What is Screenwriting?
Simply put, it is the art of writing scripts for a visual medium. Unlike a play where the action is "talked out," the action within a screenplay is "acted out" visually. The old saying, "a picture is worth a thousand words" was never more appropriate in relation to screenwriting. Having had the benefit of reading many screenplays as a reader, one of the most annoying, teeth grinding, nails against a chalkboard, signal of bad screenwriting is when the reader is told something instead of shown something. For example, I can't put a number on the amount of screenplays I've read with descriptions like this:
"JOHN enters the room. He is Frank's best friend and the life of the party."
OK. We, the readers, are supposed to know this because the writer said it? What makes matters worse is when, right after making this statement, the character of John engages in an activity or line of dialogue not even remotely associated with his "life of the party" description. In a movie script, the writer should introduce every action and/or character the same way the moviegoers will be introduced to them on the screen. Now compare the above introduction of John to this one:
"As Frank makes his way through the crowd of people at the house party, his attention turns to where the loudest commotion is coming from. As he enters into the living room we see his friend JOHN surrounded by hoops and hollers, dancing on a table while a beautiful topless blond sits on a chair receiving a lap dance from him."
Get it? Now doesn't this get the point across visually that John is not an introvert? In screenwriting you must always check to see if what you are trying to get across is being transmitted visually at all times. Not to downplay or trivialize dialogue, but no matter if the movie you are watching is good or bad, you can watch a movie on cable, turn down the volume, watch the movie from beginning to end with no sound, and know exactly what the movie is about. Why? Because a screenplay has to be VISUAL or else the movie will not be made. To show you just how important visual writing is, some writers do not write a line of dialogue until the structure and flow of the action is completed from beginning to end. They write the dialogue last because when they go to each scene, know what the scene is for, and what will happen in the next scene, they will be able to write the dialogue within a context.
"How NOT to write a screenplay: 101 Common Mistakes Most Screenwriters Make," by Denny Martin Flinn, is probably the first book you need to read if you want to know not only how a good screenplay is NOT written, but also the mindset of the Hollywood script reader. This is important because if you don't impress the script reader, the person the people with the money use to filter out the good from the bad screenplays, no one else will see it. You may not write a great script after reading and applying the wisdom within its pages, but you will not write a bad one.
On the flip side if you want to know HOW to write a screenplay, look no further than "Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting," by Syd Feld. I personally recommend this book because not only is Mr. Feld known as "the father of structure," but also he deals specifically with the art of screenwriting and less with the business of the movie industry. No need to rush. That part will come later. "The Screenwriter's Workbook" is another book by Syd Feld and the companion book to Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting.
"500 Ways To Beat The Hollywood Script Reader: Writing the Screenplay the Reader Will Recommend," by Jennifer M. Lerch concentrates on how to make your screenplay enjoyable to the Hollywood reader and literally gives you 500 ways to avoid having your script scrapped by the reader and passed on to the people who can bring your idea to life.
"The Screenwriter Within: How to Turn the Movie in Your Head Into a Salable Screenplay," by D. B. Gilles and "How To Write A Movie in 21 Days: The Inner Movie Method," by Viki King are two other books I personally recommend. Both books deal strictly with the screenplay itself and less with the movie industry. Trust me, you will have plenty of time to deal with that hurdle once your final draft is completed.
Screenwriting, Screenplay, and Movie Script Resources for Writers: The online resource directory geared towards helping writers overcome the peaks and valleys of the creative process and complete their final draft!
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If you are like most writers, you're constantly searching for tips on technique that will help you to increase your chances of publication. You eagerly pounce on articles that tell you how to plot better, write better and sell better. In addition, you occasionally buy books on writing, or do a writing course, or attend a seminar.
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Not long ago, I took stock of my unrealized desire to be a published writer, or maybe I should I say ‚??Writer‚?? with a capital ‚??W.‚?? For some reason it always seemed a lofty goal, to want to see my byline in print. I found this trepidation totally uncharacteristic to every other area in my life. For twenty years, I have ministered to women both in small home group settings as well as conferences. Especially in conference settings, friends would ask, ‚??Are you nervous?‚?? Almost every time I could answer truthfully that I was not. I could easily stand up in front of hundreds of faces and feel quite confident in my own abilities. Yet, to put an article or query in the mail, or to push the send button to some unknown editor elicited in me, absolute, consuming insecurity.
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A few months ago, I wrote a guide entitled: 101 Writing Tips for Successful Email Marketing. In fact, many COPY TIPS subscribers have a copy. Since that time, I have worked on dozens of successful projects and have discovered some additional tips for boosting response.
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Writing Query Letters
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Learn to Talk on Paper: The Art of Effective Business Writing
Rudolf Flesch, a specialist in writing skills, ran classes for over thirty years for civil servants, lawyers, bankers and the like, on writing business correspondence.
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Some writers complain that writing is arduous work requiring long hours and little pay, which is often true especially for freelance fiction writers. Today, everyone wants to be a writer and with word processors and computers it is easy to put thoughts down, but it is not always effortless to be published unless one self-publishes or uses a vanity press.
Written Communications ? 6 Tips on Language & Tone
In most aspects of business, we will be expected to write a message to a client or customer, in the form of a letter, memo or e-mail. Language and tone in these communications is vital to the relationship with the recipient, and can mean the difference between a sale and a lost prospect. Therefore, we cannot afford to get it wrong. Following are six tips on how to write to a customer or client to ensure the best possible outcome.
Important Points of Fiction
Fiction manuscripts receive feedback that addresses and scores:
Seven Suggestions To Develop a Superb Writing Style
Every writer eventually develops her own unique style of writing. As you struggle to create your own voice, while focusing on the required standards, you may want to consider the following tips for improving your style and establishing a professional formula for success.
Keep your Book Dream Alive
Is your book nearly finished, finished, published, or even in its early stages? Do you want to know how to promote it with ease and low cost?
Message to Online Writers: Dont Give Up On A Good Idea
The writing community is a strong one, with many new "members" joining daily. All theser writers are finding or looking for their particular niches. Many are looking for solid information on how to get started making money through online writing. Others use newsletters to boost their fan base, market their work or services ... you all know exactly what I'm writing about, since most of you who are reading this are in the same position.
How To Co-Publish For Profits!
The Benefits of Co-Publishing
Why I Write
I started writing as a way of keeping safe memories of a particularly adventurous 3 years of my life when I became totally addicted to the world of online chat rooms and met a number of 'gentlemen' for real that I met in fantasyland online.
Why Should You Use Worksheets For Proofreading?
Proofreading worksheets are a great tool to help individuals open their eyes to the mistakes that are commonly made. These are used to help teach a person how to spot mistakes in copy. They are similar to those you got as a child when you were learning to write and read. Sometimes, they can be simple, while other times they are progressively more difficult. It is important to use these worksheets as part of your training to become a qualified proof reader.
Home Business Writing Made Simple
Have you ever written a letter to a friend? Ever written an outline for any project you were about to start? What about a shopping list? If you have, and I imagine most have, you can then write focused, brief, content articles for your online home business.
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Every morning I excitedly get out of bed. Just a few minutes of goals and visions for the day swirl in my head. No lingering for me, no alarm, no wishful notes too. Just me in my night gown with no hat.
How to Avoid the 11 Biggest Mistakes of First Time Authors
"If you want to change your life," Harry Beckwith wrote in The Invisible Touch, "write a book." But writing a book can also be tremendously frustrating and unrewarding.
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