Writing the First Draft of a Screenplay

Taking the initial leap into screenwriting is one that may take the writer into the realms of adventure and self-discovery. But what practical advice will help the writer make a start?
Starting Screenwriting from the Beginning
The beginning of this long journey must begin somewhere and it is indeed humble, in most cases, with the purchase of a notebook and pen. The next step is the reality of facing a blank sheet of paper and committing that first sentence. This could be the screenwriter’s greatest fear and could create a mental block if the moment is put off for too long. A few pointers might help overcome this hurdle.
Practical Steps in Becoming a Screenwriter


Purchase good quality writing materials and keep them away from everyday things that associate the mind with chores. This will reinforce the idea that this is a personal and creative venture and one to be taken seriously.


Establish a writing space. This could be a particular location in the house. Anywhere is possible, from the garden shed to beneath the stairs. Some writers will write anywhere if the time allows.


Establish a time slot, perhaps a particular time of the day when the mind is most alert.  Making a realistic pledge to oneself will help keep the goal in focus. It need not set in stone, anything from ten minutes to an hour per day is valuable, and time slots between duties will soon add up.


Reading a few screenplays will help familiarise the writer with how a screenplay should look and formulate an image in the writer’s mind of that goal.


More Planning and research will be necessary than one might expect. Be prepared for a few trips to the library or the surfing of reputable websites for information.
Discover Screenwriting


Facing a blank page will be encountered by every writer eventually and each writer will feel differently about the prospect. Some might jump straight in without a thought; others might feel a little trepidation about it. Writer’s block is a difficult issue, and a separate page has been dedicated to this subject. However, for most of the time, if the urge to write a compelling story remains with the writer, eventually, the blank pages will fill themselves.

Writing the First Draft of a Screenplay


Usually, the first draft will be an organic process, jotting down ideas randomly as they come in a notebook with the use of pencils and eraser before typing it up. Some writers will forego this process and type straight onto a word document. There is no wrong way of creating a first draft, but becoming familiar with the individual’s preferences when creating a screenplay will help increase the likelihood of the screenplay being completed.


Getting the Know the Screenwriter Within


The above steps will provide a firm grounding for beginning a screenplay. Sound preparation and knowledge of the sort of writer resides within, will help keep that goal realistic, from where and when to write, to the writing materials selected.
Finally and most importantly, once the project has begun, never discuss the idea for the screenplay with anyone. Although it is understandable to share excitement in this venture, imparting the idea is like releasing a creative pressure valve within. Keeping the creative energies within will ensure that it will be directed towards its intention: the completion of that very first screenplay. Once the first draft had been complete however, some editing and revision will be necessary, after which, the opinion of a trusted party could help with problems.
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