Screenwriting Blog
Posted on by Courtney Meznarich

Let's Write a Screenplay in 2024! Weekly Challenges to Complete Your Script

Let's Write a Screenplay in 2024!
Weekly Challenges to Help You Write Your Script

Here we are, week 1 of 52 in this new year. What will you do with your time this year? If you answered “write a screenplay,” we’re thrilled! And we’ve got a special series to help you accomplish this goal.

Starting January 1, 2024, we’re going to walk you through writing a screenplay, step by step, using SoCreate.

With a bit of work each week, you’ll have a finished script by the end of 2024, and possibly sooner. Sounds great, right?

And what’s better? We’re all going to cheer each other on and help over in the SoCreate Screenwriting Facebook Group. Join it now.

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What you’ll need:

  • A subscription to SoCreate (or another screenwriting software, but we’re bias to ours 😊 )

  • Some time for creativity each week. Some weeks, you may only need a few minutes. Other weeks, you may need a few hours.

  • And that’s it!

If using SoCreate, you can complete your script on any device with internet access – yes, even a phone!

So, let’s get started.

Your challenge for week 1:

Find a story idea, and sum it up by filling in the blanks below.

“Once upon a time, there was __________. Every day, _________. One day, _________. Because of  that, ___________. And because of that, _________. Until finally, __________.”

Here’s an example.

"Once upon a time, there was an orphan girl living with her evil stepmother and step sisters. Every day, her step family was cruel to her, and she’d wish for a better life. One day, she was accidentally invited to a royal ball. And because of that, she caught the prince’s attention and drove her step family wild with rage. Until finally, she realized her worth and went on to live happily ever after at the castle."

Need help finding a story idea? Take this advice from veteran writer Ross Brown (“Step by Step,” “The Facts of Life,” “Who’s the Boss”) on how to generate fresh ideas. Or, base your script on a true story. We also have a list of story ideas to get you started here.

Okay, got your story idea? It’s time to start a new SoCreate project!

  1. From your dashboard, click “I want to create a new movie.”

  2. Name the movie. Don’t worry, you can change this at any time if you’re unsure.

  3. Once the new project appears in your Dashboard, click it to open SoCreate Writer.

  4. From within Writer, click the small SoCreate logo in the upper righthand corner, and click “Settings.”

  5. Within Settings, add your story’s summary sentence (the one we worked on above) to the Optional Description box.

  6. Now, you can revisit this summary to remember what your story is ultimately about. It will also appear on Page 2 of your script when you export it to the traditional screenplay out. It can be removed or edited at any time.

We’d love to see what you came up with this week! Post it in the Facebook Group here. If you’re struggling, you can also get a little help from your writing friends in the group.

Next week, we’ll tackle characters in a little more detail, so look out for the Museletter on Wednesday. But be proud of yourself for tackling step one already. This year is off to a great start!

Read to move ahead? Week 2 awaits below.

Your Challenge for Week 2:

We’re a little over a week into the new year. How are your writing goals coming along?

On track? You’re awesome.

Fell off the wagon? No problem at all. There’s still plenty of time to jump back on!

In week 2 of our screenwriting challenge, we’re going to focus on getting crystal clear about our stories. As a reminder, if you complete this challenge each week, you’ll be on track to finish a screenplay well before the end of 2024!

Before next Wednesday, here’s what you should work on.

  1. Who is your protagonist? Do a bit of character development work on them this week and practice writing a character description.  

  2. Who is your antagonist? Dig into their motives a bit more and practice writing a character description.

  3. What’s the story’s setting? Write out your ideas about the time period and geographic location. Practice a few scene descriptions about specific locations you know you want to appear in your script.

  4. Now, practice telling your friends and family about your story. You should be able to do this like an elevator pitch. How would you describe your story in less than 30 seconds?

The beauty of using SoCreate to complete this week’s challenge is that you’ll be working in a single location – no need to keep track of multiple documents across your computer, phone, or tablet.

Here are a few options to work on your screenplay even when you’re not technically writing your screenplay.

Build Characters

Once you have an idea for your protagonist and antagonist, build them in SoCreate so they’re ready to use when you start writing!

From your Tools Toolbar, click +Character. Fill in the character details like name, age, and type. Then, select an image to bring your character to life.

A graphic shows how to add a Character in SoCreate

SoCreate’s image gallery features realistic images, Doodle cartoon-like images, and even silhouettes if you’re unsure of what your character looks like. Or, you can upload your own character images!

Once you’ve created a character, it will appear in your Story Toolbar for future use, and as a Dialogue Stream Item in your Story Stream.

We’d recommend adding notes about your characters in these first Dialogue Stream Items by using the ‘N’ Icon within that Stream Item. Notes can be removed at any time, and won’t show up in your traditional screenplay export. Using Notes will create blue highlighted text, which helps you quickly differentiate them from the rest of your story.

A graphic shows how to write notes within a Dialogue Stream Item in SoCreate

Add Story Notes

You can also write notes to yourself and tag characters in any scene heading! Use the scene notes to brainstorm what might happen in each scene, note who will appear in it, or keep notes to yourself about the setting.

Just click the scene name or number to write notes to yourself.

A GIF shows how to add story notes to a Scene in SoCreate

Congrats on completing week 2! We’d love to see what you’re working on over in our Facebook Group. Share your progress.  Next week, we’ll start in on your story treatment. So, look out for the Museletter on Wednesday. But be proud of yourself for tackling step two already. This year is off to a great start!

Your Weekly Challenge for Week 3:

We’re now in the third week of our journey to write a screenplay by the end of this year, if not sooner. This week, we’re focusing on writing a treatment for our stories.

A film treatment is like a blueprint for your screenplay. It’s a document written in prose meant to summarize your story.

Some people save the treatment for the end to use as a pitching tool, but we like to use it as a planning tool first. Writing a treatment first will help you organize your thoughts, so you’re ready to hit the ground running when you start writing your script! There’s no industry standard for a treatment, so don’t stress about the format. It should include:

  • A logline (we worked on a version of this in week 1, but you can refine it here)

  • Character descriptions (we worked on this for your protagonist and antagonist last week)

  • Summary

  • Act by act breakdown of your plot

  • The ending

Your treatment should end up being anywhere between three and five pages long.

Get our handy guide for writing a film treatment here.

And then, be inspired by these 5 film treatment examples!

As always, we hope you’ll share your struggles, successes, and maybe even some writing samples over in our Facebook Group. Join here.

Your Weekly Challenge for Week 4:

We’re now in the third week of our journey to write a screenplay by the end of this year, if not sooner. This week, we’re focusing on a big one: it’s time to outline your script.

Outlining is an essential process that helps organize your story, making it more coherent and compelling.

There are as many ways to outline as there are writers: you can’t do it wrong, we promise!

But if you don’t quite have your unique outlining process worked out, we have some pointers to help you get started in SoCreate.

SoCreate makes it easy to write your outline right inside your Story Stream, where you’ll later write your script. This way, it’s available for you to start writing within when you’re ready – no doing work twice around here!

How to Outline in SoCreate

SoCreate offers a streamlined way to outline your script right within your story stream. Here's how you can do it:

  1. Start with Acts: Use the “Add Story Structure” button in the Tools Toolbar to add acts to your story. Most stories have three acts, but you can adjust this according to your story's needs.

  2. Add Scenes: Within each act, add scenes. A typical feature-length script has around 10 storytelling beats and 40 to 60 scenes. Distribute these scenes across the acts, keeping in mind the typical percentage breakdown of each act (20% for Act 1, 55% for Act 2, and 25% for Act 3).

  3. Detail Each Part: For each act and scene, add specific notes within your Structure Stream Items. about what it going to happen at this point in your story. This helps in visualizing the flow of your story and keeping track of key elements. As you create and @mention characters in each scene, they’ll appear in your Story Toolbar to use in the future when you’re writing your story.

  4. Use Story Beats: Outline each act using specific beats like the setup, inciting incident, choice, and turning point for Act 1. This helps in maintaining a strong narrative structure.

Screenshot showing how to outline in SoCreate

We’ve got the full guide to outlining over on our blog. If you’re looking for a more in-depth outlining process to borrow from, check out this John Truby method.

By taking the time to outline, you're setting the foundation for a well-thought-out story. It can save time in future drafts and help avoid major errors. Whether you prefer a digital outline in SoCreate, a handwritten one, or index cards, choose the method that best supports your creative process!

Happy outlining, and don't forget to share your progress in our Facebook Group!

Your Weekly Challenge for Week 5:

We’re now in the fifth week of our journey to write a screenplay by the end of this year, if not sooner. That’s right. We’re over one month in!

Up until now, if you’ve been following our schedule, you haven’t written a single word of your script other than notes in your outline. This week, that changes! Your taskbuild a writing schedule that empowers you to bring your story to life, and start writing.

We understand the struggle of finding time and motivation to write, but that’s the beauty of using SoCreate: writing becomes enjoyable, efficient, and accessible from anywhere, whether that’s a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Here's your challenge:

  • Carve out dedicated writing time in your daily schedule. Yes, daily. The key is consistency. Write down your schedule, and find someone to help you stick to it. Here are more tips to create a screenwriting schedule that works for you from Dreamworks writer Ricky Roxburgh.

  • Don’t wait for inspiration to strike. SoCreate members write more often than screenwriters using traditional software because they have more fun doing it. Log into SoCreate every day and add something to your script.

  • Commit to this time like you do your day job.

Once you’ve finished your schedule, we want you to get a running start!

Celebrate your new commitment by writing your first five pages. Remember, you don’t have to start writing at the beginning! Jump to any place in your script outline in SoCreate and write wherever you’re motivated most.

This sounds like a lot, but remember: You’ve already done so much work on the logline, treatment, and outline. Writing these first 5 pages will be a breeze; just get the words down, avoid perfectionism, and know that SoCreate makes editing easy later.

If you have time for Instagram or TikTok, you have time to write using SoCreate. It is just as easy to open up SoCreate on your phone as any of those social media platforms.

Let's turn your dream into a blockbuster reality, one page at a time. No excuses. It’s go time!

Your Weekly Challenge for Week 6:

We’re now in the sixth week of our journey towrite a screenplay by the end of this year, if not sooner. Last week you crafted a schedule and wrote your first 5 pages. We’re off to the races!

We’ve done the prewriting work, and now we’re simply writing. It’s going to be this way for the next few months.

Your challenge:

Aim to write 8-10 pages per week. That’s only a little more than a page per day. If you do that, you’ll have the first draft of your feature-length script by the end of April. Amazing!

So, until then, check the Museletter each week for a new dose of writing inspiration.

We are in your corner, rooting for you! Plus, we have resources to help you conquer just about any screenwriting struggle you encounter during this time of writing, over on our SoCreate blog. Check there for help, or Chat with us any time from your SoCreate Dashboard or SoCreate Writer.

We’re here to help you see this thing through.

This week’s inspiration comes from who else but The Rock.

"Success isn't always about greatness. It's about consistencyConsistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come."

Dwayne Johnson

Personal story time: I (Courtney, director of outreach at SoCreate) grew up performing – mostly dance. I considered myself at the top of my class when it came to stage presence and technique, but my talent never grew into a career. My life took different directions, and I stopped practicing.

But you know who did turn it into a career? Some of my colleagues who, I’d gently say, maybe weren’t gifted with innate talent right off the bat. But little by little, they progressed. They got better. They were extremely consistent. And you know what? Those tortoises won the race. They’re now 10x better than I ever was. They’re incredibly successful, and they’re getting to do what they love in the entertainment industry.

Greatness came for them because consistent, hard work leads to success, no matter what you apply it to.

So, what kind of work will you put in this week?

Your Weekly Challenge for Week 7:

It’s week 7, and if you’ve been completing our challenges each week, you’re already at least 15 pages into your screenplay! You’ve done the pre-writing, and now it’s time to put your nose to the grindstone. Although, if you’re using SoCreate to write, you’ve probably discovered how much less of a grind it feels to write in our visual environment.

As a reminder, we’ll be in writing mode through the end of April. But as promised, you can check this Museletter each week for a dose of tough love or inspiration to keep you in the writing zone.

This week’s inspiration comes from Aristotle.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”


Your Weekly Challenge for Week 8:

If you’ve been partaking in our annual challenge, “Let’s Write a Screenplay in 2024,” then you’re entering into WEEK 8. Yes, you’re two months in! You’ve also completed approximately 20-25 pages of your screenplay.

As a reminder, we’ll be in writing mode through the end of April, writing anywhere between 8-10 pages per week.

But as promised, you can check this Museletter each week for a dose of tough love or inspiration to keep you in the writing zone.

This week’s inspiration comes from author Elizabeth Gilbert, and we can’t agree more!

“A creative life is an amplified life. It's a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

Time to put down the phone, get some fresh air, and start writing.

Your Weekly Challenge for Week 9:

If you’ve been partaking in our annual challenge, “Let’s Write a Screenplay in 2024,” then you’re entering into week 9. You’re writing between 8-10 pages per week, and you’re really making some progress on your script now.  

As a reminder, we’ll be in writing mode through the end of April.

But as promised, you can check this Museletter each week for a dose of tough love or inspiration to keep you in the writing zone.

This week’s inspiration comes from actress Mary Lou Cook.

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.”

Don’t forget: you’re allowed to make mistakes! Your script does not need to be anywhere close to perfect on this first go-around. Get it written first, and we’ll edit later. It’s all part of the plan!