Script format

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Script format

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Postby ChaddyManPrime » Sat Jun 20, 2015 12:21 am

What makes it bad/good, and can it be done well?

I want to go into deep details because there are things I want to describe, and script format seems like it's the best route.
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Postby NemZ » Sat Jun 20, 2015 3:21 am

I don't read script fics, period. The format heavily lends itself towards extremely dialogue-heavy scenes with weak description, little or no action, and usually a serious problem of telling rather than showing. Even well-written script format stories would benefit from being reformulated as prose.

This shouldn't be surprising. Things written in script format are done that way for ease of performers and are not actually intended to be read by an audience.
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Postby Obtuse Rhetoric » Sat Jun 20, 2015 4:08 pm

Poster above has the right idea.
Really, you should only be writing in script format if you want to get some preliminary ideas for your fic/story down in order to organize your thoughts. Once you have something akin to a frame established, the writing process should really begin.

I also find that individuals with little to no experience with writing tend to develop a better sense of structure for their story through this format. While it's not ideal, it's one of the better ways of getting your ideas across without worrying too much about the finer details. However, unless your end goal is a polished screenplay (which I doubt), this shouldn't be your go-to style, as explained by the previous post.

Despite my hesitance to advise this format, perhaps you can manage to work it into your repertoire.
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Postby MisterHalt » Sat Jun 20, 2015 7:08 pm

The 'biggest' script format fanfic I remember off the top of my head is Eva-R. While the story itself was good, I just found it so freaking hard to read because of the format. Not to mention the bits that were like:

Person A: ...

Person B: ...

Person A: ...

throughout the entire story.

I've re-read many fanfics, but the script ones usually get a miss because I don't feel like 'adjusting' myself to a completely different format.
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Re: Script format

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Postby Mr. Tines » Sun Jun 21, 2015 4:24 am

As to script format in general -- fanfiction does ease the author's load as we are able to assume that the audience has prior knowledge of the characters and their environment (*cough* Rebuild *cough*), so a dialog intensive approach, with only occasional setting hints, can work -- if you can write dialog.

Eva-R's habit, as cited above, of two characters in uncomfortable silence being shown as a to-and-fro of ellipses, pretty much shows how not to do it (I found that one unstartably bad, especially when combined with the terribly dated site design, when I encountered it in '04). Shin Kakumei Evangelion is, to my mind, an example of acceptable use of the format.

Given that this is Evangelion, and the whole point is that towards the end, things come tumbling down, it can be acceptable to break format from time to time e.g. to make transitions from exterior to interior worlds (episode 16 being a prime example where prose might give way to script at times) -- these are the sort of transitions usually marked by typographic mucking around in print novels.

View Original PostChaddyManPrime wrote:because there are things I want to describe, and script format seems like it's the best route.
Script format throws the emphasis onto the dialog far more than normal prose, so this seems like an unusual decision to have made. If you want to bust out the long descriptive passages, third person objective prose would seem the natural choice for the default mode.
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Postby Reichu » Sun Jun 21, 2015 3:42 pm

I used a pseudo-script format for an attempt at a fanfic and... yeah, it was a bad idea. If I ever take another stab at that 'alternate ending where Kaworu takes over Eva-02 and fights Lilith while Eva-01 starts Third Impact', it'll definitely be in regular prose.

Save the script format for actual scripts. It would be acceptable for a faux interview, as well.
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Postby Atropos » Sun Jun 21, 2015 4:46 pm

Script format is fine, in theory. The problem is that many who use it do so because they're too lazy to write in prose, and they're just as lazy when it comes to everything else.

As for Eva-R, well, I know a fair number of people who like it, but my problems with it have nothing to do with the format.

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Postby NemZ » Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:26 pm

Well, okay... using script format for a specific part of a story in a contexcturally sensible way that otherwise is in prose is fine. Otherwise, no. Just no.
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Postby pwhodges » Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:47 pm

View Original PostReichu wrote:It would be acceptable for a faux interview, as well.

I suppose that's what I did in a couple of chapters of my yarn (a meeting reported as verbatim minutes, and the big interview at the end in particular). It just seemed the natural thing to do at those points.
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Re: Script format

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Postby Bagheera » Sun Jun 21, 2015 6:06 pm

View Original PostMr. Tines wrote:Script format throws the emphasis onto the dialog far more than normal prose, so this seems like an unusual decision to have made. If you want to bust out the long descriptive passages, third person objective prose would seem the natural choice for the default mode.


Yup. My fic is all about the dialogue, but I've never felt the need to go to script format. Even if the dialogue is the focus the characters' actions, demeanors, etc are still important, so go with prose if at all possible.
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Postby BiQ » Fri Jul 03, 2015 1:10 pm

If I really like the story for whatever reason, I can 'stomach' the script format. But still... Script format tends to convey one of two messages to me as a reader:

1) the author cannot write dialogue that flows naturally and gives at least some hints who's saying what - basically, cannot make the dialogue "sound like" the characters I should already be able to consider at least somewhat familiar

or

2) the author considers me, the reader, to be a squirrel high on caffeine with trouble keeping more than a half thought in my head at a time - which I do consider somewhat insulting. Apologies to squirrels high on caffeine.

Worst offenders manage to do both. In those cases, the story also doesn't tend to be good enough for me to stomach the format. Guess how motivated I am to spend time to read such fics? Yea. Not very much.
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