Monday, June 8, 2015

My Personal Writing Classes: Schedule & Preparation

From Kate’s Writing Crate…

          I’ve set up two personal writing classes for this summer—one for screenwriting and the other for songwriting—just for fun. I’ve never tried to write a screenplay before so new territory, but it seems a good summer-sized project. The earliest writing pieces I completed (age seven or so) were songs. I’m going to try and recapture that “magic.”
          First, my plan is to be in class 2 to 4 hours every day which includes reading my chosen textbooks, completing exercises, and writing. I hope to complete my work in the morning, but by midnight counts.

          I’ve chosen three books for my screenwriting class textbooks and two reference guides:
Now Write! Screenwriting with Exercises from Today’s Best Writers and Teachers edited by Sherry Ellis and Laurie Lamson;

Writing the Romantic Comedy: From “Cute Meet” to “Joyous Defeat”: How to Write Screenplays That Sell by Billy Mernit.

and 90-Day Screenplay: A day-by-day guide through the process of getting your screenplay onto the page by Alan Watt.

          I’ll be using Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee and The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller by John Truby as reference guides. I’ve read both of these books.

I’m using one notebook for the first two books in my sceenwriting class. I will alternate Now Write! and Writing the Romantic Comedy books after each chapter. The 90-Day Screenplay contains daily exercises so it has its own notebook.
In preparing for this class, I read two published movie screenplays to see how they are formatted. Pick one or two that appeal to you. Since my screenplay is for TV, I also spent several hours replaying a TV movie a moment at a time copying down all the lines so I could see how many words/lines fit into the time frame as well as understand scenes, settings, and characters.
          I’ve chosen two books for songwriting textbooks:
Songwriting without Boundaries: Lyric Writing Exercises for Finding Your Voice by Pat Pattison;
and Writing Better Lyrics: The Essential Guide to Powerful Songwriting Second Edition by Pat Pattison.
          I’m using only one notebook for both books in my songwriting class. I’m going to complete Songwriting without Boundaries first then work on Better Lyrics.

          I'm always thinking of six-word memoirs. It is a useful exercise to distill thoughts so Six-Word Memoirs edited by Larry Smith is a great book for inspiration.
          I plan on writing with a pen most of the time. When I write on the computer, I’ll print out my work and either staple the pages into the notebooks or keep them in a folder nearby—depends on the number of pages.
          I’ve always believed writing in several genres helps improve my writing as well as strengthens my voice. I dabble in poetry (for my eyes only). I write articles and essays. I want to write a screenplay and songs. These personal classes help me achieve my goals.
          I hope you choose a genre and some writing books that appeal to you.
Have fun in class!

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