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Writing Insights: Writing Character Arcs – Part 1

The Art of Writing Sequels – TERMINATOR: DARK FATE will ignore all but the first two films in the series

The TERMINATOR franchise has undergone some turbulent times of late. The first two films in the series can only be counted as classics, featuring some of the greatest action sequences, characters, lines, and concepts ever put to film. All the films since? Not so much.

So in some ways, it’s unsurprising that the upcoming TERMINATOR: DARK FATE – the first in the series to feature the direct involvement of original creator James Cameron – will ignore all the TERMINATOR films that came after the second one, relegating them to being set in an “alternate timeline”.

“Alternate timeline”, of course, being a polite way of saying “we don’t like these and we’d like to pretend they don’t exist”.

It remains to be seen whether DARK FATE will truly manage to reinvigorate the franchise or just ends up on the scrap heap with the rest of them. But what was it that went wrong with the other sequels, and what’s the best way to go about writing a sequel?

The best approach to take when writing a follow-up is to do the same thing again, but… different. What this means is that you need to keep the key elements that made the original so good, while also innovating to give people something new that they haven’t seen before.

In short, give audiences the things they love while also making it seem fresh! But how did this apply to TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY do to make it such an effective sequel…?

Well, you had the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 Terminator – but turned from a villain into a hero, keeping the badass character but with new objectives, relationships, and dynamics. So it was something the same as the first film – but different.

And he was replaced as villain by Robert Patrick’s T-1000, a Terminator even more relentlessly unstoppable than the first thanks to being a liquid metal shapeshifter. Again, this was the same kind of antagonist as in the first film – but different enough that it felt fresh.

Similarly, the other TERMINATOR sequels didn’t work precisely because they got this wrong – particularly the most recent ones. TERMINATOR: SALVATION abandoned time-travel for a post-apocalyptic hellscape – but that was never what the series was about.

And the attempted reboot TERMINATOR: GENISYS just threw together a bunch of elements without any understanding of what made them work in the first place. Honestly, the less said the better.

So if you’re planning on writing a sequel, keep these things in mind. Remember exactly what it was about your first instalment so good in the first place, and don’t throw those things away. Just do the same thing again – but different!

Here’s hoping that TERMINATOR: DARK FATE does this too…

Fall 2019 Screenwriting Contest – One Week Extension!

Fall 2019 Screenwriting Contest – One Week Extension!

You guys spoke and we listened – and as a result, we’re keeping the Fall 2019 Screenwriting Contest open for an extra week, giving you until October 20th to submit your scripts to the competition!

We know that you guys have written a lot of great scripts, and one of the best things we get to do here at WriteMovies is read them! But when a deadline is coming up and you’ve got some last minute changes to make, it can be easy to overrun and miss your chance.

Well, we don’t want you to miss out – and we don’t want to miss out either! We always have a blast with the judging process for our contests, and we’re looking to get the best scripts we possibly can.

That’s why we’ve decided to extend the contest by a week. We’re here to champion great stories and great writers, and this extra week means more time for us to find them!

So make sure you use it wisely. Get your script to its maximum potential and then submit by the end of Sunday October 20th to get it into our hands – and hopefully, into the top three!

And don’t forget that, as ever, by buying a script report from us you can get free entry to the contest – as well as invaluable feedback from an industry professional!

The Fall 2019 Screenwriting Contest is nearly at an end – but it’s not over just yet. Click here to visit the main contest page and enter your script!

WriteMovies Horror Award 2019 Winner Announced!

Writing Insights: Zombie Films

The WriteMovies Horror Award 2019 is almost over! With just two days until the contest closes, your chance to submit – and to become the first ever winner of this brand new prize – is fading fast. We’re saying goodbye to it with one final article celebrating the genre: our insights into zombie films!

Horror covers a lot of different bases. Monsters, ghosts, aliens, demons, serial killers, the devil himself… There’s a whole array of things in the genre that can scare you to death.

Speaking of death though, if there’s one thing horror keeps coming back to, it’s the living dead. Traditional horror stories were based on the idea of people reanimated after having died, and coming back as more animalistic version of themselves or mind-numbed, slow-motion versions of themselves.

Part of the success of zombie films is because they thrive on one of the cornerstones of horror: our innate fear of strangers and of being made to conform to the way that other people are, losing our personalities and individuality in doing so.

One zombie on its own is often not that dangerous. Being mindless, the individual is pretty easy to out-think! But they overwhelm through sheer numbers, relentless. It doesn’t matter how many you take down, there are always more still to come.

And so it should be with the films they feature in; this is a genre that will never die (or if it does, it will come back again!). Modern versions of zombie stories in the 21st century have brought them up to date and re-energized them with new dynamic energy, through such examples as World War Z and the rage virus that powers 28 DAYS LATER .

Stories like these have dynamized the previously slow moving zombie world, making for new kinds of fear and modern storytelling experiences and energy levels to put into films.

No matter whether they’re slow or fast, though, there are still key elements to zombies. They always come in hordes – and they always want to make you just like them…

If you’ve got a zombie story for us – or any other horror script! – don’t forget to submit to the WriteMovies Horror Award by this Sunday, September 29th. Stand out from the crowd by becoming the first ever winner of this prize!