Storywriting course: follow along


Hey matsman

sorry…been away for a while. just did all the catching up with the rest of your lessons today. great work with the lessons by the way. got my creative juices flowing again…definitely count me in that micro challenge!

yeah i agree as well, about four or five of us is enough rather than having the option of 20 or more people’s scripts to be reading esp when some of us dont have the time…(ill always make time for reading other ppl scripts though).

let’s do it!


I am just think out loud here!

It would be difficult for me to write a script every week & look at all the others. But i think a 2 week stint would work out better.

How about we have the mirco screen writing contest over two weeks.
ONE WEEK to write the short script.
One WEEK to look at the other people’s scripts.

This would work for me what about everyone else?



Here are the first 5 pages of my animation script. This is to show you how long it is. Not sure if this forum will mess the format up but here goes:

[left]FADE IN:


[left] [/left]

[left]The humongous Christmas tree center of the warm cozy room[/left]

[left]laden with Christmas decorations. Podgy Grandfather sat[/left]

[left]attentively reads a newspaper.[/left]

[left]Brad 10 robust and Kim 9 petite with freckles crash into the[/left]

[left]room squabble over a doll.[/left]
[left] [/left]


[left]Get off my doll Brad.[/left]


[left]I’m going to put it on top of the[/left]

[left]Christmas tree. You’d like that[/left]

[left]wouldn’t you?[/left]

[left]Brad smirks as Kim screams her reply.[/left]


[left]I WANT MY DOLL BACK.[/left]

[left]Brad tugs the doll free and dances round the Christmas tree,[/left]

[left]holds it aloft in victory.[/left]

[left]KIM (CONT’D)[/left]


[left]The newspaper rustles. The top of the paper drops.[/left]

[left]Grandfather glances over at the kids.[/left]


[left]Knock it off, will ya.[/left]

[left]Brad give it back to your sister.[/left]


[left]Nope! This is going to be the[/left]

[left]Christmas angel.[/left]

[left]Teary Kim shakes Grandfather’s hand. Brad hops, exerts[/left]

[left]himself to reach the top of the tree.[/left]


[left]I don’t want Queenie to be the[/left]

[left]Christmas angel Grandpa.[/left]


[left]Brad! Give it back NOW![/left]

[left]Sullen Brad tosses the doll under the Christmas tree. Kim[/left]

[left]rushes to scoop up the doll. Irked Brad arms folded drops[/left]

[left]on to the sofa.[/left]



[left]I hope I get the Wii with loads of[/left]

[left]games for Christmas. All my friends[/left]

[left]have it.[/left]


[left]I want the new Barbie.[/left]

[left]Kim doe eyed stares at Grandfather. He beckons her to sit[/left]

[left]on his lap. She beams lighting up her whole face.[/left]


[left]Last year all my toys that were made[/left]

[left]in China, broke. They were useless,[/left]

[left]didn’t last. We never get what we[/left]

[left]really want for Christmas.[/left]

[left]Brad contorts his face into an ugly one at Kim. She[/left]

[left]retaliates by sticking her tongue out.[/left]


[left]You should be thankful that you can[/left]

[left]celebrate Christmas at all. It was[/left]

[left]nearly destroyed.[/left]

[left]Quizzically Brad looks at Grandfather.[/left]


[left]What do you mean Grandpa. How can[/left]

[left]Christmas be destroyed?[/left]


[left]Well a number of years ago a bad[/left]

[left]Santa was created.[/left]


[left]A Bad Santa! How bad Grandpa?[/left]


[left]Bad! Veeeeeery bad.[/left]

[left]Kim wide eyed. Brad disinterested.[/left]


[left]C’mon Grandpa is this another of[/left]

[left]your tall stories.[/left]


[left]Yes it is a story but this one is[/left]

[left]true. Instead of reindeers he had[/left]

[left]wolves with blood red fangs to pull[/left]

[left]his sleigh.[/left]

[left]Brad straightens up and with rapt attention listens.[/left]





[left]I thought that would grab your[/left]

[left]attention. It began one Christmas[/left]

[left]Eve in a country far away.[/left]


[left]Superimpose: Christmas Eve[/left]

[left]The wind howls through the trees. Like a bombardment of[/left]

[left]stones rain beats down. Sporadic lightning illuminates the[/left]

[left]other wise black night. Thunder claps boom. A mountain[/left]

[left]looms in the background.[/left]

[left]High on the mountain a dark gloomy castle is silhouetted.[/left]

[left]Light flickers from one window at the top of the tower.[/left]


[left]A crazed man with gray white hair, white lab coat frantically[/left]

[left]zips around the lab. In the center of the lab is a metal[/left]

[left]operating table. Hooked up to the table a mass of wires and[/left]

[left]two electrical conductors. The wires go up to the ceiling.[/left]

[left]Laying on the table is a huge lifeless body covered with a[/left]

[left]sheet. Massive stonking black boots jut out from under the[/left]

[left]sheet. The Dr. Franken checks the settings on the machines,[/left]

[left]smiles a quirky smile.[/left]

[left]Dr. Franken speaks with an Eastern European accent.[/left]

[left]DR. FRANKEN[/left]

[left]Igor! Igor where are you? It is[/left]

[left]nearly time.[/left]

[left]The only reply is the thunder. Dr Franken stomps to the[/left]

[left]door in a huff and hollers into the dark.[/left]

[left]DR. FRANKEN (CONT’D)[/left]

[left]IGOR! IGOR! I NEED YOU NOW. IT IS[/left]


[left]After a few moments the door creaks open and in scurries[/left]

[left]Igor a short ugly deformed humped back, groveling.[/left]


[left]Yes Master. Sorry master. I came[/left]

[left]as quick as I could.[/left]

[left]DR. FRANKEN[/left]

[left]The time window is small so we have[/left]

[left]to be ready. Go over to the lever.[/left]

[left]Igor limps to the lever on the wall. Dr. Franken makes sure[/left]

[left]the wires are fastened securely, checks his watch.[/left]


[left]DR. FRANKEN (CONT’D)[/left]





[left]NOW! Throw the lever.[/left]

[left]Igor grabs the lever and pulls it down.[/left]


[left]A trap door slides open. Slowly an electrical conductor[/left]

[left]rises in the rain. The lightning strikes the conductor.[/left]


[left]An eerie blue electrical pulse rides up and down the body on[/left]

[left]the table and the conductors. The charge crackles and fades.[/left]

[left]Dr. Franken eagerly looks on. The body is still lifeless.[/left]

[left]Dr.Franken snorts spins to face Igor. He begins to close in[/left]

[left]on Igor.[/left]

[left]DR. FRANKEN[/left]

[left]IGOR! What did you do wrong?[/left]

[left]Fear creeps onto Igor’s face. Another electrical pulse[/left]

[left]envelopes the body. A twich. The sheet moves slightly.[/left]


[left]Look Master. Look![/left]

[left]Stopping dead in his tracks Dr. Franken turns his head to[/left]

[left]see more movement from under the sheet. Creaks, groans[/left]

[left]emanate from under the sheet. The body sits up.[/left]

[left]DR. FRANKEN[/left]

[left]Switch off the machine Igor.[/left]

[left]Igor pushes the switch off. Dr. Franken agape in wonderment.[/left]

[left]The sheet flaps then falls. A hulking ashen skinned, dull[/left]

[left]empty eyes, white bearded creature gazes round the lab. It[/left]

[left]is dressed in a black Santa suit with white fur at the cuffs.[/left]

[left]DR. FRANKEN (CONT’D)[/left]

[left]My son. My Son.[/left]

[left]Dr.Franken claps with glee. With hollow eyes the creature[/left]

[left]just stares him down.[/left]

[left]BG - Window. The rain is replaced by a snow storm[/left]

[left]INT. CASTLE ROOM[/left]

[left]A fire dances and crackles in the fireplace. Precariously[/left]

[left]the creature sits on soft chair that is dwarfed by his[/left]

humongous frame. Dr Franken prances about the room.



For the MSWC it would be best to put the entries in a new thread! BUT of course i am preaching to the choir. You knew that.
SOZ! getting a head of myself!

Catch ya later.



actually, sitting down and reading that im kinda surprised that it took a bit of time to go over…

and considering that we might have four or five more of those to review (possibly more if more people decide to join later)maybe it might be a good idea to give ourselves that two week time frame.


Actually I was hoping to hold this discussion in the other thread also :slight_smile: So I’ll reply there just to make sure everyone goes there for the MSWC (not the Microsoft Watercloset :stuck_out_tongue: (sorry))
Check my two previous posts for a direct link.

And I’ll paste your posts there as well if you don’t mind (actually I’m not giving you a choice! :evil: )

See you there to continue this discussion! Thanks!


So…some time ago ain’t it… well let me be a necromancer and resurrect this thread from the dead… :wip:

No really. At the moment I am typing a new lesson, the long awaited report from GDC on storywriting for games and I still have to finish my own vampire story, not to mention talk about polishing stories and cutting out everything that should not be in there… that’ll be one of the last real lesson posts in this thread… and it is not that late yet.

So soon to come… … … More!

And this post is just a slight bumping of the thread so I will actually do it :slight_smile: ah, you know how it is being a lazy bastard :stuck_out_tongue:
And we are currently having the third Micro Screen Writing Challenge and it is a blast. So check it out!

Until Shortly!


I wonder why in so big forum like cgtalk(and other) where all of the work is based on creating somethink from nothig there is so small amount of topic about writing idiea ?
I think that is the base of all we are doing in CG.
For example is there somewhere article about pitching post production project or writing explication about shor animation scene we wont to convince with our client ?
It’s very important and there is so small articles about it.

any way I’m big fan of threads like Your.



Thanks for these lessons Matsman! I find them very interesting! I work mainly with illustration and graphic design… but my curiosity brought me here to your lessons =]. I wrote some stories before… but just for fun… now I feel I may write them a little better next time.

Could you recommend some books about this subject? I saw a book by Syd Field about storywritting. Could you tell me if it is a good book?


Thank you very much for your replies ROPA and itiohs. I barely have enough time to do the living thing right now ( don’t worry though I have a bit social life in there :slight_smile: ) working on two game projects and besides that I do some freelance work also. And then still having time to play soccer with my friends at least once a week and now and then a karaoke party.

Even my Dnd mastership has been put on hold because I simple don’t have the rest to sit down and write. :frowning: Really believe me if I say I want to. I am so sorry the Micro ScreenWriting challenge has died too… I realle hoped that would take off.

Well… enough about me.

@ROPA: I see your point. It really is important to know how to handle clients, even if they are very annoying ones there is a thread here that teaches you by showing the worst. Check the Worst Comments 2 thread However it isn’t really that great to learn pitching ideas. You’d be better off researching great powerpoint presentation and presentation techniques, also visit it has great people talking about great ideas.
Something else I miss is articles about brainstorming and bringing order into chaos when it comes to ideas, I learned that studying industrial design and engineering and is has helped me alot.

@itiohs: Thanks, I believe I read about 65 percent of the people in the Netherlands (where I live) are writing stories and diaries and articles and at least two 3rds hope to get published. Seeing those figures it is strange for me to actually meet people who have no desire to tell stories at all (they are out there, I have met one) most simply don’t know where to begin or what to tell and what to leave behind, others are great when speaking but fail to put anything down at all. So welcome to the big writer society :slight_smile: I hope you learned something!
I must however disappoint you about the book, I have absolutely no idea. I have ever read only one book I found really great but that one is in Dutch and about writing in Dutch so I think it isn’t really helpful for you :slight_smile: (for you who are interested or want to know a stupid fact it is called “eekhoorntje op lange weg” which is translated as “small squirrel on long road” And the title hints at you having the greatest ideas around the time one falls asleep, writing down a quick reminder while drowsy and actually falling asleep and then next morning knowing that what you wrote down was great but looks stupid silly and completely uninteresting in the morning)
Maybe it is just me but the best books I found helped me are my favourite novels and childrens novels. Like Charlie and the chocolate factory, Harry Potter and later on the discworld series, edgar allen poe and shakespeare. In school we were forced to read through books and do an article and presentation about that book, you have probably as well, that really helps to focus on what is likeable and what not. Some of the above books I have read again and again and they have given me insight in what I like in a story and also what shouldn’t be there.
If you really want to go on reading more on this topic your best bet is the library. I am sure they have great books on writing and if they are not great, well then there are at least a lot. Also search for some language history. Like all skills in life humanity went through more or less the same cycle you are going through when learning, you will be much faster though so if you start with some of the classics (really hard reading material) you’ll be able to spot the small mistakes you make because in the old days the made them too, and much worse :slight_smile:

Hope that helps a bit, sorry for not being able to recommend any books, I have unfortunately no insight about what is available in the english speaking world… English is still my second language, even though I am using it more and more.

I really hope I can finish this course and my short story but I won’t promise anything I am at least busy until november… which is good since I love what I do, but some vacation will be great too :slight_smile:

Okay too much words, still have work to do… it’s gonna be late! oooh :wise:


Thank you matsman! It is always better to learn something by doing it, than just read about it anyway.


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