By Milli ThorntonBACK WHEN I WAS writing my first screenplay (Ghost Train), I attended a tele-class about asking carefully targeted questions to structure the genre of your script.
I’m a believer in asking questions to help explore my characters and their dilemmas—and the tele-class was being taught by a respected screenwriting teacher—so I was looking forward to learning some insider secrets. But I was not able to last the distance.
What this call (re)confirmed for me is that these kinds of writing systems are too cerebral for me. I know they work for others . . . but I am not those others. I have to know what’s right for ME.
The Silver Lining
Even though I knew in my heart I could not adopt this teacher’s writing system, I did not consider my time wasted. Sometimes, learning what’s not right for us can be just as valuable as finding where we fit.
It’s the same thing, if you get right down to it. The secret is to avoid using situations such as this one to make judgments about ourselves.
I could just as easily have said, “This part of it goes right over my head! I’ll never be good enough as a screenwriter!”
But not only is that not true (I can pick it up easily when it’s presented in a style that resonates with who I am), that kind of self-talk can be cruelly self-perpetuating.
Recognizing I didn’t belong in that tele-class not only freed up my time to get back to my screenplay, it even led (in a round-about way) to more self-acceptance for my writing. Not to mention some deeper thinking about ‘style’ that led to more self-expression as a writer.
Sometimes, it pays to be in the wrong place at the right time.
MILLI THORNTON (aka Milliver) is the author of Fear of Writing. She is owner of the Fear of Writing Online Course and Unleash Your Writing!, where her mission is to put the fun back into writing. Milli blogs at Milliver’s Travels and Screenwriting in the Boonies and coaches at Writer’s Muse Coaching Service.
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