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Thread: Thoughts on script/screenplay fanfics

  1. #1
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    Default Thoughts on script/screenplay fanfics

    I'm sure a good chunk of us in our early years as authors have done this sort of format and it's pretty unbeloved due to the amateurish vibes its gives off. However, I've seen a few fics where this is done on purpose as opposed to prose and done well in my opinion like this: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8939837/...d-Robotech-War I've been thinking of trying my hand at this sort of thing sometime but I'd like to know what you guys think of script/screenplay fics overall.

  2. #2
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    What it comes down to is your reasoning for doing script (and not all scripts are created equal).

    If you are doing script because you see your story being adapted as comic or play or cartoon or TV show, then that's fine. But you have to follow through and write the story to its fullest. If you see your story as a comic, you have to write the page layout and panel descriptions. If you see it as a play, you have to include stage directions. If you see it as a movie or TV show, you have to include settings and scenery and directions. There is absolutely NOTHING WRONG with doing script format as long as you have a purpose in mind to the script, and you go all the way and write a proper script.

    The problem is that a lot of people write script as an "out" to their being lazy and just not wanting to write to write dialogue tags or descriptive paragraphs. There are no touches that make the story a comic or a play or a movie... it's just a string of dialogue with minimal description written in parentheses. To me, that's writing script because the author is lazy and/or trying to avoid description and not because the author has a particular vision for his/her work.


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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt0044 View Post
    I'm sure a good chunk of us in our early years as authors have done this sort of format and it's pretty unbeloved due to the amateurish vibes its gives off. However, I've seen a few fics where this is done on purpose as opposed to prose and done well in my opinion like this: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8939837/...d-Robotech-War I've been thinking of trying my hand at this sort of thing sometime but I'd like to know what you guys think of script/screenplay fics overall.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    What it comes down to is your reasoning for doing script (and not all scripts are created equal).

    If you are doing script because you see your story being adapted as comic or play or cartoon or TV show, then that's fine. But you have to follow through and write the story to its fullest. If you see your story as a comic, you have to write the page layout and panel descriptions. If you see it as a play, you have to include stage directions. If you see it as a movie or TV show, you have to include settings and scenery and directions. There is absolutely NOTHING WRONG with doing script format as long as you have a purpose in mind to the script, and you go all the way and write a proper script.

    The problem is that a lot of people write script as an "out" to their being lazy and just not wanting to write to write dialogue tags or descriptive paragraphs. There are no touches that make the story a comic or a play or a movie... it's just a string of dialogue with minimal description written in parentheses. To me, that's writing script because the author is lazy and/or trying to avoid description and not because the author has a particular vision for his/her work.
    Don't get me wrong you two. I did this silly mistake myself on purpose when I began making fanfics when I was 14 years old.

    But as I learned further, if its meant to be a fanfic, it won't fit so well.

    But when I began making my original novel and posting it here on this forum, I realized that the script style writing is only useful when I complete the content of my novel through descriptive novel writing style.

    That from my experience as a Video Game Storywriter. I even did a manga of my novel once. What happened was that doing a story in a manga/comic uses less narration, more on thoughts and speech, even more sketches.
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    My feeling is that if you're going to write in script format, you should be doing so for a particular reason. If you do something in writing out of laziness, whatever it is, then you probably shouldn't be writing, period. The fact of the matter is that most scripts are not meant to be read for enjoyment, but simply to be directions for actors, camera operators, artists, animators, and so on. Obviously, few fic writers create scripts with the intention of going out into the real world and actually making a play or television show out of it. For that reason, it seems fairly pointless.

    The exception to this are "closet dramas," which were plays written in script form starting around the 17th century that were meant to be read by an individual or out loud in a small group. However, this is obviously not a popular form of writing today. Most present-day readers - minus students studying literature, film students, anyone in the theatre or film industries (or avid fan fiction readers) - are not used to reading scripts. So if you're going to write in script format, do so for a reason.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    If you see it as a play, you have to include stage directions. If you see it as a movie or TV show, you have to include settings and scenery and directions.
    To clarify, plays also need descriptions for the the settings and so on. If you're writing for film or television, technically speaking, you also need things like screen headings with information such as interior/exterior, the location and time of day. That said, dialogue also needs to be centered and character names written all in capitals, but we don't require all that here for simplicity's sake.

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    I was tempted to write the fic I'm working on. in script format but I realized that I would not have been able to pull it off well. Do I speed writing it and switched over to whatever the other way of writing is called. I did it out of laziness but there are times when it I'd appropriate to write in script like the others have said.

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    What I think a lot of novice writers think, when they start using script form, is that by doing this they can write in all the interesting dialogue and action they want, and take care of all the boring description stuff that they may struggle with can go into an infodump at the beginning where they establish a scene. And, in a way, yeah, they kind of can do that. But if you read actual plays and scripts, there's nuance there, and certain rhythms to the text that these writers tend to disregard.

    When a writer sits down to write a play or movie script, they write the words they do for a very clear reason. It's super important that actors learn the lines as they're written because of the nature of the script. A slight change in wording can disrupt the rhythm of the script. That's not to say that script fics can't have rhythm and nuance, and my experience with them is like a grand total of three that I read a chapter of, so I may not be in the best place to comment. But from what I've seen, they don't exactly have that. It's just someone taking an easier way out and not writing in scene descriptors, choosing instead to write stage directions, and sometimes not even that.

    All that said, if someone manages to write a script fic in verse and iambic pentameter, I will probably worship you as a god and sacrifice a goat to you every full moon.
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    Whoa ho ho, this is an excellent opportunity for me to toot my own horn!

    Anyway, a couple years ago (I think 2011?) I wrote a script fic about Brock running the Pewter City Gym. There were two reasons I chose the format. The first was that I wrote it in a very episodic manner that I felt was more in line with a TV show than a novel. The second was that I wanted to script it in a mockumentary style, as it was a character study and that's an excellent way to get inside the character's heads.

    Anyway, it didn't get a ton of reviews, mainly because I think people have some trepidation with starting a script fic, but those that read it seemed to really enjoy it, in spite of, or perhaps because of, the script format. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that format doesn't really matter as long as you're telling a good story. The link to this fic is in my signature, and I did manage to win an award for Best Human Character with Brock, so I'd suggest to check it out if you want to see a script fic done right.

    The Gym - Brock is an incompetent gym leader. Hilarity ensues.

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    I'll just give all my main thoughts on it. Some of this might have been said already, and some of it might not have. And some of this, people may agree with me on, while other parts, they may not. But this has always been the way I viewed the transcript-style.

    Transcript-style can be both the easiest and hardest way to write a story. It's easy, because dialogue isn't difficult to write at all. It's just a matter of putting the speaker name, colon, dialogue. The hardest part of THAT is just figuring out what you want the characters to say.

    But it's difficult, because transcripts require FAR more description than even story Fics do. And it's not simply because it 'makes the story look pretty'. No, it requires more description, because you write a transcript, as if it's a movie or TV series. So you're essentially writing it as if you're going to give it to actors or actresses to physically act out the scenes. Obviously, you're not really going to have actors and actresses do this, but this is just the way you write it. Because of this though, you inevitably have to include more detail. You have to have information about the scenery, the location, what's in the background, where the characters are standing (sometimes, you have to be specific, depending on the scene), and most often overlooked, when a character speaks, you often have to describe the tone of voice and facial expressions at the same time.

    That can be alot to remember, especialy if a writer isn't as experienced with FanFics. Ultimately, it falls on the writer's own preference. But before making any kind of decision on that, I would strongly recommend reading some of the script-based Fics that exist online. This is of course, a universal given. But it's worth emphasizing multiple times, because a surprising amount of people don't take this extra step, and it really is unbelievable how much this can help.
    Last edited by SBaby; 30th May 2013 at 2:07 AM.
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