DIY TV WRITING: THE TEMPLATE

Below is a TV show template I created based off of Three Act Structure, Michael Hauge’s Five Key Turning Points , The Eight Sequence Structure, the Hero’s Journey and the Heroine’s Journey. Incorporating Teaser, Cliffhanger and or Denouement specifically for Television purposes. Best way to start writing your pilot!

Enjoy! ❤

TIP: Use this structure as a worksheet, fill in each line with brainstorming ideas and use it as a cheat sheet for your pilot episode!

TEASER [~3-6 pages]

Inciting Incident

ACT I  [~13ish pages]

*SEQUENCE 1*
The Setup, The Status Quo
Heroine’s Journey: Illusion of the perfect world
Hero’s Journey: Ordinary world, Call to Action/Adventure

THE OPPROTUNITY [Turning Point #1] ~10-13%

*SEQUENCE 2*
New Situation
Predicament
Lock-In
Heroine’s Journey: Shattering of Illusion, Realization or Betrayal
Hero’s Journey: Refusal of the Call, Meeting the Mentor

CHANGE OF PLANS [Turning Point #2] ~%25

ACT II [~24 pages]

*SEQUENCE 3*
Progress
1st obstacle/Rising Stakes
Heroine’s Journey: Awakening & Preparing for Journey
Hero’s Journey: Crossing the Threshold
*SEQUENCE 4*
1st culmination
Midpoint
Heroine’s Journey: Descent
Hero’s Journey: Tests, Allies, & Enemies

POINT OF NO RETURN [Turning Point #3] ~50%

*SEQUENCE 5*
Complications/Rising Action
Subplot
Heroine’s Journey: Eye of the storm
Hero’s Journey: Approach
*SEQUENCE 6*
Higher Stakes
Main Culmination
Heroine’s Journey: Death- All is lost
Hero’s Journey: Ordeal, Death & Resurrection

MAJOR SETBACK [Turning Point #4] ~75%

ACT III [~13 pages]

*SEQUENCE 7*
Final Push
New Tension and or Twist (Monkey Wrench)
Heroine’s Journey: Support & Rebirth
Hero’s Journey: Reward, Seizing the Sword

CLIMAX [Turning Point #5]   ~? 85-99%

*SEQUENCE 8*
Aftermath
Resolution
Heroine’s Journey: Rebirth & Return to Perfect World
Hero’s Journey: The Road Back; Resurrection; Return w/ the Elixir

{DENOUEMENT/CLIFFHANGER}

Standard operating procedure 1 PAGE = Aprox 1 MINUTE filming ( this isn’t strictly true, but its a good frame of reference. Some genres, like Sci-Fi, have more description in the script that doesn’t add to film time, but in general these large descriptions should be avoided).
1 Hour serialized drama averages about 58 mins. With commercial breaks averages around 45 mins.

Nothing is set in stone of course, but it’s a good place to start!

Word Porn: Science that sounds like poetry

Luminiferous Aether

lu·mi·nif·er·ous e·ther
adjective + noun
In the late 19th century, luminiferous aether or ether, meaning light-bearing aether, was the term used to describe a medium for the propagation of light.

 

Passive Margin

pas·sive mar·gin
noun(?)
A passive margin is the transition between oceanic and continental lithosphere which is not an active plate margin. It is constructed by sedimentation above an ancient rift, now marked by transitional lithosphere. Continental rifting creates new ocean basins.

 

Probability Amplitude

prob·a·bil·i·ty  am·pli·tude
noun(?)
In quantum mechanics, a probability amplitude is a complex number used in describing the behaviour of systems. The modulus squared of this quantity represents a probability or probability density.

 

Consonance

con·so·nance
noun
agreement or compatibility between opinions or actions.
  –
the recurrence of similar sounds, especially consonants, in close proximity (chiefly as used in prosody).
  –
the combination of notes that are in harmony with each other due to the relationship between their frequencies.
 –
plural noun: consonances

 

Lithosphere

lith·o·sphere
noun
the rigid outer part of the earth, consisting of the crust and upper mantle.

 

Resonation

(okay, I conjugated this one out of thin air)

res·o·na·tion
noun
The act of resonating.

 

Entanglement

en·tan·gle·ment
noun
Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon that occurs when pairs or groups of particles are generated or interact in ways such that the quantum state of each particle cannot be described independently – instead, a quantum state may be given for the system as a whole.

 

Osmium

os·mi·um
noun
the chemical element of atomic number 76, a hard, dense silvery-white metal of the transition series.
symbol: Os

 

Uncertainty Principle

un·cer·tain·ty prin·ci·ple
noun

the principle that the momentum and position of a particle cannot both be precisely determined at the same time.

 

Spectral Decomposition

spec·tral de·com·po·si·tion

noun(?)
“Spectral Decomposition unravels the seismic signal into its constituent frequencies, which allows the user to see phase and amplitude tuned to specific wavelengths. The amplitude component excels at quantifying thickness variability and detecting lateral discontinuities while the phase component detects lateral discontinuities.” (OpendTect.org)

 

Equivalence principle

e·quiv·a·lence prin·ci·ple
noun

a basic postulate of general relativity, stating that at any point of space-time the effects of a gravitational field cannot be experimentally distinguished from those due to an accelerated frame of reference.

Writing Prompt Round-Up #1

an_afternoon_haunting_by_savageamber-d6sb97s

Bonus prompt! What is happening in this picture? An Afternoon Haunting

Fiction & Drama

“We’re just going to have to wait.” He said, standing against the endless blue sky, running his hands through his wavy hair.

A disfigured man, a fashionista, and a DJ on the run.

You lost your job, and then your home, you have no where else to go, and little to no money, how do you keep your family safe and fed?

A young man learns he is dying of a disease, a disease he has potentially given to many people he has loved, what does he do?

A man gets badly injured on the job, as they struggle to survive, his wife becomes addicted to his medication.

 

Fantasy

You are a lowly tavern wench but the Prince keeps coming to your bed, for lovemaking and advice on matters of state.

You see a dragon while hunting in the mountains, you try to tell your village but they do not believe you.

The Blue Sisters of Amongood, protectors of the ancient maps.

The four treasures of the Tuatha De Dannan: a sword that always kills, a spear that always hits it mark, a stone that proclaims the king and a cauldron that heals any wounds.

Snow white and prince charming lose their castle to a bad mortgage deal and have to move in with the dwarfs. Grumpy is not happy about it at all…

A demon and an angel walk into a bar…

 

Horror

You are standing in your back yard happy as a clam, when you realize the crickets and frogs have suddenly gone silent.

Everyday a man puts wildflowers on the same three graves.

Whenever you drive by the place your loved one died, your car malfunctions.

Every night, just before you go to sleep, you hear someone calling your name…

A high schooler mentions to her friends about a scary dream she had, when it comes true, she has no more friends.

You are driving home. The fog becomes so thick you are forced to pull over. When you get out to look for the road again, you lose your car too…

A nerdy software developer mistakenly ends up at a vampire bar.

 

Thriller

A trail of blood through the snow.

You go outside on a snowy winter’s evening and notice footprints in your yard. Following them, they lead all the way back around the house and stop at your front door.

You pull up to a traffic light during rush hour on a bridge, you hear faint screaming that seems to be coming from the gully below.

A man comes home to find a sheet of plastic over his living room floor with a chair in the middle of it. A length of rope and a roll of duct tape sit next to it.

A young woman running away from an abusive family, a bank robber & a bounty hunter.

A Beach for Dying

 

Steampunk

Your zeppelin crash lands in Algonquin territory.

The Pirate Queen of Air Fleet Five

A Victorian woman invents an engine that runs off air, but no one will listen to her since she is female. She decides to dress up like a man…

The Flying Bathtub: Two young children and an old retired pilot create a hot air balloon and strap it a bathtub in order to escape the Germans in a steampunk WWII.

 

Comedy

You and a partner are professional diversionists. People hire you to make distractions, diversions etc.

You are at a swanky party, soiree, thingy, you’ve just had an explosive, uh, visit to the toilet, but there happens to be NO TOILET PAPER. What do you do?

Write about the most awkward moment of your life. Rewrite it until the prose itself is so awkward, it makes you shiver just reading it.

 

Sci Fi

Grey Aliens are just humans who have been born in space.

A large solar flare shuts all electronics off for exactly 8 minutes. What are the consequences?

Take a cultural myth, urban legend or fairy tale and give it a scientific explanation.

A bomb goes off in a populated city. When you analyze it you find it is made from non-terrestrial minerals.

A linguistics student finds an ancient clay tablet that clearly describes a colony on mars.

You meet someone who claims to be eight thousand years old.

Your characters are on a lengthy mission into space. When they return they crash land near the city of Armana, toward the end of  the reign of Pharaoh Akhenaten, the year 1333 BC.

An amateur scientist discovers the secret to immortality. When he publishes it, someone makes an attempt on his life.

You volunteer for the first one-way ticket to Mars.

Space gypsies, vagabonds who travel in their spaceships from space colony to space colony, planet to planet, grifters, or a homeless family in space.

 

 

 

The Pauli Exclusion Pricinple & Science Fiction: A Ramble

CYA: I am NOT a physicist, this is just the stuff of dust motes from an overreaching mind. Time Travel and Alternate Universe Touristing are dangerous and should not be attempted at home!

The Pauli Exclusion Principle

So if you’re an accidental nerd like me, you’ve probably heard the Pauli Exclusion Principle being thrown around in sci fi forums, in works of science fiction themselves, or used as a pseudo cultural law concerning Time Travel. It is most noted as a reason you cannot make contact with your future/past self in time travel epics.

Relatively recently, it was also used in the TV show FRINGE as the hinge science, yes, I just did that, which (apparently) explained the melding & or collision of universes, which of course was the main conflict, and what drove the entire series forward. The blatant name dropping was accompanied by a neat little visual of two snow globes colliding, the ultimate result, we were told, was that only one universe could survive, because of you know, that incredibly complicated thing we talk so easily about: the Pauli Exclusion Principle.

However, as we’re about to learn, it is most often misused, and no, if you found your future self and shook her hand, you would not implode, or the universe would not end. At least, not because of the Pauli Exclusion Principle. It might happen for other reasons…

First, what the hell is the Pauli Exclusion Principle? According to the Gods of Wiki:

The Pauli exclusion principle is the quantum mechanical principle that two identical fermions (particles with half-integer spin) cannot occupy the same quantum state simultaneously. In the case of electrons, it can be stated as follows, It is impossible for two electrons of a poly-electron atom to have the same values of the four quantum numbers (n, , m and ms). For two electrons residing in the same orbital, n, , and m are the same, so ms must be different and the electrons have opposite spins. This principle was formulated by Austrian physicist Wolfgang Pauli in 1925.

Yeah, don’t worry, I got lost at Fermions too…

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Unless you are a Quantum Mechanics groupie, all you need to know about the Pauli Exclusion Principle is that no two electrons can ever be in the same quantum state.

This of course has been translated to: you can’t have two of you or else KABLOOM! Bad shit rains down from the heavens and hits the proverbial fan.

You can purchase this wonderful print  here

You can purchase this wonderful print here

However, there are major holes with this theory, so here we go:

1. This is assuming that if you are a time traveler (or a tourist from another dimension) then the “other” version of you is exactly the same matter as you are. So far, besides some kind of esoteric metaphysical philosophical bridge (which I’m okay with, by the way) there is no science to back this up. As far as I can tell, you two, while being genetically identical (maybe), the molecules of your bodies are independent and unique.

Think of it like this: two atoms can be hanging out right next to each other, in fact, these atoms are twins, or even the same atom from alternate universes, OR one atom is a time traveling version of the other atom, (oh goddess, my brain hurts) however you want to think about it, the two atoms are virtually indistinguishable from one another, and in fact, each atom follows the Pauli Exclusion Principle, and each has electrons in the exact same states as each other.

The Pauli Exclusion Principle deals with the electrons in a single atom, not the ones hanging out in the theoretical time traveling alternate twin atom sitting in the next seat over. So while the electrons in one atom can’t be in the same state, the electrons in the atom next to us CAN be in the same state.

Are you still with me?

2. The cells in your body decay at a such a rapid rate, even if the two of you were the exact same matter somehow metaphysically, you wouldn’t actually be the same matter physically, because the cells in our bodies literally replace themselves completely over 7 years, so as long as you travel back (or forward) with a 7 year difference matter has since (or hasn’t yet) been replaced. Follow me?

3. Furthermore, in order to actually accomplish this theoretical KABLOOEY KAPOW BADABOOM! You would still need some kind of spooky mystical quantum meld with the other version of you, because simply shaking Future Girl’s hand isn’t going to physically make any of your atoms share the exact quantum state as hers. Even touching, atoms, not to mention itty bitty little bastard particles like fermions, don’t necessarily share the “space” let alone their so-called quantum states. If you were able to somehow pull off this mystical quantum meld, the likeliest result is that one of you ABSORBS the other, or else you simply become one. Now here, you might be able to argue that the world from which the version of you that is absorbed hails from collapses, but then we’re into the many worlds theorem and it really doesn’t correlate with the Pauli Exclusion Principle, yet anyway.

In here somewhere is a pun about parasitic twins, cannibalism &  dimorphic biology, but whatever.

 

A DEEPER LOOK FOR THE GROUPIES

image0021The Pauli Exclusion Principle, is, essentially, used to explain the “capacity of the various electron shells and sub-shells” in atomic structure. It is highly likely that you learned about atomic structure in high school, also highly likely that you never actually took a moment to understand why atoms look the way they do. Don’t worry, I didn’t either. Here’s Pauli!

So Fermions are like little bastard particles that have odd, half integer spins. I know, I know, just bear with me. Fermions are different from Bosons, who have whole integer spins. So a fermion is 1/2, 2/3 etc. and a boson is 1, 0 etc. Now, here is where the little tricky dicks get trickier, because Fermions are only fermions because they follow the PAULI EXCLUSION PRINCIPLE! But Bosons DO NOT.

WHAT? My brain just exploded and it WAS from the Pauli Exclusion Principle. Call the presses.

Because all fermions somehow magically follow the Pauli Exclusion Principle, they cannot exist, or co-habitate the same quantum state at the same time. Huh? All I got from that is the poor little loners can’t share a desk while coworking….

Okay, lets break it down now: what this is really saying is that you can only have a maximum of 2 electrons in the same place at the same time and those guys have to have an opposite spin.

Right, now we’re getting somewhere usable.

200px-Stylised_Lithium_AtomSo actually, you CAN have 2 electrons in the same freaking place at the same freaking time, these electrons just have to be spinning OPPOSITE each other. But no other electrons can then occupy that state. Which, incidentally, is why atoms look the way they do, with little particles orbiting around the nucleus in “shells” that when viewed on a classroom chalkboard look eerily similar to the solar system, with planets and celestial bodies orbiting around the sun.

Yeah, when we think about it like that, it makes sense. Two planets can not be sharing the exact same orbit or else they’d be ONE PLANET not two. But what about this opposite spin shit? That still doesn’t make sense. There isn’t two Earths existing on the same plane and spinning opposite each other, right?

WAIT!

Or is there?

Dun Dun Dun….

And here, my friends, we come to the quantum mechanics mind &$%#.

 

A QUANTUM WORLD

Essentially, based on my peanut brain understanding, quantum mechanics is the underlying set of principles that are used to explain all quantum theory, whether they fall into physical “mechanics” or not.

Don’t effing worry about it, lets continue…

According to quantum mechanics, all electrons are both particles, AND waves. In fact, a father and son both won Nobel Prizes for their work in the subject, with one winning the prize for proving electrons are particles, and the other winning the prize some time later for proving that electrons are waves. Huh. So together, whether they wanted to or not (family rivalry much?) these nerds proved that electrons are BOTH particles and waves.

In more woo woo terms, every electron in the known universe appears to have some kind of a mystical mysterious witchy woo energetic soul twin, not exactly, but, oh well. They exist in the same freaking place (relatively) but they don’t actually inhabit the same exact space, because one is a particle and one is a wave. In one way, you can kind of (but not really) think of it as one being matter and the other energy.

Hmmm, okay, now we’re progressing. (Or are we!)

 

CONCLUSION (KIND OF)

It’s all theoretical physics anyway, and if it sounds made up, that is because basically, it is. But it wasn’t made up out of nowhere. There was a lot of time and thought put into it before/as it was being “made up”. And most of it has been tested to some level or another.

However, know that we don’t know everything. Our scope of understanding is limited to our perspective, and by looking at things in only one way, we will never see the solutions that already exist.

Theoretical science is all about breaking the rules and then figuring out how to unbreak them. And Science Fiction has a huge part in that process. But we can’t break the rules unless we (somewhat) understand them first. Instead of just throwing out an established principle to explain away your story, try approaching it from at least a relatively logical stand point from the beginning.

The further you take your understanding of the science you will use in your story, the more developed your story will become. Besides, I postulate that by delving into the philosophical physics of quantum mechanics, you will probably discover a whole new world of possibilities than the one you originally started with!

PS >> while I’m new to the Fringe Phenomena, and I’m happy to take a stab at its hinge science, I also watched five seasons worth of episodes in approximately 3 weeks, which I think speaks for itself.

PARTING PARTY WORDS

Know more than me about the Pauli Exclusion Principle (highly likely) then sound off below! Know some uses in literature pop culture where it was done successfully? Not so successfully? A visitor from another universe with deep insight and experience? Please share in the comments…

Writing Exercise: Horror Stories From Fairy Tales & Nursery Rhymes.

A dark and unilluminated sect of our psyche’s exists in the realm of scared little children. Why? Because our fairy tales and nursery rhymes are freaking horror stories! Seriously, almost all of our popular fairy tales have some sort of sick, sadistic or brutal seed somewhere in there, way back in the day.

You can purchase this wonderful print here.

You can purchase this wonderful print here.

For example, in one version of Sleeping Beauty, the princess is raped, and gives birth, all while in A COMA. Oh yeah, that isn’t scary at all. Totally family friendly.

As if a poisoned apple isn’t bad enough, in Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs, Snow white is like, 9 or 16, depending on who you ask; the dwarves MAKE her work in exchange for their protection; and the evil stepmother queen eats the HEART and the LIVER she thinks is Snow White’s. Um, yeah, cannibalism we can deal with, but child labor laws aught not to be broken. Not to mention the pedophile prince. *shudder*

Children’s nursery rhymes and songs are just as terrifying. Ever heard of Little Bunny FooFoo? If you haven’t heard of him, it is because he’s dead, or a goon, or a viscous little shit standing over a pile of dead field mice. … boppin’ ‘im on the head.

How about that big bad, scary bee all these little kids are crushing? Hmmmm…I’m pretty sure the little Buddhist children would be appalled.

We can’t forget “The London Bridge is Falling Down.” Because, a childish reenactment of a bridge burning and collapsing and the possible reference to burying a virgin alive as a sacrifice is completely wholesome.

And of course, the rotten cherry on this disgustingly devious cake, we have “Ring Around the Posy” which is actually about the plague. :/

This is some seriously creepy shit, peoples.

As an acute sufferer of chronic writer’s block, I’ve come to learn the morbid truth: if you can’t write, research!

So for today’s assignment, pick a fairy tale, nursery rhyme, or children’s game, research the origins as far back as you can go, and it may take a time or two, but eventually you are going to find a bat shit crazy little nugget dripping in pure, unadulterated horror. Now you’ve found a story, go!

Where’s the Diversity, Hollywood? Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blockbusters Overwhelmingly White, Male

Important part of reality. We need diverse books, and we need diverse representation in mainstream media….very thoughtful informational post. Must read!

the open book

Summer blockbuster season is in full swing. For many moviegoers, that means escaping to a galaxy far, far away—or perhaps just a different version of our own planet Earth—through science fiction and fantasy movies. As fans clamor for the latest cinematic thrills, we decided to focus our next Diversity Gap study on the level of racial and gender representation in these ever-popular genres that consistently rake in the big bucks for movie studios. We reviewed the top 100 domestic grossing sci-fi and fantasy films as reported by Box Office Mojo. The results were staggeringly disappointing, if not surprising in light of our past Diversity Gap studies of the Tony Awards, the Emmy Awards, the children’s book industry, The New York Times Top 10 Bestseller List, US politics, and the Academy Awards, where we analyzed multi-year samplings and found a disturbingly consistent lack of…

View original post 2,261 more words

Dirty Beautiful Words

A review of the new book of poetry, Dirty Beautiful Words by Brooklyn Brayl.
wpid-dirty-beautiful-words-cover.jpg

So, if the title didn’t get me, mellifluous as it is, I was hooked by the second poem. In Brooklyn’s own hand, “It’s all just poems I’ve bled before” and her words truly bleed with raw emotion.

The collection of poems is a larger than life yet humble coming out story of a transgendered soul struggling out of her cocoon. But this review isn’t about that, because Brooklyn’s words transcend her own hardship and she brings a voice not just to transgendered youth, non-binaries, queer gender, questioners, and those struggling with the seething monster we call identity, but also  to everyone who has ever looked in the mirror and been enchanted yet poisoned by what they saw.

There is much evocation here, without getting dreary and emo, a line that is often hard to walk with class, not to mention five inch heels.

Her words literally jump out at you and she creates a tension between the mundane and the mysterious, between the subtle and the erotic, between the god and the goddess.

Succinct social commentary woven with harsh truths and raw vulnerability make her lyrical poems something magical, a force all their own, and truly pleasurable to read.

A little dirty, a lot beautiful, and completely surprising, Brooklyn Brayl’s Dirty Beautiful Words is an excellent debut and brings a fresh, vibrant voice to a generation who is tired of saying what is expected and ready to tell it like it is.

I highly recommend this to anyone. You can find Dirty Beautiful Words on Amazon.

 

 

Phobias for your writing, character development, horror, thriller

Here is a new angle for your horror, thriller, or psychological stories. Perhaps vampires are people who simply suffer from Alliumphobia, Phengophobia?

Or maybe you use these phobias to bring depth and mood to your pieces. Which ones scare you? Chances are they scare your readers too.

Alternatively, you can use these phobias to develop your characters even if you story has nothing to do with horror. Even the bravest characters have fears….

Metrophobia – Fear or hatred of poetry.

Deipnophobia – fear of dinner parties.

Arithmophobia – fear of numbers.

Selenophobia – fear of the moon.

Octophobia – fear of the number 8.

Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia – fear of the number 666.

Sesquipedalophobia – fear of long words.

Alliumphobia – Fear of garlic.

Venustraphobia – fear of beautiful women.

Samhainophobia – Fear of Halloween.

Philophobia – Fear of falling in love.

Chirophobia – Fear of hands.

Paraskavedekatriaphobia – Fear of Friday the 13th.

Sciaphobia – Fear of Shadows.

Nyctohylophobia – Fear of the woods at night.

Panophobia – Fear of everything.

Aichmophobia- Fear of needles or pointed objects.

Anthophobia- Fear of flowers.

Asymmetriphobia- Fear of asymmetrical things.

Autophobia- Fear of being alone or of oneself.

Bacillophobia- Fear of microbes.

Barophobia- Fear of gravity.

Cacophobia- Fear of ugliness.

Catoptrophobia- Fear of mirrors.

Chromophobia or Chromatophobia- Fear of colors.

Chronophobia- Fear of time.

Chronomentrophobia- Fear of clocks.

Clinophobia- Fear of going to bed.

Coimetrophobia- Fear of cemeteries.

Decidophobia- Fear of making decisions.

Disposophobia- Fear of throwing stuff out. Hoarding.

Dysmorphophobia- Fear of deformity.

Eisoptrophobia- Fear of mirrors or of seeing oneself in a mirror.

Gephyrophobia or Gephydrophobia or Gephysrophobia- Fear of crossing bridges.

Haphephobia or Haptephobia- Fear of being touched.

Homichlophobia- Fear of fog.

Mnemophobia- Fear of memories.

Wiccaphobia: Fear of witches and witchcraft.

Verbophobia- Fear of words.

Trypanophobia- Fear of injections.

Theatrophobia- Fear of theatres.

Staurophobia- Fear of crosses or the crucifix.

Spectrophobia- Fear of specters or ghosts.

Somniphobia- Fear of sleep.

Sociophobia- Fear of society or people in general.

Snakephobia- Fear of snakes. (Ophidiophobia)

Seplophobia- Fear of decaying matter.

Potamophobia- Fear of rivers or running water.

Porphyrophobia- Fear of the color purple.

Photophobia- Fear of light.

Oneirophobia- Fear of dreams.

Philosophobia- Fear of philosophy.

Pogonophobia- Fear of beards.

Placophobia- Fear of tombstones.

Phengophobia- Fear of daylight or sunshine.

Onomatophobia- Fear of hearing a certain word or of names.

Oenophobia- Fear of wines.

Neophobia- Fear of anything new.

Nephophobia- Fear of clouds.

Noctiphobia- Fear of the night.

Nomatophobia- Fear of names.

Nosocomephobia- Fear of hospitals.

Found these here: http://phobialist.com/

Horror ( Screen) Writing Excercises & Prompts

So, I’m finally getting into horror. And for my horror buff friends: yes, you were right, I was a liar all along.

It took me some time to get here, and I had to convince myself I was writing “thriller” or “psycological thriller” for a while before I was able to come out of the boogey man’s closet and just admit: I fucking love scary shit. It just happens to be my “own brand” of scary shit. But at the end of the day, it is horror – a story that is designed to spook.

I personally love the slow, subtle, build up, of utter, absolute, ambiguous, oh my freaking god, what the eff is that, am I going crazy, kind of terror that delves not only into the outer world of monsters and mayhem, but also looks at what lurks within.

In the midst of all this, I decided to migrate my musing into Celtx and write in screenplay format. I think visually, I write my novels visually, and maybe my visuals are more important than my prose. Especially when we’re talking about haunted forests and The Thing with Two Faces.

And I sat down, looked at all the white, empty space, and basically had no where to go. I had a setting, which was seriously freaking me out, since I was staring at it out my back window, but where were the characters?

I googled “Horror screenwriting prompts” and surprise, I didn’t find what I was looking for. So I took a moment and attacked it in an epeological way: if I was a horror screenwriting professor, what kind of assignment would I give my students?

 

Horror (Screen) Writing Exercise #1

1. think of the most frightening setting possible. (Remember, your scary shit needs to scare you first, otherwise it wont stick to the page, or the screen.)

2. write down three things that are not usually associated with horror or spook, it can be objects like a tangerine, or a bottle of beer, or it could ideas, like love, honor, or courage, it could be people, like a newspaper delivery boy, or the milkman. Maybe try a combo of all three?

3. Now write a scene that begins in your setting and incorporate at least two of the three things, but here’s the kicker: make them scary or part of the spook of the scenery.

These aren’t set in stone, obviously, and who gives a rats patootie about what I think anyway, but remember these are prompts to get you going, not to define your novel or script. Although, they could, who knows? Maybe there is a haunted forest in which a haunted tangerine tree grows? Hmm…

 

Horror (Screen) Writing Exercise #2

That didn’t do it for you?

Write the scariest scene you can imagine and work on it until every detail in your mind is clear. What are the smells, the sounds, the colors, the mood. What does it make you think, feel? What part of the scene is scary. Is it just scary? Or are there certain elements that make it scary? Expound.

 

Horror (Screen) Writing Exercise #3

Write a juxtaposed scene where the setting is not scary or spooky at all, ie: a bright, warm summer day; or a little league baseball game; or playing with kittens or something like that. try to create a sense of well being and safety in your scene. Then smash through it with something horrifying.

 

Bonus Prompt!

I created this desktop wallpaper out of my own fears (see, I told you, I was a secret horror junkie). You can download the desktop wallpaper here, and write a scary story or scene based on it. wooooooooo……

The Raven Man

The Raven Man

 

Still stuck? Check out Diabolique Strategies for mischievous little provocations for your increased creepiness.

Hope you enjoyed this! If you have any prompts or exercises or advice, please share below. Happy slashing.