Published on July 5th, 2012 | by Chris Blundell5
Write On: Writing Tips for Rad Kids
So, since our last post on writing The Hit Squad script, we had a few requests for advice on writing so we thought we’d share a little bit more on the writing process with how we do things.
We thought of a few little tips that we found valuable when writing The Hit Squad.
Write, like, all the time
You can’t get better at something by not doing it. Yes you can sit and know all the theory in the world, but until you sit down for an hour and try. You’re not going to do it.
KISS – Keep It Simple and Sincere
Don’t overcomplicate things. Do you need that extra character? Does the lead character being called to a abbatoire move the plot forward? People will forgive many flaws if you do what you do sincerely. Write from the heart and go with your gut. (further reading here)
If it doesn’t move the plot forward, reveal character backstory or make people laugh, cut it
For everything, if it doesn’t have a point in the story. Get rid of it. Do we really need to know that the character was World Knitting Champion 1985? If later on in the film he uses his knitting skills to kill a cyborg Ninja, then yes. If it shows how dedicated he is to a cause, then yes. If it’s a superfluous piece of info, then no. Its a little more flexible with comedy because you’re aiming for laughs. However, we prioritise a good story over a laugh. (further reading here)
Don’t get precious
There were jokes and scenes in The Hit Squad that were over 5 years old and I love them with all my heart. But if you can’t fit them in, don’t force them. Cut them. If you leave something in just for the sake of it ‘always being there’, it can mess up a script. If it doesn’t fit, don’t cram it in. Regardless of how bad you want to (no innuendos, this is a family site).
Get to the point
The Hit Squad felt too lengthy. One plot point happening in a scene at one time, unneeded dialogue, scenes that could be merged. Do you need to spend 2 pages setting the scene of a romantic restaurant? Or could you show some twinkling candles and a white table cloth? Pacing is important, the audience aren’t stupid and will get bored if you spend too long trying to explain one thing. Show it, move on.
Show, don’t tell
DAVID: ‘I really like this flower, it reminds me of the poppy fields I lived next to when I was a child’ or DAVID strokes the flower fondly “reminds me of where I grew up”? Its much better to show what is happening than having a character explain it. Unless, of course, you want your characters to sound like seven year olds. (further reading here)
If it niggles you, it will niggle an audience
Simple, if you put out a piece of writing with something that doesn’t quite make sense. The audience will pick up on it too x 1000. Your characters and plots have to make sense, or for comedy, some amount of sense. If an audience or reader walk about thinking ‘I don’t understand why that happened’ they will feel annoyed.
Learn to say ‘finished’
Probably one of the hardest things to do. I’ve never met a single writer that has said ‘I couldn’t make that better’. But you have to learn to know when Set yourself a deadline, try and stick to it. If you can’t stick to it. Come up with a second one. Stick to that. Regardless. If you really feel like you need lots more time, then it really isn’t ready. Put it on the backburner, work on something new and then come back to it with fresh eyes/ears/popcorn. (further reading here)
Work hard at it, but if it starts to become too much and you’re stressing too much… take a break. You work better when you enjoy something. Don’t kill that joy!
Just do it
Whatever you’re doing… writing, making a movie, fishing… just go out there and do it. Read books about how to do it, then sit down and do it. You’ll make a million mistakes. Your first work will probably never see the light of day. But the more you do it, the better you’ll get.