I was really overwhelmed when I first tried to tackle writing it and I found a really simple way to get started with the script at least. Having a simple process can really help if you don’t know where to start. There are basically three steps. I’ll post examples using the script I’ve been developing.
1. Write a 1-2 Paragraph Synopsis of your story.
Synopsis: Paden is the young Warden of an old dragon. When a dragon dies it is said that its Warden must sacrifice himself so that another dragon will replace it. Paden’s dragon becomes ill and Erin, his love interest, becomes depressed because she knows he will leave forever soon. The dragon dies and gives Paden his kuroiflamme which he takes and runs off with. After a long journey Paden finally collapses. A blinding flash occurs and a mountain forms with a new dragon uncurling its wings at the top of the mountain.
Erin has been inconsolable for the past couple of weeks since Paden left. She looks up out over the horizon and sees a dragon coming back. She runs to the bay to greet it and sees a scar on the dragon’s face that had been in the same position on the Paden’s face. She smiles as she looks up at him with tears in her eyes.
2. Page planning – Here you figure out how many pages you need to tell each part of the story. This helps with pacing the story. My story is 31 pages long including a title page.
1: Title Page
2-5: Paden is taking care of the dragon. Erin enters and brings him a tray of food and he smiles at her, they share lunch together
6-7: Paden’s dragon acted belligerently while Erin was there, Paden defends her and ends up with a gash down the left side of his face.
8-11: Erin feels horrible that he was injured because of her. She sits by his bed, Paden has the left side of his face bandaged. Paden calms her and they embrace.
12: Paden enters his dragon’s chambers to find it sick. He calls out for help and soon there are lots of people working to figure out what is wrong. Erin looks on from afar distressed.
13: The dragon dies and gives Paden his kuroiflamme (black flame) and he leaves the Pillar with one last look back at Erin
14-17: Paden runs far to the south through varying terrain in search of the dragon. Erin grieves while looking out of a window facing south.
18-19: Paden is unable to find any sign of dragons and continues searching. Erin sits now in front of the window and turns down food that is offered.
20: Paden finally reaches his limit and lays down, says his apologies to Erin whom he sees in his thoughts.
21: Paden’s body is consumed by the black fire and a large flash occurs.
22-23: The ground shakes and a pillar of black fire rises to the sky. A new mountain rises up out of the ground and on the top of the mountain a dragon unfurls its wings.
24-25: Erin’s mother looks in worried on her. The food that sits on the table next to her lays untouched. She decides she must force Erin to eat otherwise she will waste away.
26: In the midst of their fight, they hear the cry of the dragon to the south.
27: Erin stands up weakly leaning on her mother for support.
28: She is helped down to the waiting area with her mother and she sits.
29-30: People dash around preparing the newly arrived dragon
31: She is finally let in and sees the dragon. Sees the scar on its face – the same as Paden’s and smiles.
3. Page Details. This is the last step of the script writing. Go into detail what is happening on each page. You can go into further detail by describing each panel or just leave it as a loose paragraph of action and dialogue. This can get pretty long so I’ve only included the first couple of pages for my script.
Page 1: Title Page
Description: Incorporate Paden, Erin and Paden in his dragon form together.
Page 2-5: Paden is taking care of the dragon. Erin enters and brings him a tray of food and he smiles at her, they share lunch together
Panel 1: Erin is walking down the hallway holding a tray of food. It’s the first time she’s been allowed to enter a dragon’s chambers. She’s nervous.
Panel 2: Erin stops in front of a pair of doors and practically drops her trays from a tremor that passes down the hallway. She lets out an “Eeek!”
Panel 3: She sucks in her breath and pulls open the door
Panel 4: Erin enters into an anteroom that has a large open door at the other side. It’s dark in the anteroom most of its light coming from the room opposite. She looks worried.
Panel 5: Erin walks through the middle of the anteroom staying in the light that flows in from the door opposite. A voice comes from the room. “Aww, come on Salin.”
Panel 1: Erin enters into the light of the room and looks surprised.
Panel 2: Paden is standing with a toothbrush. “You know I hate doing this as much as you do.”
Panel 3: Paden looks around when he hears a giggle from Erin.
Panel 4: Erin has set the tray down on a small table to the side of the large door and has a hand held over her mouth.
Panel 5: Paden flushes a little as he notices Erin and turns away from her.
Panel 1: Paden looks up at Salin and whispers, “Don’t make me look bad in front of her.”
Panel 2: Salin tilts his head and looks at Erin as Paden turns back to her and gives a crooked smile.
Panel 3: Paden turns back to Salin and whispers “Please”
Panel 4: Salin drops his head with a grumble
Panel 5: Paden lifts the mouth up and holds it open with one foot on the bottom jaw and one hand holding it up. He holds the toothbrush in the other hand.
Panel 6: He begins to brush and turns his head to smile at Erin and Erin smiles back.
Panel 1: He brushes too vigorously while he looks back at Erin and foam is going everywhere.
Panel 2: Salin’s stomach grumbles and smoke rises from his mouth as the foam continues to fly everywhere.
Panel 3: Erin stands up looking worried and says “Um…” with one hand clutching her dress and the other stretched out in front of her. Paden looks at her confused as another large grumble erupts
Panel 4: Paden looks back in time for Salin to belch flame
When you’re doing a short story you don’t need to worry about all of the fine details for each character. I think in many ways it’s better to just have an idea because ideas are easy to change as they need to be. Once you start writing ideas down, they become much harder to change and then you start trying to make things conform to them rather than making the ideas conform to the story.
Just as a disclaimer, the setting for this story was one that I wrote about and developed for my Nanowrimo novel this past November. So I have written quite a bit about the world in which these characters live – 50,000 words or so to be precise. If you don’t want to spend time writing backstory or other things just fall back on the real world, or things you know.
I hope this helps some of you in your script writing or just planning. I know it really helped me when I first tried using it.
Tutorial © 2010 nisaren. All rights reserved. This article was originally posted in the MaMo 2011 forum on January 27, 2011.