Runaway Bride – Finding the truth behind your story

1528299-a-child-is-walking-all-alone-in-the-desertWhat are you running away from in your script?

We all create diversions to escape ourselves.  How far would you go to avoid the pain you have to inhabit to complete your story?

This is where I am at as I approach the third act of my feature script again. It’s where the shit hits the fan emotionally for the characters – and for you.  Where you work out why you’re writing this thing that’s taking all your waking hours.

The first thirty pages are a sprint, an idyll, the lure that gets you thinking, ‘I know this baby, I can crack this story, I even know how it ends.’

The second act is harder, but the winding roads of plot and character revelation make it bearable, even though it stretches into infinity.

But the last act, the ending, the pay off for you and the audience is where you have to face the truth of what you are writing.  And so we do anything not to go there.  In our own lives as well as in the story.

Many pleasures can distract you from grief.  But if grief drives your screenplay, then it is grief you must enter to find redemption.  A story is a confession, an admission of weakness, a seeking of grace.  The most common narrative structure is the redemption story because we all need and deserve forgiveness.

So in facing our demons and, with them, the truth in our work, we raise ourselves above them and the distractions we employ, to find our own happy ending.

Share your own thoughts here or find me on Twitter @emlin32 . Good luck and may honesty be your best friend as a writer.

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IN SEARCH OF ACT 3

chiricahua 6HOW DO YOU WRITE YOUR THIRD ACT?

I have finally reached the end of Act Two, that long hinterland of plot development and adventures high and low.  For all its flaws it’s got me to this place – the beginning of Act Three.

And I have no idea what happens next.  And that’s OK.  Because during Act Two a strange and wonderful thing happened.  My characters started thinking and acting for themselves.  The framework of the treatment became just that, a point from which to leap into the unknown, still following the thread but winding through new paths in the city.   Let’s Get Lost.  And suddenly getting lost in the story doesn’t seem such a bad idea.

As a writer structure is your friend. You need it to lean on, to support you as you try and explore your ideas, to make a shape others will recognise and to help make sense of the emotional chaos of your world.  And structure, with its twist and turns, can be fun.  The spinning of a tale is half the pleasure, a spider’s web, a minor miracle.  Structure lends the journey a familiar form.  It gives comfort to the audience as they absorb difficult truths about themselves and the world they live in.

But not knowing is magical too.  Free writing, like free running, has a grace and honesty as it flies onto the screen.  Characters given free rein can go a little crazy, mess up and live their wildest dreams as they escape the limits of conscious thought and take you somewhere new.

To go in search is not to know the answer.  But to know you’re looking is a start.

Where are you in your writing this week?  What unexpected moments have you uncovered?  Leave a message below or find me @emlin32 on Twitter.