When we think of scriptwriting (or any kind of writing, really), the image of a lone individual sitting at a desk in a quiet room inevitably comes to mind. Writing is a solitary pursuit, that much is undeniable. But it would not be entirely right to say that people are unnecessary to your writing journey. Past the obvious, that you need producers, directors, publishers and readers, to support your work, writers’ support groups and writing workshops can be useful as well.
How so, you may ask. For starters, writers have to be inspired. You need to have an idea of what you’re going to write and how you’re going to move your story forward. The dreaded writer’s block doesn’t have to be as debilitating as it seems. Hashing out ideas with people over coffee or beer can fire that spark within you and get you started on your story. Not only that, but talking about your ideas with people can get you suggestions on similar works that you can use for further inspiration.
Motivation is another problem writers often face. It is normal to have ideas (sometimes too many ideas) in your head, but not finding the drive to start writing them down. Having a support group consisting of fellow writers can give you that push to work on your scripts. You could even set each other deadlines, after which you do a table read of those scripts.
Scriptwriters have to always ensure that dialogue flows as naturally as possible. While there are writers who have an innate ability to get their dialogues perfectly set out in their heads, there are others who would need real-life inspiration. Observing group dynamics and the speech patterns of others can help you in this regard.
Criticism is another way a group can help you. You may think your script is perfect, or you could be wallowing in a pit of despair over how it just doesn’t seem to work. Either way, a group’s opinion can help you pin down the areas that need improvement and the areas where your script works fine. Who knows? They might even give you ideas on another scene or two to make that story work even better!
For writers of theatre scripts, the type of performance can also take many forms. Should you go experimental? Should you try bringing in elements from other disciplines like dance or music? Even before you start on your script, your group can give you ideas on the various directions you can go in, based on your initial idea. This can lead to drastically different products, depending on the direction you choose to go in.
Lastly, a supportive group of writers can give you the courage you need to pitch your script for production. For a writer, this can be extremely daunting – even more so if you’re a first-time writer. Rejection can be dispiriting, and you may give up. Personal stories and advice from your network can prove to be an invaluable resource. Who knows, they might even know someone who would be interested in your work!
As a writer, you’ve definitely signed up for a lot of solitary work. But that certainly doesn’t mean that you should exclude people from your writing. After all, you do write for an audience. There really is no reason you should wait till the end to share your work. Involving others in the writing process can be useful in helping you refine your ideas along the way and give you more confidence in your writing.