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Monday, January 15, 2007

Natural Selection or God

A little while ago now Potdoll was talking about a workshop for writers that she went on. This included some brainstorming exercises to help with inventing characters that are rounded and have some backstory. All good stuff. But not what I do. I pick a theme or mood for a new film and everything else flows from that.

That got me thinking again about something that I've seen all through my writing life. The 2 methods. 1 method (the workshop method) that states that no writer should know how the script will end when they start it otherwise there is no reason to write it. The other method (my method) says that without a good plan how can you hope to get a good script - by luck?

I now have a term for these that I think sums it all up:
Natural Selection
Divine Creation

The first one says that you should throw all sorts of things into the mix. The strong elements (the best characters, the greatest lines etc) will win and you'll have a better script because of it.
The second one says that you are in charge of this world. Its your world and your story and your characters. Look after them and its your job to make sure the narrative is satisfying for all.

So which are you? Darwin or God?

**note** Yes. That's right. This whole blog entry is just an excuse to fuel my ego.

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potdoll said...

I usually start with an image, often provoked from something someone has told me, and i try to build a story around this image. by the time i've done that, the characters have hopefully shown themselves.

Heather Fenoughty said...

In writing film music (which has its similarities to script writing), I'm definitely a natural selection/darwinist!

I'm never entirely sure in what direction the tunes will go until they're written. There's a lot of trust and faith in the subconscious to be much better than me at coming up with ideas, melodies, harmonies, progressions...