It’s difficult to tell sometimes if the idea that you have is any good. Some people are blessed with the ability to brainstorm ideas at will, with great story idea following good story idea. But how do you know if your idea is actually any good?
Tweet your story idea
Twitter (follow me here should you wish) is unique as it gives you only 140 characters to express a sentiment. And this is where I think that it can actually help writers, whatever stage of development something is in.
There are a few easy steps to follow.
- Find that script you’ve been writing. Or that one that you started writing then gave up on, because you just didn’t know where it was going.
- Explain it on twitter (you don’t have to have to post it of course, just keep it to the character limit).
Why tweet it?
Well, of course, you don’t have to tweet it. You can keep it to yourself. The important thing is that you can explain your idea in as short a way as possible.
I have found over the course of the year that I have many different ideas. Loads of ideas. However, many of these end up as tangled webs of convoluted storylines, twisting themselves from moralistic to immoral to insane to boring. It is only when I sit down and think – really think – about what I want a story to say, that I can begin to rewrite. It is only once I’ve a clear target to shoot at that I realise what I’m trying to do, and more importantly, where I’m going next.
The advantages to you
Log lines are all very good, and fulfill a purpose. But they are intended to intrigue, not explain. In this tweet you are writing, try and get some sense of the overall story across. Don’t worry if you’re revealing a twist or a surprise – remember this is to clarify the story for YOU, no one else is going to read it. Once you know what you are trying to say you’ll be surprised how easily that difficult scene can be fixed, or that plot hole filled.
The other reason of course, is that ideally, you want to get this put on, right? You want someone to part with money for the rights, or to produce it? What are you going to say to them when they ask for an idea of what your play/TV/film is about? This exercise will show you the difference between planning a talk for ten minutes about your ideas, your aims and your goals – and (figuratively) smacking them in the face with a tight, intriguing and forceful sentence.
If they like it and ask you to expand, that’s when you start talking for longer. Trust me, I know. I’ve seen that glazed over look in someone’s eyes when they switch off. It’s not nice for you, and it’s not really nice for them.
Who should you do this with?
This is a good test to run with beta readers, as they will be able to tell you if your story idea is any good, or could do with some improvement.
I’m now off to try and finish a ‘dark and moody play about coming to terms with loss, separation and the undermining of…
But that’s too long.