The Power of Synopsis in Script Outlines

I’ve been hunkered down in creating the outline for my fourth musical theater work. A massive amount of time has been spent reviewing and refining my knowledge on the process and getting back in gear. Quite a bit of time has been spent on the outline. The reason is that my first script draft, at 70 pages, became so jumbled and confusing that I had to throw it out and start all over. My new approach begins with the outline.

But even with focusing on the outline, my work has quickly ballooned into 80 pages of notes. Not even notes about my specific musical but notes on different approaches to take to script writing. So again I started with a fresh outline of “beats” only to have that, at only 6 pages, start to become a fresh new spider’s web.

You know what process I skipped? The synopsis. And now that I have re-found the synopsis part of the process it is like a lightning bolt for my vision of structure.

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85 writing tips for play writers and screenplay authors

What is the one piece of advice you’ve received as a play writer or screenplay author that you wish someone had told you when you were starting out? That question was posed to a writer’s discussion group I belong to and here are over 85 answers.

Many of these are basic 101 type insights but I think even seasoned writers will find a few that will give them pause for thought. There are a few that say the same thing in different ways that I have kept in for reinforcement.  To a writer, a piece of advice worded in a new way can lead to a different thought process and outcome.

Also, there’s at least one tidbit on this list that most people would say is “wrong”; so keep your critical eye on these and consider each one not as a rule, but as an element to consider absorbing into your creative process.

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