Planning for the Frenzy

Since script frenzy starts tomorrow, I thought I’d share some of the planning I’m doing for the challenge.

First of all, I’ll admit I’m much better at writing prose, since I can describe the picture in my head. As with all of these challenges, I’m not allowed to write anything that would become part of the script (or novel). This year I’m writing an adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. If you don’t know the story, this post contains SPOILERS (and I recommend you find a copy of Jean Cocteau’s version and check it out. Don’t bother with the Disney version, bleh).

I know the fairy tale fairly well, in several incarnations, but I want it to read like a novel, with scenes and rounded characters, so I start with notes on the following subjects:

Characters — For the main characters and the main supporting characters, I’ll do notes on their appearance (or a drawing), and notes on their personality. Each of them gets a name, and with it an image of them will form in my head.

  • Beauty
  • Beauty’s father
  • Her seven sisters
  • the Beast
  • Any servants and townspeople, or lesser characters

I take some notes on what motivates them within the context of the plot. For Beauty and her sisters for example, I’ve figured out what they are most interested in (one embroiders endlessly, one stays in bed a lot) and what they ask their father to bring back from town (when Beauty asks for a rose, which gets them all into trouble). I also try to plan a change for the main characters to go through as the plot progresses.

Plot statement — This is to figure out the main conflict and what the characters do. Beauty’s sisters are selfish, so they ask for things their father can’t provide. Beauty solves the payment of the stolen rose by offering herself to the Beast. The Beast wants beauty to break the spell so he asks her to marry him. Normally, I’d accompany this portion with some sort of outline, but since I’m doing a script, I’m including the outline in the actual writing. We’ll find out if this is a good idea.

Moral Statement — This part is what I’m trying to say. For the planning stage, some people find it optional. I think it helps to guide the decisions I make when throwing the words on the paper.

For Beauty and the Beast my initial ideas are:

  • Don’t trust your eyes
  • beauty/worth can be below the surface
  • transformations (especially unexpected)

These may change as I get deeper in.

I’ve also got notes on the roles of the protagonists and antagonists and other bitty ideas that come to me while I’m planning.

Some people don’t like to plan because it stifles creativity. The trick is not to plan too much. Just enough so that all you know who it is and what you are dealing with. It’s dispiriting and wastes too much time to do that stuff in the middle of the throes of a first draft (especially when under a deadline).

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