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By Alex Cox

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Clarity and concision do not automatically equate to mediocrity and blandness. Neither do opacity nor verbosity automatically equate to authenticity or artistry. Remember that there is a big difference between being clear on the page and being blandly transparent on the screen. For now, bear in mind the obvious: unlike in a novel, your writing is where your movie starts, not ends, and making that movie will cost you, or hopefully somebody else, a great deal of money per page. What would you prefer to spend it on?

I bet somewhere, sometime in your past, somebody has given you this little mind-killer of an advice nugget at least once. Google it as a phrase and you will see how often somebody blogs it as a homily. The assumption here is that, if you stick to your areas of specialist knowledge and direct experience, then you will find the task of coming up with good ideas easier; the process of writing smoother; and the stories you write will be more likely to come across as somehow ‘authentic’ … whatever that means.

I suppose it’s a kind of metathinking (thinking about thinking), but in a directed and at least partially disciplined way. In screenwriting, for example, one manifestation of this metathinking frequently involves mentally putting yourself in someone else’s skin, a character’s in this case, and looking at the world you have created through their eyes. Fortunately we come to the process of being ‘intentionally creative’ with a wide range of skills and experience that will all prove useful. There are only two problems.

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10,000 Ways to Die by Alex Cox

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