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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Screenwriting Discussion    Screenwriting Class  ›  Ing Ing Ing Ing Moderators: George Willson
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danbotha
Posted: January 3rd, 2013, 7:40pm Report to Moderator
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I have a quick question for something I see in a lot of reviews and something I tend to mention as well. I'm beginning to wonder if the advice I've given is right.

I often see people talk about the use of words ending in "ing" in their scripts. There are two sides to the argument. Some say that they shouldn't be included ANYWHERE in a script, where others, like me, are a little more tolerant to the idea. Personally, I don't mind the odd word ending in "ing" here and there. However, when there are too many, I usually say something about it.

What's your take? Do you mind the odd "ing" or should they be excluded from writing all the time??


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_ghostwriters
Posted: January 3rd, 2013, 8:38pm Report to Moderator
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There is no limit to what the masses will believe - Mussolini

Man, it boggles the mind.

Writers' should be concerned about telling the most visually compelling, and effective story.  "Worry about your story, dialogue, pacing," not whether you should or shouldn't be using things like "WE SEE" or "ING," ect... in your script."  The goal-- to make your script a quick, clean, and engaging read, then that's all that matters along with, yes " the story."

Matter of fact, I've read lots of scripts, and 99.9% of them had "ING" somewhere in there.  I can't remember one that didn't.  And I'd be leary of anyone who says, you should never do this or that, as it relates to screenwriting.


My thoughts...

Ghostie


"When I dive... I go deep, only to surface the hub when necessary."

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Dreamscale
Posted: January 3rd, 2013, 8:43pm Report to Moderator
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Dan, it's not "words ending in ing", it's using passive sentence structure, in which your primary verb is "passive", which means it ends in "ing".

You do not want to write this way.  Period.

That's not to say you literally can't ever do it, but you want to shy away from it, especially early on and especially when it's so simple to correct.

A cat is sitting on a porch.

A cat sits on a porch.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Grandma Bear
Posted: January 3rd, 2013, 10:19pm Report to Moderator
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I was told early on not to use them. I still don't. In reality, it doesn't seem to matter. Story is what matter most.

Personally I have been told my scripts are usually easy and fast reads. No one has ever said I'm a great writer as far as the writing itself goes, but easy and fast is positives in my book. I even avoid using the word "and" if I can. My style is not going to win any writing awards, but someone once told me that the simpler the writing, the easier it is to just see the story for what it is.  


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Forgive
Posted: January 3rd, 2013, 10:51pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Dan - how're you doing? You open up a can of worms here. Stay shy of 'ing', for a bunch of reasons:

Passivity vs strong (active) sentences. This is to do with participles and Gerunds (google if you don't know).

Shorter is better - you add to sentence length when you chuck in 'ing' & 'ly' without good cause.

Thick People: They find passive sentences harder to understand (this is true).

The majority of 'ing' words are associated with past tense, and you need to go with active.

There's heaps of stuff on this if you google, so start off with:

http://www.justaboutwrite.com/blog/2012/04/01/strengthen-your-writing-2-beware-of-ing-disease/

http://writethebest.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/beware-of-ing-and-iy-words.html

http://jenniferlauckmemoirwriting.com/writing-tip-2-ly-and-ing-words
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CoopBazinga
Posted: January 3rd, 2013, 11:01pm Report to Moderator
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I certainly worked hard on this subject when I was new to screenwriting but to be completely honest, it doesn't bother me at all now unless it's done in abundance and is hurting the flow of the story.

In fact, I'll quote Ghostie if I may who said it better than I ever will.


Quoted from _ghostwriters
Writers' should be concerned about telling the most visually compelling, and effective story.  "Worry about your story, dialogue, pacing," not whether you should or shouldn't be using things like "WE SEE" or "ING," ect... in your script."  The goal-- to make your script a quick, clean, and engaging read, then that's all that matters along with, yes " the story."


I couldn't agree more...

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Electric Dreamer
Posted: January 4th, 2013, 12:44pm Report to Moderator
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If you're an unknown in the industry, consider NOT INGing up your script.
Why?

Because people will judge your work by industry standards if you're a stranger to them.
And an overabundance of passive prose is a red flag to most folks.

That's why I avoid anything like that.
It encourages readers to pass judgement on me before they give my prose a chance.

I don't look for reasons to get producers to say yes to me...
What I want to do is remove as many reasons that might say no as possible.

Regards,
E.D.


LATEST NEWS

CineVita Films
is producing a short based on my new feature!

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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Dreamscale
Posted: January 4th, 2013, 4:52pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Electric Dreamer
I don't look for reasons to get producers to say yes to me...
What I want to do is remove as many reasons that might say no as possible.


I've said this many times before and Brett nails it here again.  This is the bottom line, people.

You can go on and on about story being King and this and that don't mean shit, but the reality is exactly this.  If you write like an amateur and make amateur mistakes, you're not going to be taken seriously by folks who are serious.

Avoid red flags whenever possible.  It's really very simple to do, if you make even the slightest effort.

Write in the active voice, not the passive voice.  AS others have said, if you don't understand that, just Google it. You'll find hundreds of sites that will help, but in a nutshell, we're talking about not writing your primary verb in the passive tense.



To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Eoin
Posted: January 4th, 2013, 5:20pm Report to Moderator
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A verb with 'ing' added on is know as the present continuous tense and should be avoided where possible in screenwriting.

Write is the present simple tense, as illustrated in the examples above.

Eoin
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stevie
Posted: January 4th, 2013, 6:21pm Report to Moderator
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Not trying to be argumentative but I don't see a big deal if I write this:

The cat sits on the porch, licking its paws.

Ok, it's not exactly what the thread is talking about but it could be construed as similar.

I'm trying for a different style in my new script, and am using a few...(shock,horror) unfilmables. I don't really care anymore. Of course it will all be formatted correctly. But I'm going for some more oomph instead of the boring shit.



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Dreamscale
Posted: January 4th, 2013, 6:26pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


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Stevie, you are correct.  There is nothing wrong with your example, as your main verb is active.  Secondary verbs can be passive.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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danbotha
Posted: January 4th, 2013, 6:38pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks everyone for responding to my question. I know what passive writing is and I do try to avoid it whenever possible. I just wanted to see if other people are slowly getting over following these rules that are actually more like guidelines. I mean, I'll follow them for the sake of hopefully getting picked up by producers, but they really are becoming a little bit of a pain.

Jeff, you said something that I was a bit surprised to see...


Quoted from Dreamscale
Stevie, you are correct.  There is nothing wrong with your example, as your main verb is active.  Secondary verbs can be passive.


I didn't know that. I've always kept my secondary verb active, as well. I've also told people to keep ALL verbs active... WHOOPS!


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coldbug
Posted: January 4th, 2013, 7:20pm Report to Moderator
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I never knew about this.  I don't use it often, but sometimes I have to like this one.

Kilmor can only stand and watch his horse fleeing away from an enemy's fire.

How can you rewrite the above sentence without using "ing" in "flee"


A lie has traveled around the world while the truth is putting the shoes on.
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Dreamscale
Posted: January 4th, 2013, 7:23pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


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Kilmore can only stand and watch as his horse flees from enemy fire.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Eoin
Posted: January 4th, 2013, 7:26pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from coldbug
I never knew about this.  I don't use it often, but sometimes I have to like this one.

Kilmor can only stand and watch his horse fleeing away from an enemy's fire.

How can you rewrite the above sentence without using "ing" in "flee"


Kilmor watches as his horse flees from the enemy's fire/gun report
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