How to structure our story and not die in the attempt
- What is a script outline?
- What is its purpose?
- What are the indispensable elements:
WHAT IS THE SCRIPT OUTLINE?
When writing any narrative piece, be it a novel, for the stage, or for the screen, there will always be methods that work better than others for each writer. At the end of the day, the truth is that everyone does things differently.
However, sooner or later, whatever the format or circumstances, our story needs to have a sequential coherence that carries the narrative, leading the reader or viewer to the last page along that path we chose for them.
For this reason, building such a framework can feel tortuous, especially as many times our idea is strong at a general level (for example, in synopsis format) but when it comes to breaking the plot down into sequences, we realize that not everything is as clear as it seemed in our head.
The structure falters, the characters are diluted, or we keep bumping into dead ends or creative blocks. And that’s ok — it’s normal and not a reflection on us as storytellers. The problem is that perhaps we’ve leaped into the swimming pool a little too soon, without taking the precautions to ensure we stay afloat.
The truth is that when we have a firm premise in mind, the first thing we want to do is shape the script and reach the last page. Our initial impulse is to sprint to the end, which often results in weak first drafts, meaning we have to start the second version almost from scratch.
There are some prior steps we can take before writing, helping us both sequentially structure our story, and solidify what we want to talk about with our project. In short, they will save us many future headaches.
This is where the Script Outline comes in.