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Writing a script is not easy, but it can be a very worthwhile experience and in some ways it can suit certain people better than trying to churn out a novel.   There’s no doubt thought that just getting to the end of your first script can be quite a challenge.  There are however certain steps that most script wirters follow that make the process a little easier.

Of course to start off with you need an idea, but it needs a little more than that – you need a dramatic idea.  A story, a world and some central dramatic action – a script has to be performed on screen or stage.  Without some sort of action the script is going to be rather dull.

Creating a believable world for your drama to take place in is essential.  You don’t need to go into too much detail and in many cases it is the writer who needs to be more aware of the details not the audience.  Of course the type of world you create will depend on the genre that you are aiming for.  Thrillers or romantic comedies need very different backdrops however try not to get sucked into cliches. Bringing a new and fresh persepctive to a genre can create a very invigorating drama for  the audience.

Try to think what sort of emotional response you are after.  This is a very important step as it will also help you define your characters, don’t let your main actors drift along.  Deciding on whether you want to make your audience laugh, cry or simply think is core to expanding your ideas into a full blown script.

Many authors use mind maps to help them through the steps of creating a script – it can help if you are new to the skill.  On the BBC web site they have a writers section called the Writers Room, it is a very useful resource.  You’ll find a step by step guide to creating your first script and also some examples of real scripts which have been broadcast on  the BBC.  Perhaps my favorite is the new scripts which are published just after broadcast.  The beauty of this is that you can download the script and then watch it being performed on the BBC Iplayer.   Unfortunately for non-UK residents you might find this blocked but I have found a site which shows you how to bypass this – just check this site out – which has a video showing you how.  It’s basically just a way of hiding your real location and IP address to make it look like you’re in the United Kingdom – don’t worry it’s nothing illegal and well worth it.

The kindle self-publishing craze has taken many by surprise.  It seems that practically everyone wants to be an author.  There’s certainly a bit of cache to be had in being published – even self-published.  And the dream of passive income that would results from a popular bestseller is alluring to many.

But what is all this self-publishing on the kindle (which seems to me where most authors get started) doing to quality?  I’ve certainly downloaded my fair share of very poorly written kindle ebooks.  Luckily I did so on free-promotions (a service called Kindle Select that Amazon offers to authors wanting to generate some buzz for their book).

The fact that these same books have subsequently attracted quite a few negative reviews is good news I think.  The book reading community on the kindle seems to be working relatively well as an inbuilt quality control process.  Maybe Amazon does not have to do too much itself on policing quality?  Perhaps it can be left to the community?

I have also found some gems on the kindle.  Here’s a style book that I enjoyed reading for example.   I’ve also picked up a few of these Amazon bestsellers.  All highly recommended.

One area that I think should be the focus of review and oversight however is content stealing and re-packaging.  I can’t point to any examples but as soon as a new money making niche opens up you can be sure that the spammers will enter with a vengeance looking for a quick way to make money.  And the quickest way of all is to find a book that is selling well and copy it.  Change the cover, maybe tweak the content a bit, and get it onto the Amazon bookstore.  I think it would be a mistake to leave the policing of this kind of activity to the community alone.

One of my friends has a really interesting coffee table book, it is a collection of images of great luxury gift baskets. Given that our economy is so focused on consumer spending, it was pretty interesting and the gift baskets certainly made for some great images, but the interesting part was that they took the time to talk about each of the component parts of the gift baskets and the companies which created them.  It was that extra step and bit of information that I found really and truly fascinating.  The images of the gift baskets were nice and all, but knowning where the products came from and why they were selected made me really interested in the book and the baskets which they decided to feature in it!