“How To Beat Writer’s Block”

I am currently working on a short film script, but I’m unable to complete it. What should I do?

Award-Winning Writer/Filmmaker Donald L. Vasicek on Rabbit Ears Pass in Colorado

Award-Winning Writer/Filmmaker Donald L. Vasicek on Rabbit Ears Pass in Colorado


If you want to continue your career as a writer, then you need to go back into your script. Make sure your main character has a goal. Organize it so that you have a unifying theme, a main character, an antagonist (can be a person or a volcano or a radical political leader, etc.) or villain (in fiction, villains represent evil without any redeeming characteristics). The antagonist or villain must seek the same goal your main character is seeking. The difference between them is that the antagonist or villain represents a negative or evil way of doing it. Also, make sure you have a beginning, a middle and an end to your story. This doesn’t mean that it has to be in chronological order, just that you must have this in your script. Also, read your dialogue. Film is a visual medium, so you should strive to show in place of telling. Some dialogue can be changed to visuals in place of the dialogue. During this process, you will find that you will be able to complete your script with vim and vigor!!!

“Black Moment”

by
Donald L. Vasicek

Award-Winning Writer/Filmmaker Donald L. Vasicek/Turkey Creek Canyon in Colorado

The black moment in fiction writing is the moment in the short story, the novel, or the screenplay where the main character is challenged to overcome what has been his/her
Problem throughout the story. He/she either confronts it and beats it, or it defeats him/her.

How does your main character defeat and overcome this fear? Just before the villain (in fiction, a villain represents pure evil with no redeeming characteristics) or the antagonist (represents the opposition to the main character’s goal – can be a person, persons, or any of a million or more inanimate things, objects, or places) is about to defeat your main character, your main character should experience an epiphany. An epiphany is the sudden realization of something your main character has been trying to see throughout the story. This discovery will either push your main character over the top and your main character wins, or it causes your main character to withdraw into defeat.

In your story, you should have your main character striving to accomplish a goal. This goal should be set at about page 10 in the screenplay, and early on in a short story or novel, where you establish the goal of the main character. I call it the dramatic premise. The dramatic premise of the story sets in place what the main character will set out to achieve in the story.

In “To Kill a Mockingbird”, Harper Lee’s scintillating novel, the main character, Scout Finch, is challenged to learn about poking fun at a mentally-challenged neighbor. Her father, Atticus Finch, played by Gregory Peck in the movie, sets out to defend an African American man from being convicted of rape in a Southern and deeply racist community. Friends and Scout make fun of their mentally-challenged neighbor named Arthur (Boo) Radley even though Atticus tries to teach Scout how to be sympathetic regarding prejudice.

In the highly-charged story, Boo ends up saving Scout and her friends from the rape victim and her father, who are out for revenge, whom Atticus proved were lying during the trial. Even though Scout has a black cook, and she and her friends sit in the “colored balcony” at the trial, it isn’t until the rape victim’s father attacks Scout and her friend (the black moment in the story) and Boo saves them, that Scout realizes what life must be like for Boo.

She experiences an epiphany because of the attack. And she wins because she acquires the realization that that Boo is a human being and that hatred and prejudice should not sully her faith in human goodness.

Scout’s goal throughout the story is to learn and grow with respect to prejudice. And she accomplishes it through the black moment when she and her friend are attacked and Boo saves them. She experiences an epiphany at this point in time that causes her to learn and grow and to overcome the ignorance that held her back from becoming objective about the human condition.

Donald L. Vasicek
The Zen of Writing
http://www.donvasicek.com
dvasicek@earthlink.net

“Writing Sex, Violence and Hooking Your Audience”

by
Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films +, LLC
Writing/Filmmaking/Consulting
http://www.donvasicek.com
dvasicek@earthlink.net

You need simply to watch the first ten minutes of “The Sixth Sense”
to learn how to get your readers hooked. A supernatural thriller
that was one of the box office surprises of 1999 primarily because
of its appeal to a large demographic that spanned families to adult
viewers, shows sex and violence in the opening five minutes of the
movie.

I use “The Sixth Sense” as an example because it depicts well what
producers look for in screenplays, and editors look for in novels and
short stories. M. Night Shyamalan, the writer/director of “The Sixth Sense”, was
able to begin the movie with sex and violence and still attract kids,
parents, teens, couples, and marrieds with the storyline of a boy
who sees dead people. This approach to writing screenplays or
novels or short stories because of its wide audience appeal, and thus,
a better opportunity to sell tickets, books, etc.

If you’re serious about getting produced as a screenwriter, or
published as a fiction writer, you would serve yourself well if you
studied movies and books that do well at the box office and book
stores. Look for what happens in the first ten minutes of the movie,
or the first few lines of the novel or short story. Look for how sex
and violence is incorporated into the storyline and theme(s), particularly
for a wide audience, and how tastefully. Blend sex and violence with
the theme and you’re on your way to being successful.

See you next time. Be sure and bring a refreshment. A glass of
spring water, perhaps, some carrots, and a tuna sandwich. Experience
what that does for studying and reading how to successfully write.

Pax.