This blog is based on the top 5 Creative Tips from BCre8ive’s Creative Champion Chris Trengove. Chris has been writing for UK and US television since 1986 with hits shows from Thundercats and Bob the Builder to Dennis and Gnasher.
Tip 1: In the beginning
Don’t be discouraged if you have a sneaking suspicion that what you’ve just written is rubbish. All writers know the feeling, however long they’ve been at it. Just press on. Don’t look back. Get to the end. Then go back and assess what you’ve done. Chances are that what you wrote first time wasn’t so bad, and if it was: so what? As the old Hollywood saw has it, writing is re-writing.
Tip 2: Chip away until You find Your Story
Whatever you’re writing – book, TV ep, screenplay – don’t think of it as linear. Instead, consider it as a whole, as if you’re starting off with a block of stone and creating a sculpture. Somewhere in that block is the story you want, you’ve just got to chip off the rest of the stone. As you’re writing, think forward, think back, make the connections that turn a sequence of events into a coherent story.
Tip 3: Set Yourself Targets
Set yourself a daily word or page goal. I generally find 1000 words or 7 or 8 pages of a script a reasonable target –although some can write much more (and some less.) At 1000 words a day, in a couple of months you’d have most of a novel.
Tip 4: Planning helps
Everyone who works in TV or film is familiar with writing to an outline, sometimes provided by others. Literary novelists may scoff, but it is often useful to map out a narrative in advance. At the very least, it’ll provide a rope and tackle to help climb that first draft mountain, and you don’t have to stick to it rigorously (or at all.)
Tip 5: Edit everything!
When you’re getting close to final draft stage, analyse every line. What is it doing? Why is it there? Is it funny? Is it dramatic? Does it illuminate character? Is it advancing the story? If it’s not really doing anything, cut it. Very few pieces of work have ever suffered by being made shorter.
“I’m all for the scissors. I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil.” – Truman Capote