Script Writing for the Beginner

How to Write a Screenplay

Script writing may sound glamorous and fun, but there is a lot of work that goes into it, as well. Without knowing where to start, it’s easy to get stuck trying to put the different components together. Here are 5 basic guidelines that can get you started writing your first script.

Script Writing- 5 Basic Guidelines

  1. Come up with an idea:

Storylines don’t grow on trees! A script needs a compelling plot and interesting themes written into it. Unless you’re only writing for your own enjoyment, coming up with an idea for a script has to consider what the audience will like, what will make sense to the audience, and what you will enjoy writing about. Consider the things you like to read or watch and take some inspiration from them to help you picture something you’d like to see in print or on screen. Create an outline of how you think your story might progress.

  1. Get Writing:

You don’t have to be certain of every single thing you write down or the order that it should go in. It’s important that you get your ideas down on paper as they come to you, and later you can remove, revise, and reorder the things you’ve come up with. This will help you to avoid writer’s block and keep you on track. If you make sure you are writing whenever you get the chance, you will be less likely to put off writing or discard the project entirely. You can also follow your outline as closely as you need to, and change it as often as your story changes.

  1. Talk about it:

Family, friends, and other writers are a great source for inspiration, motivation, and constructive criticism. Instead of trying to keep your work private, as many writers tend to do, open up to others to find out what they think. Their suggestions could give you a brand new angle on your storyline or your technique. They can also help point out holes in plot lines or narratives that you might have missed, which could be the difference between selling a screenplay or a script.

  1. Give it a trial run:

Entering into a short screenplay contest or a script writing contest when you feel that your work is ready is a great opportunity to put yourself out there and get opinions. Letting others critique you is an important part of developing your work and your skills as a writer. Not to mention, winning can be a bonus for your writing career! It will get you some exposure and you might even get an offer made for your script or screenplay!

  1. Send your work to a professional:

Sending your script or screenplay to a professional when you believe you are finished is the final step. While you are waiting to hear back from someone, or multiple professionals, make sure you are reviewing your work and looking for things that you would change. There is no guarantee that it will be bought, and once you submit it sometimes you feel some last minute regrets! This is the chance for you to look back and tweak things before you get an answer, and if it’s a “no” then you can ask for feedback and incorporate that into your next draft.

Click to check out the unique opportunities with our Screenplay Contest and Short Film Script Contest.