I’d like to share a screenwriting tip that could help you streamline your next writing project, whatever it may be.
I took my first shot at writing a screenplay in my teens.
The plot revolved around a carpenter who, sadly, decided to turn into a killer. He was wanted in 17 states for murder, nine states for manslaughter, and three states to build a chest of drawers.
I’ve written several screenplays over the years. None, though, are where they need to be in terms of story and structure. Having decided to rewrite my last script, I searched online for some books that would help.
One was Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting That You’ll Ever Need by the late Blake Snyder.
I found plenty of tips for my screenplay. But also one I could apply to my professional writing.
Snyder describes his use of what he refers to as “The Board.” It’s a simple bulletin board, which you fill up with index cards (one card per scene) to “map out” your screenplay.
This way, you have a big-picture view of your movie. If some scenes don’t flow quite right or need changing, you can do so from a “big picture” point of view.
Which got me to thinking …
Would this also be beneficial when writing other types of copy?
It would be a natural extension of Master Copywriter John Forde’s system for writing promotional sales letters.
John writes out each idea (complete with features and benefits) that he’s going to talk about in his sales letter on 3×5-inch cards. As he determines the order he’s going to talk about them in his sales letter, he rearranges the cards accordingly.
Combining these 3×5-inch cards with a bulletin board would give you a quick visual representation of your sales letter.
I used this process with a recent promo I wrote, and it worked remarkably well. It allowed me to visualize the sales letter in my mind and quickly spot ways to improve the order of the ideas presented.
Plus, it made it easy for me to track the sections of my sales letter that still needed to be written.
Overall, it cut down significantly on the time it took me to write the project. One of the reasons was that it forced me to identify and organize my copy before I actually started writing it.
I recommend trying this for your next writing project. You never know — taking the time to map out and visualize your main points could help you significantly accelerate your writing process.