Zero Draft Thirty: All You Need To Know

For 99.99% of the world, today is Halloween. For the writing community which frequents this site, today is T-Minus 1 Day. Just one more day until the inaugural Zero Draft Thirty Challenge.

November 1: Type FADE IN / The Beginning.
November 30: Type FADE OUT / The End.

30 days. 1 script.

Since I announced the Challenge here, over 400 writers have committed to it. And that’s just here on the blog. Countless others have indicated they’re in via Twitter.

Hell, Indiewire picked up on the challenge. It's even been translated into Spanish. This thing has piernas!

So as we gather around the virtual campfire, ready to share the experience of writing our stories in November, I figured it would be a good idea to do a ZDT primer.

Why did you start Zero Draft Thirty?

NaNoWriMo, the write a novel in a month outfit, used to run Script Frenzy, but stopped it in 2012. So why not fill that space here to coincide with our writerly cohorts as they plow through their novels?

Why the name Zero Draft Thirty?

When I posted the initial announcement, I made a point that this is not about writing perfect pages, rather this is about pounding out a first draft. I noted how some writers call that initial iteration of a script a vomit draft. Some a muscle draft. And some a zero draft. GITS reader Orange Pop came up with a great title: Zero Draft Thirty.

Zero Draft = Get The Damn Thing Done Draft!
Thirty = November 1-November 30

You can shorthand it: ZDT or ZD30.

You mentioned Twitter. Does the Challenge have a hashtag?

Indeed it does. As you may know, I am all over Twitter, currently with 34,000 followers (@GoIntoTheStory). So whenever you Tweet anything to do with ZDT, use this hashtag:


What if we want to write a TV pilot or rewrite a script?

Absolutely you can use ZDT for any scripted project. If you want to write a novel, however, go here.

So how do we interact?

Every day at 6PM Eastern / 3PM Pacific, I will do a ZDT post here. In it, I will include an inspirational quote, perhaps some reflections on the quote, add a motivaitonal video, I don’t have that all figured out, I’m just going to feel my way through it. I’m sure you folks will have some ideas or comments which will inspire me to feature something in the daily posts.

The daily posts are cool, but again where’s the interaction part?

As you know, my posts have a comments section. That means you can click Comment and write something on any/all of the ZDT daily posts. Then I will read your comments. Other writers will read your comments. I’ll post comments on your comments. Other writers will post comments on your comments. It will be comments, comments, comments all day, all night. That’s interaction. Of course, we could all choose a resort location, fly there, and interact, but all those mixed drinks with little umbrellas get in the way of writing, so we best stick with comments.

What sort of comments should we make?

Anything you want, but since the whole point of the ZDT Challenge is to motivate each of us to pound out pages and get from FADE IN to FADE OUT, at the very least, I would hope you drop in often — ideally on a daily basis — and let us know how many pages you wrote in the previous 24 hours. But feel free to share your joy… or your pain. If you need a boost, ask for it. If you feel inspired, share your insights.

So the comments are really about creating a supportive environment, right?

You took the words right out of my mouth… fingers… keyboard.

What’s this thing you mentioned about The Trumbo Award?

I had an inspiration the other night. What if each day, I select one writer based on their comments and celebrate their creative effort with this:

HSW Dalton Trumbo Bathtub Award

See that guy? That’s Dalton Trumbo. You can read about him here. He’s a famous screenwriter. But in relation to the ZDT Challenge, it’s all about the bathtub. I mean, dude liked to write in the tub. In fact, there’s even a statue of Trumbo in his home town of Grand Junction, Colorado… in the bathtub!

So obviously we just gotta give out The Trumbo Award every day in November to the ZDT participant with the best comment. I mean, c’mon, right? It’s a photo. Of a screenwriter. Writing. In a bathtub! Hopefully this hallowed award will come to be known simply as… The Trumbo. As in, “Dude, I posted an awesome comment at GITS, and I totally won The Trumbo!”

Any other ZDT motivational goodies?

Thanks to two GITS readers, you can download a calendar, print it out, and mark off your page count day by day, week by week. Click here to download one created by Chris Neumann. And here is one created by Shelly Artello. It’s amazing how something as tangible as a calendar can serve as a motivational tool.

So I post script pages here?



Ah, got it. Just to underscore this point, the Zero Draft Thirty Challenge is all about one thing: Motivating each of us to write a script draft. That’s the focus. Not reviewing script pages. Not networking. Use the Challenge to get from FADE IN to FADE OUT.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please post in comments.

The Zero Draft Thirty challenge.

November 1: Type FADE IN / In the Beginning.
November 30: Type FADE OUT / The End.

30 days. A first draft of an original story.

Who's with me?

It's cool! It's crazy! It's free!

NOTE: For those of you using Twitter, use the hashtag #ZD30SCRIPT.

Background on the Zero Draft Thirty challenge:

Who's with me to pound out a script in November
Zero Draft Thirty: Write a Script in a Month Challenge
Zero Draft Thirty: Story Prep – Overview
Zero Draft Thirty: Story Prep – Index Cards
Zero Draft Thirty: Story Prep – Character Development
Zero Draft Thirty: Story Prep – Script Diary
Zero Draft Thirty: What Are You Afraid Of
Zero Draft Thirty: The Despair of the Blank Page
Zero Draft Thirty: Your Characters Want You to Tell Their Story
Zero Draft Thirty: Trust the Process
Zero Draft Thirty: Get the Damn Thing Done!


Go Into The Story

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