Modular Writing is for Hacks

Modular writing is a scriptwriting style whereby no scene necessarily connects to one before or after it.

With modular writing the only way you can tell if a sequence comes before or after another one is by its position in the plot, its page in the script.

Genuine writing—that is, the writing of professional and literate men and women—constantly braids predicates, subtle thematic alliterations, afterthoughts, affirmations and denials, and other elliptical devices into a script in order to allow a compounding dramatic pulse and momentum to develop through the story.

Recent scripts like Star Trek, Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, and Clash of the Titans are Exhibits A, B and C in the criminal prosecution of modular writing. Cloddish, confusing and infantile, these scripts display a rare incompetence that is sadly more the rule than the exceptions.

Sadly, each year the bar gets lowered.

This mean-spirited industry trend of demeaning legitimate dialog, mature evaluations, and honest conflicts for played-out soundbites and one-liners will not be corrected on the studio side of the scales.

It is up to intelligent, clever and ambitious writers to hold on to their skills long enough to infuse the stale screenwriting world with new ideas, original dialog and exciting new interpretations of the classic dramatic tale.

Write deeply.  Tangle and entwine.  Write for thinking men and women, not grown-up adolescents.  The flickering literacy and faded minds of men in high places must be reminded of the power of the writer.

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~ by David Jetre on September 8, 2010.

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