Every Wednesday from now until the end of the world, or the blog, I’m going to post a random bit of writing: a rhyme, something from an old folder or a work in progress, or if all else fails whatever random thing I scribbled down during the free-write warm up of my Tuesday Night Writers Club.
This week I ran the Club, to a disappointingly low turnout: only 10! I think I scared them off with all that talk of thinking up a Hollywood blockbuster and describing the whole story in just 8 sentences. ANYway, I’m now going to share the blockbusting example I used to illustrate the opening exercise: to wit, an imaginary high school drama, described in only eight sentences. And it was called…
Sentence 1: Introduce the Hero, and the Villain.
Cool jock Johnny Orle-Starr is the most popular senior at Grapevine High, and he wants to work on the student newspaper – but grumpy Literature teacher Mr Meanman won’t let him.
Sentence 2: Say why these characters are in conflict.
Johnny is the top quarterback of the baseball soccer team, who are of course nicknamed “the Tigers”, but everybody at the school thinks he’s all charm and muscle but no brains, while Mr Meanman doesn’t even give him that much credit.
Sentence 3: The Hero uses bad tactics to get what they want…
Johnny uses his popularity to deceitfully romance the school newspaper’s nerdy editor, the secretly-hot-behind-her-glasses Sally Inkwell, and to Mr Meanman’s horror she lets him join.
Sentence 4: …and those bad tactics make everything worse!
Howevr, when Sally stops consentrating on her work, the paper becomse so full of typoes that Mr Meanmann steps in, assighning Jonnie complicated articals that he has no hope of doing propperly.
Sentence 5: The Hero’s whole life starts to fall apart…
Overcome by the pressure, Johnny stops performing on the field, and when he criticises the rest of the team for not dodging enough balls he is dropped by the coach… then he blames poor Sally and makes her cry!
Sentence 6: …but the Hero comes up with a better plan.
After much soul-searching to a pop-music montage, Johnny writes Sally a sincere letter of apology, explaining about the pressure he and the team feel with the whole school always expecting success.
Sentence 7: The new plan begins to work!
Touched by his unexpected humility, Sally forgives Johnny, and without his knowledge publishes his letter as an article in the school paper, which everyone loves (except for Mr Meanman)!
Sentence 8: How the story ends — in victory!
When the coach puts Johnny back in the team he scores a winning hole-in-one, then at graduation Mr Meanman is forced to give him the Best Article Award, and Sally becomes his girlfriend!
…hey, nobody said these stories had to be good.
Well, there you have it: follow these Eight Easy Steps and you too can get an award winning* movie concept greenlit* before Stephen Spielberg’s elevator reaches the production office floor!
* DISCLAIMER: project greenlighting and award win not guaranteed