How to write a Script…

I was asked earlier in the week how one would set about writing a script and what the format looks like. This was a very good question as the format of a script essentially makes it a script. It was one of the reasons I hesitated to commit to Script Frenzy last year because I didn’t know how to do it myself and I thought that figuring it out was going to be tough.

Very tough.

Luckily – I was wrong.

The first thing I did was download a script writing program called Celtx. It made my life easier within minutes. Celtx provides you with an easy, format as you type lay out. It immediately set everything out as it should be. The only thing you need to learn is to understand what it allows you to do.

Basically – a script compromises of four sections. The headings, the actions, the character names and the actual dialogue.

The headings tell you where you are. Whether your inside or outside, whether your in a specific location or in an unknown piece of territory – whether it’s night or day or what is the time.
The actions are the descriptions that follows the headings. These give a little bit more detail as to how things look, or what the characters are doing at a particular time. If you’re set on a lot of details, these can become quite lengthy.
The character names tell you who is about to speak and the dialogue naturally tells you what the person is saying.

To show you an example, this is how we would put something together using this.

INT. ALYSSA’S ROOM 8:52pm

The young woman sit in front of her computer, typing away at her blog post. She pauses, then sits back to narrate at herself.

ALYSSA
(taking off her glasses)
See, it’s all pretty basic. The trick to writing a script is basically to understand how these four actions link together.
A writing program like Celtx makes it so much easier because it takes away the stress of you wondering how your formatting like line spacing and font should be.

 

Another thing about scripts are that apparently, they must be in courier new font. This is something I just learned recently – but it wouldn’t have affected my writing anyway because I always use courier new when writing.

These are all just the basics naturally and, if you are interested in learning more – I would suggest going to the Script Frenzy website’s tutorial section. They have brilliant articles, not just on script writing but basic story structure. The thing is that all stories have a rhythm and once you understand that, you understand how they are put together. J It will make you a better writer, trust me.

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2 thoughts on “How to write a Script…

  1. romancingforthrills March 13, 2011 / 9:28 pm

    Great post – really clarifies the layout for scripts. Are you doing Script Frenzy this year? I was tempted, but must finish editing the second draft of my novel first!

    • Alyssa March 13, 2011 / 9:47 pm

      Thank you and welcome!
      Most definitively! I’m MLing for our region. I do it purely for the fun of meeting other people (and, I don’t do sports, lol). You should really consider it! It might be a good break from your novel. 🙂
      I’m busy with a novel, but still doing SF.

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