I wasn’t writing: I was revising a novel (contemporary young adult, and that’s all I’m going to say about it).
These were my tools.
Screenwriting Tricks for Authors is available only as an ebook, well worth the download fee. I found it a bit tricky to follow the diagrams explaining act structure, but only because they didn’t show up full screen on a Kindle, even at the tiniest type size. I suspect on an iPad they’d show up just fine or on a Kindle app on the computer.
What was extremely helpful–and enjoyable–was the author’s scene-by-scene breakdown of movies. Watching Harry Potter 1 with Kindle in hand was one of the better afternoons I’ve had in a long time.
Save the Cat, which I borrowed from the library in old-fashioned book form, was exceptionally helpful for the actual storyboarding.
This is a screenwriting process that works for fiction as well. It involves breaking down the Work in Progress into scenes, one scene per card (or one group of related scenes per card), and then pinning them on a corkboard in a sequence that, ideally, falls into three acts, I and III being shorter than II. The trick is getting each act to end with an appropriate turn of events.
And after it’s all nice and tidy on your corkboard–or foamboard if you don’t feel like shelling out for a corkboard the size of a dining room table–you hunch over a warm computer for weeks on end and wrestle the written version into something resembling the nice tidy storyboard version.
It’s easy. All you have to do is take out the scenes
you love in which nice stuff happens but does not affect the outcome of the book, and ignore the pile of words you’ve tossed out, all 10,000 of them.
But you know what? Now that the surgery is over, I don’t miss any of those scenes one bit.
© 2011 Anne Bingham and Making It Up as I Go