I'm not an outliner by any stretch of the imagination... I hate the word Pantser too. I write by discovery. I'm not here to discourage outlining either. Some writers need to do that before they can write OR, as I've discovered with some writers... Before they can feel good enough about their story to actually get down to the writing.
Either way? You need a complete story. If you're experiencing problems not having enough STORY for the rest of you screenplay? I would recommend doing one thing or the other or all three...
1) As @mlesemann
does herself? Try coming up with a super detailed outline so all you have to do is write. In order to do this however, you need to know a lot about your story up front. So? If you do not know a lot about your story up front? Most likely, you'll end up having the same problem i.e., not having enough story for an entire story.
2) Write by discovery... This is how I write. I have a germ of an idea and I just let it flow. I'm lucky enough to be able to work and riff off these germs to keep coming up with more than enough plot points for an entire story. And since I work this way and have been for over thirty years? It comes easy to me personally.
I think both "1" and "2" come from a lot of experience and probably? Mostly LIFE EXPERIENCE. It's been my personal observation that most of the weak writing I've read by both professional screenwriters and those wanting to become professional writers is that they either do not have enough life experience OR they have trouble tapping into what life experience they do have.
I just binged FUBAR on Netflix last night... Not because Ahnold is in it but because I had several writer (pros) contact me about it. It is extremely dialogue heavy. TELL not show... LOL. It was almost as if the FUBAR team had all these personal problems and their actual mission just happened to get completed as they all dealt with these problems. LOL.
Let's just say (for me personally) that I won't be giving it a second watch.
3) A combination of an outline and list of structural plot points. If you have a LIST of structural plot points? Many times, knowing WHAT each of these structural plot points need to contain (content-wise) is more than enough for you to brainstorm an actual plot point.
Most people I know and have known when it comes to wanting to be a writer have no idea what "structure" even is. They discover structure way too late in their writing careers (if you can call it that) after they've picked up a myriad of bad writing habits.
There are all kinds of writing structure out there... I could go over a list of them here but you'd be better off performing an intense Google search. A lot of writers talk about 3 ACT STRUCTURE but if you Google that? You'll find a lot of differing opinions about what a traditional 3 Act Structure contains when it comes to story... About the ONLY thing consistent with everyone's version of 3 Act Structure is that there is a BEGINNING, MIDDLE, and END.
Let's face facts... All stories have a beginning, middle, and end. LOL.
You need to know what NEEDS to HAPPEN in those beginnings, middles, and ends.
If, as a wannabe writer, you know AHEAD OF TIME what NEEDS to HAPPEN in your beginnings, middles, and ends? You'll have a much easier time brainstorming and or dreaming up what those beginnings, middles, and ends are.
Let's take Michael Hauge's Six Stage Plot Structure
It's as valid a story structure as anything else out there... This is NOT me endorsing or advocating using it. Just talking about it as an example here. If you were to use this Six Stage Plot Structure as your guideline, you can plainly see what NEEDS to HAPPEN for each of his six plot points.
Unfortunately... Most wannabe writers still don't end up with enough STORY or PLOT POINTS for an entire story when using something like this because they have no idea or even clue as to what needs to happen in a story let alone ACT II. Let's look a Hauge's Act II:
Stage III: PROGRESS
Vacillates between identity and essence
Stage IV: COMPLICATIONS & HIGHER STAKES
Moves steadily into essence
Most wannabe writers I've known and seen and read have absolutely no idea what these two stages NEED to CONTAIN in them when it comes to CONTENT or? They misinterpret what these do mean and are off a bit here and there when they do follow something like this and execute the writing.
Of course, Michael Hauge knows his Six Stage Plot Structure like the back of his hand and he could easily tell you EXACTLY what needs to happen in each stage. I'm sure he could sit down and explain for more than an hour what the above two stages need to contain but when a writer who knows virtually nothing about structure reads these two stages above?
They become even more lost.
Which brings me to the OOMPH of my reply here... Become a STUDENT of STRUCTURE plain and simple. Learn as many story structures as are out there and come up with your own. In other words? Create your own story structure. Why? Because once you do that? You're going to feel confident. You're going to attack creating a story with a determination you've never had before.
Sure... You could USE any of the story structures out there... For instance... People just love the SAVE THE CAT
structure and again... This structure is as valid as anything out there but still... It's not YOUR structure.
As a writer? You'd be taking it on Blake Snyder's word that this is the END ALL -- BE ALL of screenwriting structure. Certainly, one can do this but if you're a WRITER or want to be a writer, why take someone else's word about what structure is or isn't?
Why not figure it out for yourself?
Well I think we all know why... These days? Everyone wants to round the corners off as much as possible. Nobody wants to do the real work when it comes to writing. A high percentage of writers want a ONE SIZE FITS ALL formula.
Well guess what? There is NO one size fits all formula.
However... You can in fact create your own LAUNCHING POINT by creating your own basic story structure and use it simply as a starting point to brainstorm ideas for your own story. In other words, if you KNOW what NEEDS to HAPPEN next? It's a hell of a lot easier creating an idea of how it needs to happen in YOUR STORY.
If you do NOT know what needs to happen next? Then you could be brainstorming an idea or plot point that's just kind of COOL to you but has no business being your next actual plot point.
Sure... You can use someone else's structure but again... Now you're relying on their VERSION of STORY. If you really want to be a writer? Why would you do that?
I highly recommend becoming a student of structure... A student of everyone's structure out there. They're all just a few Google searches away.
Find them all. Read them all. Understand them all.
This won't take you as long as you might think... Why? Because they are all very similar. However, as you continue to do this? You're going to automatically connect the dots from one structure to the other and see what's missing or see how they rely on too much of one thing. Watch movies and read books and take notes as you learn about these structures to come up with what they are missing.
Eventually? Come up with your own story structure. One that makes YOU feel CONFIDENT. One that makes you love being a writer.
But? Don't use it as a formula. Use it as a LAUNCHING POINT for your stories whether they end up being screenplays or books or even short stories. When I say launching point, I mean exactly that. Just a place to begin. Chances are you'll already have at least one or more ideas for cool scenes or plot points that got you interested in the concept for your story in the first place. If you know where the cool ideas for scenes and plot points NEED to BE? You're ahead of the game.
Plug them in where you think they need to be and now start bridging the gaps.
As you write the story however... Never be afraid to let your characters TAKE OVER because in my humble opinion, that's where the real magic of WRITING happens.
THAT IS WHY I WRITE. That is WHY I am a writer. To me? The MAGIC of writing is when your characters become SO REAL that they no longer want to follow your story structure.
You want them to go this way but THEY WANT TO GO THAT WAY.
I urge you to LET THEM GO THEIR WAY. Yes, by allowing them to go their own way means deviating from your story structure but again... This is to me? The MAGIC of WRITING.
Your mileage may vary.