A screenplay may be said to possess an organic form if its structure has originated from within the lives and relationships of the characters, where “the characters” refers not only to the dramatis personae, but also to the audience, the writer and the writer’s tribe or tribes. Such a screenplay stands in contrast to its more formulaic cousin, which is usually produced in accordance with imposed rules and techniques - HOW rather than WHAT & WHY. An organic screenplay is shaped from within the story. It cannot be created by a mere spectator. Organic creation is creation liberated from prejudice, from habit, from fear - it is actively courageous insofar as it allows the characters to enact their story, and thus gradually reveal what heretofore were its hidden significances. In contrast, the more mechanical processes and rules which many screenwriting gurus recommend, takes refuge in plot outlining. Surprise is not about characters taking you by the metaphorical neck and rubbing your nose in your preconceptions, but about discovering clever ways of subverting plot conventions.
Organic form cannot be forced or predetermined. It arises out of play, in which all the characters necessary for finding the story are engaged with one another at the emotionally relevant levels of engagement to evoke empathy and identification. The organic screenplay cannot arise from the screenwriter in emotional isolation - indeed, the screenwriter may ultimately be simply the MEDIUM through which the story is written down.
- BILLY MARSHALL STONEKING