Screenwriting is one of those jobs and professions that are immeasurably more difficult than people think they are. For most people, it is all about having a guy and a girl and a few explosions and a kiss and a good ending and that is all. Real screenwriting could not be further from this and it is a very complex way of making a living. It is also a field where there are innumerable traps that are made for the young and budding screenwriters to fall in and disappear forever. Here is what you have to do to avoid them.
Do not mull over things and let your ideas ferment. This is one of the first traps that young screenwriters encounter. They come up with an idea, a good idea or at least a semblance of an idea. Or perhaps even two ideas. And then they are content with it and they do nothing about it. This is the death of an idea and the death of a screenwriter. You need to be writing all the time. Put that idea to the paper, write something based on it. If you do not like it, destroy it, no one will ever see it. Write a dozen scripts based on this idea. Work on this idea, make it explode in front of you before it implodes and becomes one of those nagging feelings in the back of your head.
Keep things simple. No good script came from someone trying to think up the most intricate web of characters, their actions, their desires, their needs and their outcomes. You need to have a very simple goal for every one of your characters and they all need to be real people with real desires that are usually so very simple. Your characters need to be governed by stimuli that make sense, by desires that are clear and obvious. There is nothing worse than watching a character do something without any reason and without any sense to their actions. It is another trap.
One of the biggest traps is not being opened to the input of other people. There are people who will read your script one day and who will most likely have more than a few things to say about it. Some screenwriters get too proud and they start defending things that even they come to realize were not that great. This is one of the biggest traps of screenwriting as it makes the writers come off as smug people who are not professional at all and who are not ready to work with other people.
Finally, be nice to other people and do not think that you are the only person that is important for the making of the movie. There are dozens of people involved in the making of even the smallest movies and you need to make sure that these people are your friends and your colleagues and not just some guys and girls who are trying to ruin your life’s work. They are not.