June 19, 2007
Despite all of my rampant pessimism there is a point where I seem to be unfailingly optimistic. I seem to believe that at some point I'll put it together and actually finish some of the ideas for novels I have floating around in my head. I'm still young (22), and the thought seems to be that I will settle down on one thing rather than buzzing between ideas too rapidly to committ them fully to paper (or computer files as the case may be). The furthest I've gotten to actually finishing a novel is a mere 60 pages (or so...I think it is 63 pages) worth of writing (I've got the plan for the rest of the novel and the sequel floating in my head and a very rough outline for everything on paper). I just seem to be unable to actually finish everything. I know I'm only a fifth of the way done with novel, and there are the many repeated drafts to get it to something readable (I'll admit I'm not a great writer...I have a lot of ideas, but the actual execution is not wonderful). Eventually, hopefully, I can get the thing actually published.
But my most recent idea will never get even that far.
It is an idea for a television series that could never get made for numerous reasons. First, I have no idea how to write a script since none of the writing classes I've taken have covered that, and it is not something I've ever even really considered before. Second, how does one go about presenting a concept to someone in a way to get something like that considered. Finally, the concept is something that I am sure interests only me.
See, the basic concept is that a college student from our reality (or something approaching it), goes through an unusual series of events and ends up in a strange cavern with this massive underground lake that exists in a sort of nexus dimension between his world and another. On the near shore of the lake sits a raft with a young woman in a white robe. She convices him to join her, and they cross to the other side. Once there he meets a small group of mystics that explain that they have been waiting for him and that he has a great destiny (I know, I know, overdone). However, he points out that there is obviously a mistake since the one they're waiting for is actually undead, and he can't be the one because he hasn't died. Despite that, they ask him to stay for a short time. He agrees because his life in his world is boring, and he is curious to see what this world is like.
The woman who brought him across the river meets back up with him (she was absent while he was meeting with the mystics). She has changed into ordinary clothes and they step out of the nexus dimension into a storage room in a school that seems very much like one in his world. It turns out that she is actually a pretty normal college student (outside of being a memeber of a strange cult of mystics). She introduces him to her friends (a guy and a girl). He quickly learns that he does possess some unusual powers in this other world, and he stays for awhile. Although there are encounters with some mystic dangers in this other world, the series would focus heavily on the relationships between the four major characters.
Now, this summary naturally glosses over a lot, like the personalities of the major characters and such. And magic in the other world, how it relates to mundane life and such, but this does get the basics across if anyone ever comes here and sees this...I hope not, for their sake.
What is your target audience? This treatment reads like it is aimed at women, teen to early 30s.
I think almost any idea can be a good story, if you make it plausible and support the suspension of disbelief.
I'd recommend an outline, to address the basic questions your readers will have: why is there a nexus between worlds? What is his destiny going to be? Why are the mystics commited to whatever they've been doing? If you have the causes and effects clear in your own mind, then you will be able to fill in more easily. You'll be able to pick and choose what to share with the audience.
Readers like to be rewarded, to know that everything has a purpose in the story. For example, " young woman in a white robe". Did I need to know her robe was white? What is that telling me about her? Is she good/pure/holy? What does the color white symbolize? Will there be other colors mentioned, that will help me keep track of the characters? Where did she get a robe? Is it a cheap halloween costume? Was it ordered from a theatrical supply company? Did she join a church choir just to get a robe?
Posted by: LD50 at June 21, 2007 09:18 PM (aqV/Y)
Oh, by the way, if you want to put drafts of a story on your blog, be sure to note that they are copyrighted (c). Designating your work as copyrighted protects your rights to it, and you don't need to register with any authority.
If it is a choice between never getting your story started, or putting parts of it on a blog to get feedback, I say go for it!
Posted by: LD50 at June 21, 2007 09:23 PM (aqV/Y)
Target audience? Hmm...considering it now, I can see why it would come off as being directed at young women. I happen to be a bit of a romantic at heart, and this does come off displaying that with the focus of the relationships.
As for the robe, it is white because it is the way I first envisioned it. It has to do with her role within the order of mystics. The order has a long tradition, and those that wait within the nexus for the destined being have always worn white while they take their shifts there.
I may get some sort of outline up eventually. This idea is less developed than most of my ideas (being more recent). I'll see...
Oh, and thank you for your comments.
Posted by: Arson55 at June 22, 2007 02:17 PM (/JGtb)
If you're serious about wanting to get into tv writing, i would recommend you visit this site...
It's the gold standard for tv writers. Also, you will need to get proper software that will format for you. That'll run you a couple of hundred bucks. Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter are the two biggies, but there is some way you can set Word up to format for you. I would suggest a google search, and you can find scripts and see how they're formatted to get an idea.
They say a general rule of thumb is that one page of script is equal to one minute of screen time. Also, for screenwriting/tv writing, they say, "show, don't tell." For example, in writing for a novel, you try to be as descriptive as possible to paint a picture for your reader, but when writing for the screen, you try to "get to the point" and allow the action on the screen do the explaining.
For example, in a novel, you might have...
The battle-hardened general sits behind his large wooden desk. He is a grisled man, with a chiseled face and battleship gray hair. The years have not been kind to this man of 55. He has seen his share of war and violence, having earned a Medal of Honor for saving his entire platoon when he singlehandedly took out an insurgent stronghold in Baqouba with nothing more than his trusty, pearl-handled, Colt 45 and a grenade launcher. He is a deeply committed family man, who loves his wife and still mourns the loss of his son who suffered a broken neck while competing in a downhill skiing event. Etc., etc., etc.
In a script, it would be more like this...
INT. GENERAL'S OFFICE -- DAY
A MAN in a military uniform sits behind a desk. His gray hair seems out of place for his fifty something year old body, and twenty something year old physique.
On his desk, we see a framed Medal of Honor which sits next to a framed newspaper clipping. The title reads:
"SKIER KILLED IN MOGUL COMPETITION"
The man is holding a framed picture. We see that it is a picture of himself, a WOMAN, and a YOUNG MAN that was taken at a ski resort.
A tear drops on the picture.
Anyway, go check out tvwriter, if you're interested. It's run by Larry Brody who has extensive television writing and producing experience. He also has a writer's workshop in Arkansas, and i think he may even do online courses. As for pitching your idea, there are workshops for that too, but i think it's hard to get your foot in the door to actually pitch it to somebody who can make something happen.
Posted by: username at July 10, 2007 11:39 PM (ntvZ+)
Username, thank you for your comment.
I'd heard that one page equals one minute (I have a tendancy to watch TV shows and movies I like with commentary on). I will take the time to look at the site you mentioned if I ever have the urge to expand on this idea further. Thank you, again...
Posted by: Arson55 at July 11, 2007 07:27 PM (+Y0gP)
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