go to our website focuspills.com!!!" Joe finally gets to work and now the radio is playing his favorite song. "Of course. Always when I get to work. FML" Joe gets out and we see he works at a fast food joint with teenagers.
                              Last edited by Bono; 06-21-2020, 04:59 PM.

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