guest-post: Jess from Alpina's Quill Pen! "To Script a Novel"

Hey guys! I'm here with one of the most brilliant people on the planet- one of my bestest friends in the whole wide universe- Jessie Verve! She's here to talk about writing scripts- which she does amazingly (don't contradict, Jess ;)) and she also blogs amazingly over at Alpina's Quill Pen. You need to go check out her blog and follow it and just read the sheer brilliance of her writing. And that's not a suggestion.


Allo! I'm Jess, and I would like to thank the wonderful Katie for asking me to ramble for her. I mean, fill in.

I do ramble painfully, you have been warned.

 Script writing is not something I would usually do. I'm a novel purest, I live to put in details and colors to a story that make you want to be living it. The problem is, one can spend so much time working on what color the milk pitcher is that the narrative is stopped and the journey in the story gets ridiculously halted. (Unless one is doing a Science Fiction Mystery that calls for the highest attention to the spectroscopic wavelengths and light.) Not like I've ruined an entire novel by worrying about the color of something, but some times one can get too focused on it and loose perspective. This is why, with much trial and error, that the yearly program called Script Frenzy seemed so appealing. It is a 30 day challenge to write a 100 page script. It is not glamorous, it is accomplishment. Because some times it helps to get out of your comfort zone. If you are especially stumped when trying to FINISH a story, it is a great tool to use. Scripting makes you very aware of plot momentum and purpose. If your works lack a definite ANYTHING, save some detail about the high school quarterback's eyes and the heroine's shoe color, then I prescribe you take a shot at doing a 'treatment' for your your novel. A treatment: "Films an expansion of a script [or novel!] into sequence form, indicating camera angles [not as important for this], dialogue, etc" --World English Dictionary. (Because it can be a darn great tool for a novelist to cheat and not write a traditional outline.) This is why, oh unpublished author, you should learn more about it.

You can use any format to write up a treatment, but I suggest a Screenplay or Stageplay. It may never be produced as such, but it is a very organized way of going about writing. The first thing you must know about scripting a movie, play, dramatization, or treatment is that you DO need detail. But it doesn't need to be a piece of art. First, you really must take a look at an old television or famous movie script. This is very important. You'll learn that it not only expresses emotion, it gives a vague idea of a character's attributes. Take this example:

Beth was a serene old soul, about 19 years old. She looks around the room and does not show any alarm, but regards her prison.

Without redundancy or vivid explanation, it gets the point across. You are not looking for anything wordy that fulfills a word count goal. You just need to get the basics out there, and make it happen. This is why a stage play or screenplay relates to writing an outline. You don't have to stress about EVERYTHING! Just get the main ideas out there! Get your characters propelling the plot line with actions and speech!

To become familiar with the formatting of different scripting styles, I suggest you check out Script Frenzy's How-To Guides.

Show, Don't Tell

 The second most important thing is dialog. What, you're already some expert with that? With scripting, it becomes very obvious when you are telling, not showing. Maybe, Dr. Author, you could learn something.

Who cares? It's still stinking fifty degrees. You're not from around here, are you?


Who cares? I am from around here. You might not be able to see these blue fingers, but they are there BECAUSE I AM COLD! I CAN BE FROM THE AREA AND BE COLD!

 That was a bad example, but if you need a lesson on showing vs telling you should go google it. xD

And if you are just fine being that ordinary, boring, and predictable novelist that whiteboards scene descriptions like Janet Evanovich and writes a novel in three months like Stephen King, I really can't help you. Because I am not at that level of superiority. (And I don't blame you if you're not either. I wouldn't want to be in any club with Stephen King.)

*This post was inconclusive because I drafted it in an hour. Don't be a last minute writer like me!


  1. Yay! Two of my favorite bloggers. I could maybe learn some lessons about writing from Jess ;)

    P.S. Someday I'm going to write a book. And someday Jess is going to get published. For sure.

    1. You writing a book would be utterly fantastic!

      And thanks for the vote of confidence! I'll have to give you a free signed copy of my first book. ;-D

  2. You've only read my spoof. *sticks tongue out*

    Totally covering my face at some typos. Haha.

    Thanks for having me!


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