By Terri Darling
Along with romance, I write in a lot of other genres because, well, that’s how my brain works. If I stick with any one thing for too long and I get incredibly antsy. My writing suffers. My family suffers. So rather than make everyone suffer, I switch things up and keep everyone happy.
|Terri Darling - sort of|
(DISCLAIMER: writing in a lot of different genres, like working in a lot of different jobs, is not the quickest route to financial success…but it’s a lot of fun.)
But how did I get into screenplays specifically?
To start with, it should have been a no-brainer. My biggest interests growing up were all creative—writing, drawing, acting, singing. Over the years, with a few things like becoming a lawyer and full-time parent intervening, they got narrowed down to acting and writing. Why not combine them?
Reality set in when I spent about eighteen years writing and submitting novels and found it wasn’t so easy. And I sure wasn’t going to take on scriptwriting and Hollywood (where they eat their young) if I couldn’t make it past some fresh-faced, college-grad slush reader in New York.
Then the world changed. Suddenly we had digital publishing. I jumped in and…wow. Riches? Not yet. But consistent sales. Total freedom. Total control. A way to create a story and put it out there for people all over the world to buy. Talk about a golden age of opportunity.
Coincidentally, I finally stepped back into acting (which I’d put aside to raise kids), started reading and analyzing and acting the heck out of dozens and dozens of scripts, and realized three things: 1) I could write stuff better than some of this dreck, 2) I didn’t have to do Hollywood at all because movie makers now had YouTube and Vimeo, not to mention cheap video equipment and easy electronic submissions to film festivals, and 3) I needed to act in some well-written shorts to boost my star meter on IMDb.
So I bought a copy of Final Draft to handle all the formatting stuff (genius easy), and banged out ascript for a 12-minute short I’d been thinking about for quite some time. The actual writing from a fully-formed idea took about three days. I’ve got most of my crew ready to go. Still have to cast the other actors. Looking forward to the next stages with both overwhelm and excitement. Stay tuned.
Similarity to fiction writing: You read a bunch of a bunch of scripts (and probably books on screenwriting) to understand the form, just like you read lots of novels to understand novels, but at their hearts, screenplays are just story and character.
Biggest difference: While you can just write a story and either submit it or indie publish it, getting a screenplay to a place where people can view it (because only actors and directors read these things) almost always takes a team of people.
Author bio: Terri Darling is the romance pseudonym for a prolific Pacific Northwest author/actor who also writes literary, SF, fantasy, horror, erotica, mystery, and mainstream. You can find her romance novels, short stories, and collections every major e-book seller. Paperback versions coming soon.