Monday, February 14, 2011

The Writing Week (Vol. 4) part 163 - Outlining the Horror Script

Most of my focus the past week has been devoted to outlining my horror spec, which revolves around a mysterious disappearance. There were a a few early plot points and character relationships that I found begged a thorough understanding before I could layout Act One. Sometimes, certain situations can remain vague, even to me, for a while as the rest of the early plot points fall into place. Not the case this time around. So, for a few days, I was stuck on those bits before I could proceed - even though I had an idea of what was to come. 
Once those details were sorted out, the rest of Act One fell pretty neatly into place. The bulk of the mystery and creepiness is going to play out in Act Two. Right now, I know what the next scene will be - the first in the dreaded Act Two - but I don't know much at all beyond that. Horror is a new genre for me (with the exception of a slasher flick I wrote in high school before I had any real understanding of story structure), and I'm not quite sure how best to proceed. 

In situations like this, I find that one of the most basic pieces of advice beginning writers get applies again. One of the best ways to determine how I should proceed is for me to read and watch a lot of successful examples of what I am trying to do. I've found a handful of horror scripts online that are in the same family as my idea, and my Netflix queue is filling up with films I should watch or, in many cases, re-watch. Horror, to me, is often laid out like an action script would be, with increasing stakes and heart-pumping scenes, spaced out by calming moments that set up the next big action. While that's how I'm going to proceed, I know that familiarizing myself with the genre even more is a must.

I have to say, though, even though I'm a little stuck at this point, the prospect of soon having another script underway is invigorating. I haven't seriously worked on pages since October, and it'll be great to get back on that horse. (And, a quick aside about my opst-Apocalyptic spec - bet you forgot about that one - another big producer is reading it; we've gone to one studio so far and never heard back, so fingers crossed the producer is interested and has some great ideas for the next steps.)