The folks behind NaNoWriMo — aka “let’s everyone write a novel in a month” — are at it again.
This time, the NaNoWriMo team — newly re-christened The Office of Letters and Light — is introducing Script Frenzy, aka “let’s everyone write a screenplay (or stage play) in a month”. And, not to break with tradition, they picked a month — June — with only 30 days.
They’ve got some good articles on screenwriting on their site. I’ve already followed their advice by reading the screenplays for two movies I already know well. (Oddly enough, I managed to pick two that both starred Bill Murray and were both directed by Harold Ramis: Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day (PDF).)
Even if you think the idea of writing a screenplay sounds a little too crazy, I really would recommend reading some screenplays (their Web site has some links to screenplay sites to get you started). It was really cool to see, not just how a screenplay is formatted and how it flows, but also to see early drafts of movies I already know. I was really interested to see places where the early script kind of rambled, that had been tightened up in the final movie — and on the other side, to see bits of dialogue that were virtually untouched from the early draft clear through to the final cut. You never get to see early drafts of the books you read, but early drafts of movie scripts are out there to see. Very worth reading for any kind of writer — everyone talks about how important editing and revising are, but here you can get a chance to actually see what they look like.