I was chatting with my screenwriting buddy Dan last night about a bunch of stuff. The conversation drifted into controlling, or not controlling, urges to “write” before you’re done with your outline or story prep. Dan and I both agreed that sometimes you just need to get it out there.
I think we can all agree there are certain times when we’re toiling away on story prep and you just have this insatiable urge to actually write. You just need to get some stuff down on the page. Type a scene. Play with dialog. Do SOMETHING.
I say, go for it.
Whenever I start a project I always have a file named “[Project Title] Test Scenes.” This is my blank slate to just go crazy. I’ll just write whatever comes to mind. Regular readers might remember me using the term “free screenwriting” before, and that’s what this is. Just have a separate file and write. Write the same scene 5 different ways with different takes. Explore how characters talk. Play with scene locations or action. Just get it out there.
If you have the urge to write, then write. This isn’t the same thing as starting your screenplay. This is taking advantage of your creative urges. Put whatever you want in that file. Some of it you might even be able to copy and paste into your script later. You never know what you might come up with or figure out, so embrace experimentation. Part of the fun with writing is the adventure of not always knowing what’s going to come out on the page when you begin.