Screenwriting : Writer's Block SOS by Alayna Whitlock

Alayna Whitlock

Writer's Block SOS

Hey one and all! So recently I have hit the writer's block we writers all inevitably face. My script is a murder mystery, and I am frustrated on how to begin. I have the rest of the plot and scenes planned out, but I somehow keep getting stuck on the beginning scene. One of my problems is do I want it begin it kind of in an audience's face or would that scare too many away? I have asked others' opinions and most have said that they kind of like more action in the beginning to introduce a problem. What are you guys' opinions? If I don't have a murder in the beginning, then what should I substitute it with? A backstory? A flashback? A narration? What would grab the audience's attention? Any advice would be welcomed! x

Alex Bloom

Not sure what you mean by "do I want it begin it kind of in an audience's face" Generally it's best to start with the Inciting Incident -- the thing that gets the story moving. Or with the protagonist and introduce their flaw.

William Martell

Grab five recent successful similar films and see how they started... that will get your brain working on the problem.

Alayna Whitlock

Thank you for the advice! :)

Philip T Brewster

Maybe you’re starting in the wrong place? You could jump in writing someplace else to get you going then once you’re in the groove you can return to write the start. So long as you have it all plotted and know your scene steps it shouldn't be a big issue.

Chrismomofthreegirls Cruise

William Martell I agree with you, I said the something.

Annette Stewart-Colon

I would build up to the murder. What was the motive for the murder? Did said person know too much, secrets or something in a confidential matter?

Andy Byrne

I'd be asking myself, I'm sitting in a theatre/theater - what would draw me into this movie, set the tone? What would I like to see? What would make me grab a mitt-full of popcorn...? Is it seeing the set up for a later payoff that I love (because you've decided to later on smack the audience later and make them go "ah-ha!"). Is it enter with a bang (because the movie has lots of paced bangs)? Is it the undercurrent/background of the protag? Or is the antag more interesting - so it's their back story? Recently I was stuck on a scene. Broke the deadlock by smacking myself (mentally, not literally) and asking "FFS... stop poking around, Andy...speak up. Tell me EXACTLY what bugs you about this scene. Name it". Funny enough, I fixed it by actually naming the block. Not sure if that helps. But good luck Alayna and keep hitting that scene 1 pinata. It'll crack. :-)

Jazz Maine

you dont want to take to long to get to the point of the movie either

Jeff Jennings

I'd start with a short story sequence at the beginning that would loosely tie into the murder that will soon happen.

Gordon Olivea

grab 'em by the throat and don't let go - Billy Wilder introduce the protagonist doing what he or she loves, and show their passion and the flaw that impedes their progress. Then injure them, and add insult to injury so the audience is on their side. Example: Indiana Jones hunts for a golden idol, but has it taken away by someone who didn't work for it.

Ami Brown

What's wrong with opening with a murder scene? Grab the attention from the start! Remember your first 10 pages MUST be good, can't drag or confuse, or they put it down.

Annette Stewart-Colon

Example: a French movie called "Irreversible". It is a very disturbing movie. That started from the end. Check it out.

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