There are many ways to express your creativity. One way is through the written word, either as a book or screenplay. Both forms of literature have their own pros and cons, but if you’re not sure which one will be best for you, then this article should help clear things up!
There is an apparent difference between a screenplay and a book, but what notable differences can you expect when writing one or the other?
Differences Between Writing A Book And Writing A Screenplay
- A screenwriter writes for movies and television while a novelist writes books.
- A novel usually contains more words than a screenplay does, which may mean that it would take less time to write a screenplay than it would to write a novel.
- Screenplays are written for visual media, while novels rely on the reader’s imagination. So if you plan to have readers visualize your story in their head, then writing a novel may be best for you.
- Writing scripts is an active process. There is usually more dialogue than narration because of the need to avoid overlapping lines with another actor speaking off-screen or off-stage.
- Books do not need to worry about this problem as much, but they are limited by their lack of visuals and actors.
These are just a few notable differences between the two mediums. Of course, with a book, you are looking to have it published and obtain a book deal, or self-publish and start selling copies right away. Whereas with a screenplay, you are hoping to contact production companies, directors, and actors who will, in turn get back to you to make your dream a reality (and lining your pockets quite nicely).
With companies like Amazon Studios, producing fresh movies and shows for Amazon Prime and Netflix picking up scripts from new writers every day; the screenplay option is looking more and more exciting.
The possibilities are endless for a good writer, and with so many options out there, which one is the best for you? It all depends on what type of writer you are and what end goal you have set for yourself.
Is writing a screenplay or writing a book a better vehicle to sell a movie?
Remember, if your aim is to create or sell a movie, that doesn’t mean your only option is to write a screenplay or script. As I am sure you know, many novels and even comics have been made into movies and TV shows.
In fact, if you can publish a book that does really well, you have excellent chances of being approached to have it made into a movie.
But there are some advantages to writing a screenplay. One of those is that it is easier to do without sacrificing quality. You can also pitch your story in minutes and, as long as you have the necessary skills, will be able to write it yourself. A book can take much longer than a script to create and will require many more people involved before being published if you are going the traditional route as opposed to self-publishing.
The flip side of this is that if you’re an aspiring screenwriter who’s really just trying to get their work out there, it might be best to just write the script anyway. The majority of screenwriters will admit that their first scripts weren’t the best, but they kept writing and working on their craft. Eventually, one of their scripts got picked up, and that shed some light on their other, previous scripts.
Which comes first, the book or the screenplay?
The answer is that it does not matter. It all depends on what you are comfortable with and what your idea will be about.
Many authors who have written screenplays as well as books can attest to the similarities between the two forms of literature, but also how they differ in many ways. Some writers may find one form easier than the other, while others enjoy writing both equally. This is a personal preference, which should come first for any writer before starting a project from scratch
Tips On How To Write A Screenplay
Here are some steps you can follow to write a good screenplay.
1) Know the Genre of Your Story
This is important because it can help you know what type of movie or TV show to write. Action, horror, comedy, drama- all have different types of storylines and will require a specific type of screenplay.
2) Know Your Plot
The first thing you should do when starting your script is think about the plot in detail. What are the main events that take place? How does this compare to other stories like it? Where does this story take place?
3) Know Your Characters
Who are the main characters? What do they want? How does this compare to other stories like it? Who are your protagonist and antagonist? These are all questions you should ask yourself before you start writing so that you can create believable characters that your audience will be interested in.
4) Know Your Structure
Knowing how long your story will be on paper will help determine how many scenes there needs to be. Generally, a 90-page screenplay has at least 8-10 scenes, while a 120-page screenplay has at least 12-15 scenes.
Make sure you plan the scene in advance to avoid anything that might disrupt your pace and confuse your audience.
Is it easier to write a book or a screenplay?
A screenplay is typically easier to write as they are much shorter and more linear than a book.
Do I need to know how to write a screenplay before writing one?
No, it does not matter whether you know how to write or not; the best way for someone who has never written either is just to start!
Do screenplay writers get royalties?
Screenplay writers do not typically get royalties unless they have a personal contract with the movie company that is making their screenplay.
What if I write a book and it becomes popular?
A book can become very popular but does not always happen. Sometimes screenplays are made into movies so the author of the original idea could make money from both sources as long as they were appropriately credited for each source.
How much do Netflix screenwriters make?
This is a very popular question, for obvious reasons. Netflix has not released their exact pay scale for screenwriters but we can assume that it is similar to the rest of Hollywood (and should definitely be more than minimum wage!)
Now that you know the differences between a book and a screenplay, what should you do?
If your dream is to publish your work in a traditional format, it would be wise to consider this decision. A few things to consider are if you’re the best at writing dialogue or prefer describing what’s happening. It may also help if you are a fast writer because screenplays typically take less time than books due to their shorter length.
Books tend to be more detailed with more description and character development as they need to paint a picture.
In order to know whether or not you should write a book or screenplay, you need to ask yourself some questions before you start writing; many of which have been included in the post. Others will be more personal to you and your long-term goals or aim with the particular idea you want to put out there.