This is so important. So many people spend years tinkering over one idea and never move on. The more work you complete, (no matter how toe-curlingly bad) and move on, the better you’ll be.
Choose your favourite TV show or film. Get a copy of the script and a grab-bag size of your favourite crisps, and read the script as you watch. It’s a great way to decipher what the writer intended and what the director bought to the piece.
Run out of ideas? Listen to a piece of music, put a random name into a search engine and see what images come up. Pick a story from The Metro, and use these as starting points for a character, a scene, a story. And let your imagination go.
Whatever a character wants or feels, it’s always more interesting to learn this through their actions, as opposed to dialogue.
If you’re naturally funny – then bring that into your work. If you’re not a fan of research then don’t start with something that requires 10 years in the British Library.
Work. Family. Childhood. Or things that get you excited. Things that make you so mad you want to throw bricks. Write the script instead.
Worried you’re writing a clichéd character? Characters we may have seen before? Then switch an element of that character around. Change their sex, age, class, occupation. This can often turn a cliché on its head and lead us to something interesting.
‘Writer’s block’ is mostly ‘writer’s fear’. The fear of getting it wrong. That nobody will like it. The idea that any writer sits down at their laptop one morning, and by 5pm they have a hit on their hands is nonsense (or luck).
My top tip for scenes… ‘start late, and get out early’. Scenes don’t need to be fully-realised stories – don’t worry about describing how we got here, just get on with it!