You need to begin the story in the right place. This is much easier said than done. Because in order to begin in the right place, you need to be clear and sure about what your story is, who is driving it forward, where it is going, and what tone you intend to set from the off. Far too many scripts waste precious time setting up the story and world.
What’s the best place for this story to come to life? Which medium will best express the story you want to tell?
SAY WHAT YOU MEAN. A reader can only go by what’s in your script, so if there is something you want to say, say it clearly in dramatic/comic action. Writers sometimes say ‘your reader didn’t understand what my script was about’
If there’s something you need to express, then show it through the action and dialogue – through what an actor can play.
So be INTELLIGENT. Be BOLD. And above all, be CLEAR.
A major problem with a great many scripts is that the piece as a whole simply doesn’t hang together. There might be brilliant characters, dialogue, scenes, ideas ad infinitum, but if they don’t cohere into a whole, then your script won’t hit the mark. The key to this is to know your world and story.
We need to engage with your characters on an emotional level. We don’t need to like them. We can even despise them. But they must have a human, emotional life
We have to want to spend time with your characters. We need to understand their desires, soak up their energy, feel their pain, fear for them
The crucial thing, therefore, is to make them active. Passive, reactive characters just don’t hook us.
A useful way to clarify what makes them an individual, is to try to look at the world they are in from their point of view – and therefore allow the audience to do the same.
Without this glue of empathy between character and audience, you ultimately have very little. it’s very very common for writers to come up with stereotypical, two-dimensional characters that fill out an idea. If you want to explore a concept, you need to do it through the strength of your characters and our emotional connection with them,
Because great stories, whatever the genre and tone, matter on a human level. Stories are about people; people need stories. Humanity developed the storytelling gene so that it could laugh, cry, love, fear, hate and hope for characters, and, by extension, humanity itself. Your script needs to make us laugh, cry, love, fear, hate and hope.
Your characters must surprise the audience. By this, I don’t mean suddenly change (do something wholly out of character), or throw in something crucial about themselves that we didn’t know (reveal a big secret half way through), or have something crucial thrown at them from nowhere.
(This is a summary from the BBC)