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  • Writer's pictureCeara

A Novelist's Mind

The best part about being a novelist is all the things you can create with absolutely no restrictions. You can write about other worlds, future societies, aliens, magic, and alternate realities. Heck, you can transport your readers to different parts of the country that they’ll probably never see—well with a little help from Google.

But, being a screenplay writer is a whole different ball game. When I first started writing screenplays, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, and I guess to some degree I still feel that way. But I was unfamiliar with terminology and the format, so I started asking filmmaker friends I knew and one told me to write the screenplay how I saw it.

Now, that’s the biggest mistake to say to a novelist with a crazy imagination. Write what I see? Well, I see a castle here, I see fairies over there, oh and I think there’s a dragon in the mix. Hey, I need a school too, think I could land a school? Yeah, that’s pretty much the thought process I had in writing the first round of screenplays, I wrote exactly what I was seeing.

It’s taken me this long to realize that I don’t think that advice, “write what I see” was meant to be taken that literally.

Being a low-budget independent filmmaker, I get the locations that I’m able to. If that means making a town hall look like a school and a fire chief’s office, then that’s what I’m going to do.

And the more I looked at my future screenplays, the more I realized that I had been too specific with the locations I had in mind. I can’t guarantee I’m going to get a specific room in a specific building, but I can, at the very least, write down what I want the room to be used as in the scene. That right there gives me the opportunity to write the screenplays, send them off to the reoccurring leads, and start looking for locations. If one location falls through (as several have in the past with just my pilot episode of Amber Oak), well, I know I just need a room to have the right look.

The screenplay writing journey has definitely been that—a journey. And one I’m definitely not going to give up on, I just have to wear two different hats—one for novels and one for screenplays. In a way, both help with my creativity and they honestly challenge me as a writer.

I have no idea who initially said this quote, but it 100% rings true for me this month:

“You don’t always need a plan, just go!”

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