What to Expect!
Here is where we can help! This will help outline what necessary steps are needed to begin your story.
Overall, there are 4 steps: planning your story, writing your screenplay, directing your story, and testing or playing it to see what’s finally come across.
Step 1: Planning Your Story
Grab your favorite notebook, and get your ideas down. Ask yourself the essential questions needed to establish a storyline.
- What is your story about?
- What do you want your reader to walk away with?
- Who is your story about?
- What is inspiring your story?
- Does your story have a message you want to say?
The Details and Drama
- What all happens over the course of the story?
- When does it take place?
- Where does it take place?
- Who are your main characters?
- Who are your side or influential characters?
- What are the struggles that your Main Character (MC) faces along their journey?
- Is there a love interest?
- Is there a best friend?
- Does the family play a role in the story?
- Do these characters’ backstories play a role in the story?
- Is there a twist, turn, something unexpected that takes the characters on a ride?
Evaluating from the reader’s perspective
- Have you sought feedback from peers?
- Is your story flowing smoothly?
- Are your choices significant or impactful?
- How is your pacing? Are the “beats” well defined?
The planning is really important to do because as a writer, you’ll know where it’s going, you’ll be more likely to complete your story, and find an audience who will enjoy it too. Nearly all of our hit community writers use this process, and our Episode production teams--heck even Hollywood producers--swear by it as being the best and easiest way to create a memorable story.
You want to make sure your story (or “narrative”) is cohesive, and doesn’t contradict itself. Find something that helps spark inspiration! Some people like sitting in cafes and people-watching, others like watching TV shows that are of the same genre that their writing in. Refine your plot and roles. Create a character sheet with their personality traits, influences, bio (age, interests, backstory, ethnicity, religion, etc). Clearly define the characters and how they’re related to one another (love interest, family member, best friend, etc.).
Once you feel confident that your characters’ personalities are really fleshed out, and you can imagine how they would respond in different situations, then move onto the screenplay.
Step 2: Writing Your Screenplay
You may be asking, “What is a screenplay?”
A screenplay is a simplified version of a story told completely through dialogue and emotional cues to help directors set up scenes easily. TV shows, and movies use this initial process religiously. We encourage our writers and creators to add this to their routines and best practices because once you have the dialogue figured out, you’ll only have to think about how you want to picturize your story in the next step instead of trying to do everything all at once.
The other great thing about doing this as a separate step is that you can focus on each character’s voice and personality to bring them to life. When characters have a generic personality and you don’t get to know who they are over the course of the story, readers are more likely to get bored of the story and forget who said what. But if they can relate to or get to know a character, they will remember the characters distinctly, become more interested in your story, and this helps your story stand apart from the thousands of other stories.
Create an outline for the events to unfold, work in choices or branching storylines. Combine with your screenplay and you have a perfect skeleton for moving on to the visual directing part.
Write out at least 3 chapters worth before moving into the coding segment. This will mitigate confusion and help smooth out your process.
Step 3: Directing Your Story
Directing is referring to the use of camera movements, how your characters move, and animate, and adding special effects! Picturizing the dialogue that you’ve already sketched out.
This is where the introduction of the Writer’s Portal comes in.
Step 4: Testing Your Story
Once all is well and done, you’ll want to see what you’ve created! There’s two ways: Web Previewer & Mobile Previewer.
Web Previewer is located to the left of the script editor in Portal.
Mobile Previewer is located on your device (cell phone or tablet).