blank
Plots Inc. Productions blank
image
plots inc. productions
Art of
Plotting Seminar

 

blank typewriter keys

The Art of Plotting

FAQ PAGE
Frequently Asked Questions about the Art of Plotting Seminar

Q 1: Do I have to have written a screenplay before reading this book??

Q 2: What's the difference between your book and others?

Q 3: What's your main message?

Q 4: A lot of screenwriting instructors are talking about "emotion" right now. Are you all talking about the same thing? What makes your book different?

Q 5: What do you mean by 'over-plotting' a script in terms of action and "under-plotting" one in terms of emotion?

Q 6: What else do you cover in your book?

Q 7: What level of screenwriter should I be at for this book to make sense?


Q 1: Do you have to have written a screenplay before reading this book?

You don't have to have completed a script, but you should know something about screenwriting for this book to make sense. The information I present builds on the basic concepts you can get from most screenwriting seminars or books. (back to top)

Q 2: What's the difference between your book and others?

I can't tell you about all the other books out there. Every one has its strengths. But what I do in The Art of Plotting is emphasize key issues in plot design and construction - how you put your information together to make it more powerful and meaningful to your audience.

In the book I give you tools to deepen your characterizations by showing you first what types of scenes in successful movies do this and then how you can incorporate these types of scenes into your own stories. Other tools include how you can increase the suspense and tension in your scripts; using the audience's natural inclination to anticipate to increase surprise; how to use conflict to reveal character; how to recognize and overcome the most common plotting problems. (back to top)

Q 3: What's your main message?

I have three main areas I keep circling back on in the seminar.

  1. A script has to be emotional. You have to reach the emotions of your reader. It doesn't matter if you get there with laughter, fear or tears (in most cases it's all three). But emotion is exactly what's missing from most screenplays. Most writers are afraid of the emotion and leave it out entirely; or they rely on easy emotions such as tears or anger. I believe for a screenplay to be successful it has to be conceived both in terms of plot action and emotion, otherwise there won't be room in the script to develop this portion of the story. Writers need to know what they want their reader to feel while he's reading their screenplays.

  2. I believe many writers tend to over-plot their stories in terms of the action. They conceive their plots as a long list of separate scenes, 60 or so, and expect the reader to follow along and get the point of each of them. Your audience won't be able to track a story that has one original point or more in every single scene. You're writing drama, not novelistic narrative where you can explain every nuance. The plots of movies develop in segments, groups of scenes developing a main idea that then advances the plot. When you over-plot in terms of action, you will under-plot in terms of emotion.

  3. I deal with technical issues of assembling the scenes and sequences to get the most dramatic bang out of your ideas. (back to top)

Q 4: A lot of screenwriting instructors are talking about "emotion" right now. Are you all talking about the same thing? What makes your class different?

People are talking about emotion because it's the part of screenwriting that's been neglected, and it's never been well explained. It's the hardest part to teach, and that's saying something, because all of screenwriting is difficult. But if you read Aristotle, Lajos Egri or John Howard Lawson, you'll see they're all talking about 'emotion' but just not calling it that.

Again, I can't comment on all the classes and books. I've sat in on few classes dealing with emotion, and I know my approach if different and more hands on. What I've found is a way to explain how emotion works in a clear language. Then I show you how to use this understanding and apply those concepts to your own work.

The reason teachers are coming to emotion now is because we've spent the last 20 years talking about structure but still most stories fall flat. Emotion is what's missing, or it's caluclated and manipulative, and so less effective. People are trying to find that elusive ingredient that will make their stories come alive and reach others. And if you can make your reader feel a range of emotional responses, you're on your way. We've identified that other component and now we're trying to explain it to others.

But don't think structure isn't important anymore. You have to have it. And you have to truly understand it in order to create a story that has maximum emotional effect. So all this time and work has not been in vain. (back to top)

Q 5: What do you mean by "over-plotting" a script in terms of action and "under-plotting" one in terms of emotion?

That there's too much action dominating the script and not enough reaction to the conflict from the characters for the reader to 'get' the characters deeply. Many amateurs' scripts are too complicated for their own good.

What separates professional screenplays that get turned into successful movies from amateur screenplays is this: the pros' scripts are based on strong, simple story lines that are well developed and well plotted. Characters feel full and real, with emotional lives; the action has weight and meaning.

Amateur screenplays are generally over-plotted in terms of action and underdeveloped in terms of character and emotion. Amateurs focus on the "action" - what characters do - and leave off the page the emotion - what characters feel. Amateur scripts feel flat and confused, and because so much happens, the significance is lost. (back to top)

Q 6: What else do you cover in your book?

A look at the list of topics will give you a good idea. What I'm trying to do is help writers understand the principles of action and plotting in a way that they'll have another set of tools to use when they look at their own work. When they use them, they'll be able to deepen the emotional impact of the conflict on the characters, simplify their story lines so the action flows better, and tell the story they want to tell. (back to top)

Q 7: What level of screenwriter should I be at for this book to make sense?

Students range in ability. We get beginners and we get professionals, and lots in between. You'll find quotes from people at all levels on the testimonal page. But if you're an absolute beginner, this book probably won't make a lot of sense to you yet. You will need a basic knowledge of screenplay structure to put what this seminar offers to use. You'll find the class particularly helpful when you're approaching a rewrite. (back to top)





 

THE ART
OF PLOTTING

blank

topics

blank

testimonials

blank

frequently asked questions

blank

art of plotting

blank

HOME  |  ABOUT LINDA  |  BOOKS BY LINDACONTACT  |  MAILING LIST  |  CONSULTING |  LEGAL NOTICE

© Copyright 2003 Linda Cowgill and Plots Inc. Productions. All Rights Reserved.

blank