With apologies to Scott Myers http://www.gointothestory.com Also permanently linked here on the blog.
Yesterday I was struggling with the outline for a new script we are starting for a producer. The B Story was overtaking the A Story. I felt as though the entire story was just flopping around. I decided to take my own advice and go back to the character background. I just didn’t know enough about the central character—her background, her motivation, her shortcomings—to make the story pop. I was not deep enough into the story.
So, not that she was gun-shy about guys because the last one didn’t pan out—the deeper “first wound” that got here there. All of a sudden, the A story got richer and things started happening in my head.
The writing was just free-flow, stream-of-consciousness stuff about the character. No particular sentence structure. Phrases, words, her parents, what they did. No particular order, either.
At the end I had a better handle on the character and a better understanding of situations that would bring up conflict.
If a part of your story doesn’t feel strong it is not going to get fixed with more sparkling dialogue, or in this case a comedic moment (it’s a romantic comedy). The story will get better when you dig deeper, go back to the beginnings of story construction and do more work.
Logline, outline, character development, research: work them fully before you start writing.