How to Write a Script
Every good creative writing should pull the reader into the reality of the story and imprint the experience in one’s imagination as real as any stage play. Writing scripts for films, plays, sitcoms or TV dramas has differences, but the basic elements are the same. In this guide, you’ll find general principals of script writing, and you will know our practical recommendations on the topic. Be quick to get acquainted with them.
Ways of Writing a Script
- Formulate the concept of the plot. Write a phrase or a sentence that expresses your idea and the message of the story.
- Write an outline or treatment to organize your thoughts for writing. Create a story map of events that will happen in your story and describe when and how these events will be unfold.
- Create a draft of the script. Write all your ideas on the paper, not considering format, style, and anything else that can distract from the process of creation.
- Improve the story. Look for weak, dead weight expressions, sidetracking, irrelevant details, elements that drag, and anything that weakens the overall picture.
- Simplify the script. Remove dialogues and scenes that are unnecessary and weak.
- Write dialogues with a natural flow. Every word should reveal the character and be relevant to the situation.
- Show your style. Make sure your characters speak naturally and realistically, don’t mix vocabulary and styles of speech too much.
- Revise and proofread. This is key to improving your script. Rewrite and check, making sure every word counts.
- Make a title page. Write the title of the script, your name, and contact information.
Structure of a Script
Every screenplay should have a structural foundation, but an essential part of writing is an original voice and powerful, topical concept with flawed, interesting, and empathetic characters in proper screenplay form.
Different writers have various opinions of the script structure. Most agree that script typically have three acts, or parts:
1. Act 1 – The beginning. Here writer shows the introduction of the story and inciting incident. This part presents important details such as setting, time of day, and actions of the characters in the scene. This part is approximately 30 pages.
2. Act 2 – Main part of the story. It consists of about 60 pages.
3. Act 3 – The ending. It contains the story climax, the final, last-ditch battle that determines the end of the story. It is usually 20-30 pages.
A Note: Flash backs and flash forwards can help to keep the audience engaged.
Recommendations on How to Write a Script
- Create bright characters. They should be realistic, with positive and negative sides, beliefs, complex feelings, and thoughts. The characters must have desires, needs, and goals. Devise a life story for each character. You should know the background of all of them. Therefore, think about age, education, political views, religion and other factors that can influence people’s world outlook.
- Make notes. When new ideas come up to your mind, make notes instead of rewriting previous text. Such notes will help you to organize your text and ideas. When you are writing a script, you should set wide margins so that you have enough empty space to write comments. When there are so many comments that you don’t have room to add anything, you should rewrite the script. However, do not throw away old drafts! Let them lay in your drawer for a while, and maybe it will be useful for you to reread them one day.
- Add a conflict. Every script should be interesting and engaging, so don’t forget to add conflict progression and status changes to the main plot. Actually, a conflict is the cornerstone for all literary works. What can we call a conflict? It’s an event, usually sudden, that makes the protagonist live differently, and as a result, changes his or her character greatly.
- Remember about emotional movements, it is vital for an engaging script. Every scene of the script should end with emotions different from those at the beginning.
- Read scripts, watch films, shows and plays – take inspiration and determine the main details. While reading and watching, make notes about moments that touched you most of all. It can be sudden turns of the plot, hints about the future events that the author gives you through the whole work, or anything that really captivates you. It’s better to read and watch works that you are already familiar with. The reason is that you already know the outcome and you are able to notice more to details.
- Attend scriptwriting classes to learn nuances and main hits of writing a script. There you will also learn the process of constructing dialogue and how to develop the plot and characters. Many people think that writers don’t know what they will write about when they start working. They just write everything that springs to their minds. However, this is not true at all. Writers do think about many details preemptively. Special classes will teach you how to make preparations before you move to the process of creation.
- Think about the time. When you write a script, you should always keep proper time concerning the length. Plays and films are limited in time; therefore, you should try to be laconic. This means that your aim is to say as much as possible in as few pages as possible. The average length of the script is 100-120 pages in standard format. When you have doubts on whether to delete a certain phrase, sentence or even a scene, ask yourself some questions. Does this help to reveal the conflict? Does this piece achieve a specific purpose? Will the text change much without this piece?
We hope that the question, ‘what is script writing?’ won’t bother you anymore. However, like many things, you need a lot of practice to write an effective script. Remember to develop your characters, change the scenes and make the story flow. Keep the audience’s interest and you will succeed.