Sometimes we, as people and writers, get lazy. It’s only natural. Life can be tough. Writing scripts can be hard. Please.. my heart bleeds. It’s time to take responsibility for your creative choices or lack thereof. This laziness normally comes hand in hand with familiarity. As soon as we become comfortable with the creative writing process, our screenwriter’s voice and all of the tricks, devices and structural paradigms that are involved, we tend to stick to what we know and settle for the easy option.
The good thing about being an experienced writer is that you can normally write your scripts a lot faster than when you first started but both novice writers and pros still make the same mistake, for different reasons, by making obvious choices in their dialogue, characterization and plot construction. And writing scripts quickly isn’t necessarily a positive thing. Sometimes it’s good to chew over your narrative and really think about what you’ve written.
So with that in mind, from now on, I want to make sure you force yourself to be innovative. Okay, so apparently every story has already been told but don’t let that stop you from trying to add something new to the mix. When you reach the next major plot twist or turn take a moment to brainstorm as many alternatives as possible, however crazy they may sound. Don’t settle for clichés or tried-and-tested solutions. Turn your original idea for the beginning or ending of a scene 180 degrees just to see where it takes you. It may lead you nowhere or it may give you a great idea for another scene. The point is that you won’t know without trying.
And the same goes for character development, talking heads and choice of locations. Always go that extra mile by building unique characters that sparkle, situations and dialogue that engage us and worlds we would love to escape to. Don’t always settle for choosing an obvious character flaw for your protagonist, dig deeper. Don’t always settle for the first witty retort that pops into your head because there may be a better one.
I’m not saying analyze every single creative choice you make as you write because that would naturally stunt your creative flow but in the moments following your stream of consciousness onto the page or even the next day, re-read the previous day’s work and make sure you have pushed yourself as a writer. You won’t regret it.