Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for April 9th, 2008

So you’ve gone out and bought a bunch of books, devoured them and now you’re ready to write your screenplay. And when you do, you want to write to wow! You want to blow the people over with your characterization. And so you cram as much detail and information as you can about your characters (all then while moving the story forward, of course).

If  You’ve done the above, you’ve done what I did when I began, what every writer does in the beginning. So, I must have wowed them, right? Wrong.

All it did was make the script detail heavy and unwieldy. You might get away with it a novel. Or maybe not even there. These days people want to read racy stuff. They don’t want to be bogged down by details.

It’s wonderful that you’ve imagined a character that is so complex and has so many facets. But ask yourself this – is it really relevant to the story? You have imagined a character who’s young, ambitious, streetsmart, good sportsman, a charmer and suffers from hydrophobia. (It’s obviously a hero. How boring to have all these in the bad guy. In fact how’s he a bad guy if he is all these?) The reason is that he failed while trying to save someone very dear from drowning.

And supposing you’re writing a political thriller. Is it really important to show the guy as a good sportsman? Does this quality of his, or a dynamic of this quality get a chance to get manifested later on in the story? Does it directly or indirectly have a bearing on the story? If not, throw it out.

Next, you have to ask yourself, do people really need to know about it now? Vis-à-vis the hydrophobia, do people really need to know the how and why right in the beginning? In the beginning you can just show that the character is hydrophobic and avoids water at every instance he can. Won’t it be much more fun if the reason is revealed later on when the character is placed in a similar situation? Having said that there is no said format. For instance, in Cliffhanger and Vertical Limit the protagonists’ fears and the reasons whereof are shown in the very beginning.

The two most important aspects of detail are relevance and timing.

It is not necessary to give all the information in one go. If you time your revelations, not only will it quicken the story, it will add elements of intrigue and hold your audience’s interest even more. It gets them thinking, why is the character behaving like this? And later, when that particular characteristic or its dynamic plays itself out, the audience goes ah! So that’s why he/she was behaving like this earlier!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »