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In writing in general, there are discovery writers and outliners, planners vs. pantsers.

I am very curious to know how screenwriters create screenplays.

Do writers start with a basic plot and then add the scenes and arrange them, expanding on the plan? Or do they have a very very tiny basic plot and write the scenes in a more freestyle way?

Is planning/discovery significantly different when the goal is a screenplay instead of a short story or novel?

One reason I wonder about this is that a screenplay is meant as a collaborative tool, while a novel/short-story is the finished product.

Is more planning needed if more people will be involved, and because the goal is a fixed amount of pages/minutes? Or can you "pants" it, and then use the editing/collaboration time to bring things into focus?

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    This question seems overly broad. I'll think you could profit from reading one or a few of the many introductory books on screenplay writing on the market today. – user5645 Dec 22 '16 at 20:47
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Whether to outline a story thoroughly or not at all is a question that's been asked for a long time. But some general information may help.

If you're writing on your own, you can write however you like. There's no reason you can't just start typing a screenplay and, when you're done, edit what you've written into shape.

There are a couple of advantages to outlining. You'll get a more cohesive script in the end and you'll work more efficiently. While some writers are able to outline every detail and only then write, others find this to be a bit of a straitjacket. There is no single method that applies to all writers, and you'll have to find the answer that best suits you by trial and error.

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    I also recommend you read about the three-act structure. Although it has its detractors, it's a common way of structuring stories for the screen. – Goodbye Stack Exchange Dec 21 '16 at 21:50
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It does not matter what you write, or in what format or genre--you tend to be either more of a plotter or more of a discovery writer. It is never only one or another, but rather a combination of both. The percentage, however, is different for each and every one of us.

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