Pointers Depot For Good Visual Storytelling

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Really appreciate all the comments. feels good to know that you guys are open to giving suggestions on stuff like this. Nyla, thanks a lot for throwing out some ideas my way. Takestyle, thanks for your questions. they got me thinking. Vince, u def have a point there. Una do river. This would not be the last time i would ask for help sha. Hope say no whala.


Well-Known Member
Consistency is always good when writing a story, if you leave writing for some time, you will loose the flow. Sometimes I hit a blog. That's when I leave the work and start editing previous stories. It is always wrong to write and edit at the same time, because writing a script involves creativity while editing involves analysis and they are both the functions of different parts of the brain. Trying to use them both results in conflict.
I am not disagreeing with anyone, but when writing a story, your main character is a hero, that is why in writitng school you study the hero's journey.
before you write, find out who your hero is, who is the character driving your story? the most important thing is what does he want? I am sure we all have read things fall apart. what was established as okonkwos desires? he wanted to be a man whose voice sent fear crashing through peoples hearts, he wanted to be everything his father was not.
now to the next part of your story, how does your character get what he wants?
okonkwo started to tow a line thats was opposite his fathers, he started to live a life without emotions, Ikemefuna's show of healthy emotion even angered him.
the conflict of your story is key, who are the antagonists? what forces are veering you hero away from his desires? what was veering okonwo away from his desires? nature, karma, life, himself, then white men and their religions. what makes things fall apart powerful is a story about a character fighting against himself and the ineveitable...change, and like a coward, he had to run to his death.
you do not need to know the end of your story before you start writing, what you need before you start writing is a story arc. so many people will infleuence our stroy as you go along, your pen for an example, Mckee says the pen is not the slave to the writer but rather, the writer is a slave to the pen. you should never force a story. if you get stuck, leave the script for a while, it will come. it takes a long time to write a good story.
pardon me

I beg to differ with you.
it is important to read your script after every 10 pages and make changes. it is BAD to write 2 script at the same time or write 1 and edit the other. as a writer, you will hit a blank, its called "brain fart":). writing is an exercise, if you are writing well, after a fw scenes, you will feel like you have done some hard work. it is imprtant to leave the script for sometime and do something that is not related to the writing at all. your consistency comes inwhen you aready have your treatment and outline laid out. that is why huge companies never request for scripts, they'll first ask for a treatment. your treatment is key. so is your outline
Consistency is always good when writing a story, if you leave writing for some time, you will loose the flow. Sometimes I hit a blog. That's when I leave the work and start editing previous stories. It is always wrong to write and edit at the same time, because writing a script involves creativity while editing involves analysis and they are both the functions of different parts of the brain. Trying to use them both results in conflict.


Well-Known Member
I beg to differ with you.
it is important to read your script after every 10 pages and make changes. it is BAD to write 2 script at the same time or write 1 and edit the other.
Well if your system works for you, then good. I would say there are no definite laws governing writting styles, as people may have different ways of attacking issues.

Personally, my approach is what I have written above. There are two psychological processes that contribute to creativity:
Right and Left Sides of the Brain
Researcher Roger Sperry discovered that the left and right hemispheres of the brain are specialized. His findings indicate that the left hemisphere creates order and is responsible for logical thought. In contrast, the right hemisphere is free flowing and responsible for creative thought. Sperry won a Nobel prize for this research. You can google him out.

When you begin editing after a few pages of writing, you switch from the right hemisphere of the brain responsible for creativity to the left which is responsible for analysis that you need for editing. I believe when the creative juice is flowing, it is better to keep the groove on, even if you are tempted to edit, as switching back and forth may cause seization of creativity.

Like I said before, If you are cool with your style, stay cool Sis.
Alright, this is a long article that I found on the Writers Store Website. I felt its appropriate for this thread:

by William M. Akers
After your idea, rewriting is the single most important thing. If you’ve got a good idea, no matter how lousy your first draft is, you can fix it. I’ve been there. And so has every other professional writer. Beginners, oddly, expect the first thing that spews from their printer will be gold. I choose the word “spews” carefully. “Spew” like “garbage” and “vomit.”

Perhaps the problem is laser printers. Insidious demons. If you wrote your first draft on yellow paper with a pencil, it’s guaranteed to look all smeared and awful, and you will have no problem thinking, “Gosh, this is horrible. Perhaps I should work on it a bit more.” But, if you print it on a nice laser printer, it will look shiny and clean -- and done. Trust me, it isn’t.

Writing is not an event, like Athena being born fully-formed from the head of Zeus. It’s a process, like sculpture. You start. You mess with it. You study it, you work on it, re-do it and put it away. Then you look at it again and work some more.

“Take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it. Do something else to it.”
-Jasper Johns

When you roll up your sleeves to rewrite, consider (at least!) three things: Story. Dialogue. Scene Description.


The hard one. The reeeeeally important one.

Pretend Judge Judy is looking at your draft, being an obnoxious critic. If you don't have a good answer for why something is there, she hammers you flat. You must turn into your own Judge Judy. This is not easy. If you love it when you write it and you love it when you read it, you're probably in trouble. Put it away for a while and ask tough questions when you drag it out for the rewrite.

•Have you read it out loud? Repeatedly?

•Does the story communicate what you wanted it to?

•Do you start the story late enough?

•Have you eliminated most, if not all, backstory from the first act?

•Do you have the right main character?

•Does the main character change? A lot.

•Can characters can be cut or combined?

•Is the hero in the crusher all the time?

•Do we care about the character and her problem?

•Is the bad guy the one who forces the hero to change?

•Have you written wonderful minor characters? Like the roommate in NOTTING HILL?

•Is “place” a character in your story?

•Is your story about one simple idea, and does each scene further that ONE idea?

•How many scenes can be combined?

•How can you add more conflict in every scene?

•Can you squeeze something more about the character from nearly every scene?

•Have you made us feel what every character is feeling, in every scene?

•What can you do to make each scene better, more memorable, more interesting?

•Does the action build in intensity as we go along?

•Does the ending have enough emotion and power?

•Are the stakes high and do they go higher?

•Will people who care about act breaks be able to find them?

•Is the script really good or do you just hope it is?

•Do other people read it and say, “Wow!”?

Even seemingly insignificant changes will have a long-term, cumulative effect. A change you make on page 48 will affect page 49 and 50 and 51 -- every single page, all the way to 110. Imagine your story like a river flowing by. Every scene is downstream from the one before. If you make a change on page 48, it’s as if you pour a bucket of blue dye into the river -- as your story continues to move, it will color everything downstream.

Story is what they pay you for. You can get fired, someone else can come in and rewrite all the dialogue, and you’ll still get sole writing credit. Story and the structure are the big deal.

But, hey, story’s not everything.


You've got to write great dialogue. Actors want to say cool stuff. You're writing this movie so actors will attach themselves to it. There's nothing more exciting than knowing somebody really talented loves your dialogue and wants to say it on the big screen. But that takes a lot of time, work, effort – blood, tears, and sweat.

If your dialogue isn’t great, don’t worry -- you can make it great!

First thing to do with dialogue is get rid of it. Ruthlessly. Take a Weed Eater to it. Read it out loud and cut ANY repetition.

It’s a beautiful day to rob a bank. Yes,
sir, what gorgeous weather. Yep, I’d say
it’s bank robbing weather!

It’s amazing how often writers make their hard-working characters say the same thing again and again. It’s also amazing how often the good dialogue is already there, peeking out from under the crud. How about this --

It’s bank robbing weather!

Watch movies on DVD and transcribe in script format what the characters say. It’s AMAAAAZING how little they say. The best actors want fewer lines.

Notice how characters in screenplays -- that get sold -- do not talk like each other. You have to separate the characters’ voices.

Character by character, check your dialogue to make sure --

1.) All the way through, a character sounds the same

Is the voice consistent and in keeping with where the character is from and his morality and economic stratum and how he was raised, and everything else having to do with the character?

The speed at which he talks. The rhythm of his language. Choice of words. Does he use contractions a lot, seldom, never? Does he cuss a lot? Does he use big words, but doesn’t know what they mean? Is he from North Dakota and does it show in his dialogue? Was he in the military? Is he shy?

How much can you teach us about each person, just by their personal use of language?

2.) His dialogue doesn't sound like any other character’s.

Do a dialogue pass for each character. Type Ctrl F or Apple F, for FIND, set it for “match case” and then, in uppercase letters, a CHARACTER’S NAME. Go through the script one character at a time checking only that character’s dialogue, making sure it always sounds like him and no one else. Even for Pizza Delivery Dude.

3.) Make sure the characters don’t sound like you!

More nifty thoughts on dialogue --

•Write dialogue for someone you know so your character sounds like your friend.

•Write for actors whose voices you know well, but might never end up in the movie, especially if they're dead. Write for Bogart and Bacall. Who’ll know?

•Talk into a tape recorder until you get a solid handle on the character’s voice. Try not to let your spouse’s parents witness this.

•Take acting classes.

•Hide exposition like Jimmy Hoffa!

•Make sure you’ve used correct format for parentheticals. Final Draft will let you goof up parentheticals. When an agent flips through your script, bad format shouts “Amateur!"

•Make up your own rules -- everyone in the lead character's family can speak with British syntax, even if they're all American.

•Write superb dialogue for minor characters. You’re always writing actor bait. Naturally, you’re interested in getting Mr. Mega Star to attach to play the male lead, but you also have to cast Pizza Delivery Dude. It’s crucial that you write interesting, specific Pizza Delivery Dude dialogue if you want a gifted actor to play Pizza Delivery Dude. Especially if you’re asking him to do it for free!

•Remember, people interrupt each other and don’t speak in complete sentences.

•Know what language your character uses. If you're writing about Country music do you know what “girm” means? What about “blue steel” if your character is a prostitute? Do your dialogue homework.

Finally, do you keep a log of overheard dialogue? You should. All my students do. You train your ear to hear specific language, rhythm, plus, it’s fun to eavesdrop. One guy turned in this beaut --

A forty-something CHRIS and his teenage nephew, BJ sit at a kitchen table during a small, black family gathering. The uncle is very heavy and very loud. BJ, thin and close-mouthed, speaks with a genuine love for his uncle.

Uncle Chris, do you ever plan on
getting married?

I love women, but it’s only two things
in this world I ain’t never seen.
A spaceship and a bitch I need.

Scene Description

You must be able to communicate your great story to someone else -- on paper. If they can’t get it off your page, your story is worthless. The words on the page must explain the movie in your head to the reader. It’s way more complex than you might think.

“All they read is the dialogue.”
-Overheard at the Farmers Market, Los Angeles

Believe this at your peril. If the guy who said that were a working writer, he'd be in an office on the Universal lot instead of pontificating at the Farmers Market in the middle of the afternoon.

Scene description matters. Readers who appreciate good writing will notice your scene description. By the end of the first page, they can't tell if you know what a reversal is, but they will sure know if you can’t write a decent sentence.

Be clear. Don’t write, “Frank dresses in nice looking clothes.” because we might think he's getting dressed. Instead, write “Frank wears nice looking clothes,” so we know he’s a fashion plate. Make sure we understand the picture you’re beaming into our brain.

Here is scene description, the final version --

He takes out his phone and dials. It RINGS without picking up. He calls a different number.

Obvious that the guy makes two phone calls, one after the other, to different people. Now, the original. Remember: Confusion = Tearing of Hair and Gnashing of Teeth.

He takes out his phone and dials. It RINGS without picking up. He calls again.

We think he calls the same number twice. Because he doesn't, we're confused.

This dialogue seems fine until you read it a couple of times --

He has protection from a spirit.

Does this mean the spirit protects him from those trying to kill him, or does it mean he has an amulet that gives him protection from a spirit trying to do him harm? One sentence. Totally opposite possible meanings.

I heard her come in the Chrysler.

Which meaning did that writer intend?

Your scene description must convey the meaning you want with as few words as possible. Trimming + Rearranging = Rewriting.

In his rearview mirror, Jimmy sees a cop car, lights blazing, right behind him.

Jimmy sees a cop car, lights blazing, in his rearview.

We still get it. It's quicker. We see a better image that takes less time to read. Here’s a first draft sentence.

The lawn has beer bottles and a rolled up "Slip n' Slide" scattered about.

This becomes --

Beer bottles and a rolled up "Slip n' Slide" scattered about the lawn.

A stronger sentence. Ends on a better word, and, whoa!, it's shorter!! The third draft improves it even more --

Scattered about the lawn -- beer bottles and a rolled up "Slip n' Slide."

Cut for the speed of the read as well as the reader’s understanding of what you’re trying to get across. Don’t hide the meaning of your image by piling on tons of words. You’re no longer an English major, getting paid by the pound. Think minimalism. Remember, unless the reader is your boyfriend, he doesn’t really want to read your material in the first place, so make it as painless as possible.

Finally, visit my website yourscreenplaysucks.com and check out the “7 Deadly Sins of Screenwriting” checklist. Do what it says and your writing will automatically get better!

Sadly, you can’t stay in the comfortable world of rewriting forever -- you do have to finally finish. Listen to John Singer Sargent --

“It takes two people to paint a portrait. One to paint it, and one to tell him when to stop.”

Or Max Wong, Hollywood producer --

“How do you know when your script is ready? When the only choice is do another draft or blow your brains out.”

At some point, it’s done. And after that point, I say, “Good luck!”

Author of Your Screenplay Sucks!
More articles can be found on writersstore.com. its a solid site for aspiring writers. Professionals post articles there. And there are recommended writing softwares though they're all bloody expensive. Good buys though.

Kala Lou

Well-Known Member
my tip for nollywood writers is that it is very difficult to make an interesting 3-4hr movie...keep stories concise. From subject matters i've seen in Nolly flicks, most of these stories can be told in 60 to 90 mins....I think these long drawn out stories is the root cause of why so many Nolly flicks are bad...
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