by Andrea Renee Cox
Inspiration can take you by surprise.
This last week, I was planning on getting back to my revisions after taking a few days off to recharge for the upcoming tutoring season. I watched a little Hallmark Channel during my break, and a commercial for a new series inspired me. Not to get back to my revisions, but rather to begin something completely out of my comfort zone.
The new thing is taking me back to my writing roots of screenplays, yet in a way I wasn’t expecting. I’m not sharing details at this time, but I find I’m quite excited about it. The ideas are flooding in right now, and that’s when I have to temporarily jump ship from one project and embrace the onslaught of creativity.
While I’ve been brainstorming the various possibilities this new writing venture presents, I’ve researched the type of project I want to write. It’s been ages since I last wrote or even worked on a screenplay, so I wanted to make sure I recalled the timing and structure and details necessary to write in that format. The spontaneous refresher course brought back so many sweet memories of penning my first few feature-length stories. It was elating to realize that using my screenplay software was like riding a bike… it came right back to me in an instant.
The great thing about considering this project is that the experience I’ve gained from years of focusing on manuscripts (as a writer and copyeditor) is being put to good use in a very different presentation. Sure, story is story. But the variances between manuscripts and screenplays are numerous. The most impactful two, at least for me, are that screenplays use far fewer details and they’re written in the present tense. Both will be great adjustments for me.
However, there are so many things that translate well from one venue to the other. Hooks, plot twists, and story arcs all retain major roles, and characterization remains incredibly important. The story world, characters, and themes will be weaving through my mind all week, even when I should be focused elsewhere, I’m sure. Life of a writer, no doubt. Guess I should pull out a fresh notebook to keep handy, since inspiration strikes when it’s least expected.
Have you ever been surprised by a sudden moment of inspiration that changed what you were going to do next?
What was it that inspired that change?
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