Your First Screenplay Will Probably Not Be Your Best Screenplay

Novices have a common delusion. They believe their first screenplay will be great and all they need to do is keep rewriting it. While any screenplay can be improved by rewrites, there comes a time when you need to move on to your second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth screenplays as well.

That doesn’t necessarily mean abandoning your first screenplay. That means don’t get hung up rewriting the same screenplay that you basically reshuffle deck chairs on the Titanic. In other words, don’t keep making trivial rewrites that never improve your screenplay.

The best way to improve your screenwriting skills is to write a lot of screenplays.

That means finish your first screenplay and send it out, then start working on a second screenplay. By the time you’re done with your second screenplay, go back over and look at your first screenplay. Chances are good that what you learned by writing a second screenplay will help you see the flaws and mistakes you overlooked in your first screenplay.

If you had never started a second screenplay, you can often fail to identify mistakes in your first screenplay.

That’s why you need to write as many screenplays as possible for different types of stories. The more you get used to writing screenplays, the better you’ll get at writing them and identifying flaws in your own screenplays.

By the time you’ve finished a third screenplay, it will be easy to look back at your first and second screenplays and see whether the stories are worth salvaging or dumping altogether. You can’t get that type of perspective on your writing if you stay maniacally focused on your first screenplay.

Remember, your first screenplay will likely be riddled with beginner’s errors that you won’t be able to recognize because you’re also a beginner. By writing different types of stories, you’ll gradually learn what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are. Then you can go back to your first screenplays and have a better idea how to fix them or radically rewrite them.

When you’re a beginner in anything, your first attempt will rarely be a masterpiece. That’s why you should never keep rewriting your first screenplay at the expense of working on a second screenplay.

Keep writing. The more you do anything, the better you’ll get.

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