In the modern era, the formatting style used for novels and short stories remains as one of the most popular styles to be used by writers, big and small. Unless you’re living the Hollywood lifestyle day-in and day-out, Scriptwriting is an undervalued practice, yet a more efficient one than anyone dares to realise. It just isn’t seen as traditional by those who wish to make it big with their written words. However, I have some helpful scriptwriting tips for those who are either interested in writing in this format or simply interested by this topic in general.
Start Out Using Final Draft (Or Any Similar Alternative)
When you first want to get into the flow of writing scripts, there’s no better piece of software to turn to than Final Draft.
Final Draft does all the structuring of your general writing, dialogue and entering a new scene for you, all you have to do is write! Since those who run scriptwriting competitions primarily take scripts in Word/PDF format, getting used to using Final Draft will teach you all you need to know when it comes to how to structure, appropriately space, write character focuses, etc. It’s also pretty helpful that you can keep track of every scene you create with a separate window that automatically opens upon opening up, ensuring to the best of its abilities that you won’t forget about a single segment.
Now, the only drawback is Final Draft can be quite expensive, generally around the €220 range. That can be far too pricey for some, but there are alternatives one could also consider. FadeIn Pro and Celtx are essentially the same thing, the only difference being they’re free. Regardless, Final Draft is where I began and found my love for scripts, therefore I feel as if I can’t recommend it enough.
Keep Things Simple
Novels are absolutely flooded with details! These writers want the readers to feel every emotion, smell every smell and taste everything there is to taste. This strategy sucks in the reader to allow them to experience the story in such a way that they also feel like they’re experiencing the characters. However, this is NOT what scriptwriting is for! Scripts are supposed to contain the story minus all the details infused. Nothing more, nothing less. If you want those same cascading details in this sense, then you write a treatment. The script is only meant to contain your story, so things are best kept simple.
This simplicity allows the writer to focus solely on their narrative without having to worry about losing their place after having to include a boatload of specifics. Short and sweet is the best way to go in this scenario, never forget that!
Keep Reading Scripts
The best tip I can possibly give aspiring scriptwriters is to never stop reading scripts. No two writers’ voices are ever exactly the same. Reading horrendous material shows you what not to do with your own work and reading outstanding material shows you how you can improve – no matter how great you are, it’s always possible to improve! Want to know how write in your favourite genre? Read. Want to know how to appropriately introduce new characters? Read. Want to know how to be compelling enough to keep a reader’s attention without much detail? Just keep reading! You’ll find similarities in certain stories’ formulae and maybe even learn to adopt your own formula that just so happens to work. The possibilities are endless here!
I could’ve kept on going for another 27 points of helpful tips, but I prefer to keep things short and sweet. Honestly, these top 3 tips are all you need to get into scriptwriting, build on that and constantly improve. Anyone that laces a post with a dozen points on a topic like this is just out for your time. Remember these simple tips and you’re already halfway there!