Screenplays vs. Novel Writing Styles

Discussion in 'Art & Creative' started by Mirage, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. Mirage

    Mirage Administrator Staff Member V.I.P.

    So, which writing style do you prefer?

    Generally screenplays are written with descriptions of environments and actions but character duologue is done more like:

    Bob: Hey what's going on? (smirk)

    As opposed to:

    "Hey, what's going on", Bob said with a smirk.

    What's your cup of tea? Have you tried both?

    Personally I find it a TON easier writing screenplay style. I like not having to come up with dozens of variations of the word "said" after each piece of duologue. I constantly feel the need to mix it up.

  2. FBrown89

    FBrown89 Registered Member

    Me personally, screenplays. I have more of a niche for writing them versus a novel type story. Screenplays strong point is, you HAVE to see what the writer wants you to see, versus a novel gives you much more freedom to design the environment and people that you want.

    Novels are 9/10 always lengthier as most screenplays only run about 100 pages, which is about an hour and a half of screen time.

    I guess it all comes down to what you prefer, one is harder than the other in one aspect, and vice versa.
  3. DLFerguson

    DLFerguson Registered Member

    I've only written novels and short stories but I've been meaning for years to take a screenwriting course since most people tell me that my prose tends to be very cinematic anyway.

    There's actually an online screenwriting class written by Steven Barnes Dar Kush that's supposed to be very good. I'm going to check it out and see what I can get from it.
  4. FBrown89

    FBrown89 Registered Member

    Don't need a class. Teach yourself. Learn the format, and start writing. That's the best class there is, just write.
  5. Merc

    Merc Certified Shitlord V.I.P. Lifetime

    The tough part about script writing is you need to be very, very good at dialogue and I don't know many people who are great with dialogue.
  6. dDave

    dDave Guardian of the Light V.I.P.

    The thing with screenplay is that you have to be able to sort of explain what is going on in the words that people use rather than in a novel writing style you can simply explain it. I personally find the novel writing style much easier, I've been using it for about 4 years frequently now.
  7. DLFerguson

    DLFerguson Registered Member

    I think you've hit on it. Most screenwriters I've spoken to have told me that most directors don't like it when a writer goes into detail with descriptions or how a scene should be shot. That just leaves dialog and if you don't have an ear for how different people talk...
  8. Merc

    Merc Certified Shitlord V.I.P. Lifetime

    I'll try not to rub my own ego too much here, but almost all positive feedback on my writing is about dialog, it's probably why I aced my script course at college. I love scripts because I love just pitting characters against each other and having them chat it out or have a single character really open up. Detail have to be perfectly concise meaning they have to be 100% efficient. Just enough detail to paint a bland picture of the setting and action but not so much that you're overwhelmed and not so little that you're staring at a white wall.
  9. DLFerguson

    DLFerguson Registered Member

    If dialog is what you're good at I don't see it as being egotistical in you saying so. Especially if that's the feedback you get from readers.

    In prose I don't think you really have to go into a lot of detail unless you're writing fantasy or science fiction and have to describe the landscape or some sort of machinery because those genres depend on created environments. For a story set in the modern day world you really don't have to go into detail for everything. Just enough so that the reader is oriented and knows where the scene is taking place.

    But a lot of writers today seem to get away with the barest minimum of detail even in prose. A lot of James Patterson's novels read like barely fleshed out screenplays.
  10. KiethBlackLion

    KiethBlackLion Registered Member

    I really don't have a preference though I use the screenplay format for most (if not all) my online short stories, merely because it's faster to type them that way.

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