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From the beginning to the end (1 Viewer)

I have written some unpublished books and found out that i would really love to write screenplays than books. So i decided to start writing screenplays. Of course it is not as easy as it sounds but i would like someone that knows more than me to give me some advice.
Where should i begin from? Start writing and then searching for an agent? Is it the correct way? Should i read some books about screenwriting? Should i register in some site that provides more info? What would be the best way to start as a screenwriter? Tell me what is the correct way from the beginning to the end.

Thanx a lot


Senior Member
Where should i begin from?
...with an outline of the book you want to adapt to a screenplay...

Start writing and then searching for an agent?
...no, finish writing, make sure it's polished and the writing is as professional quality as possible, and then search for an agent...

Should i read some books about screenwriting?
...definitely get a good how-to or two... i've a list of 'tools of the trade' i'll post below... and study real scripts that have made successful movies... since you are adapting books, you need to study books that have made a successful transition to film, as well as some that didn't, so you can learn how to do the former and avoid the latter... read both the original book and the screenplay adaptation...

Should i register in some site that provides more info?
...the best you'll find online is Two Adverbs ... and there are some sites of working screenwriters that offer excellent info on the basics of the craft... if you email me, i'll be glad to forward you some names and links... it's too hard, will take too much time/trouble to do here, so i hope i won't be slapped down for offering the info by email attachment, which i can't do here...

What would be the best way to start as a screenwriter?
...learning what screenplays consist of...

Tell me what is the correct way from the beginning to the end.
...that's way too much for me to do properly here... sorry...

love and hugs, maia
[email protected]
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Senior Member
'tools of the trade'
‘punctuation, plain and simple’ by e & j alward
paperback, $5.98 us
barnes and noble
a ‘must’ for all writers, at any level of expertise [alternate is: ‘punctuate it right’ by shaw]

'strunk & white's elements of style' [Fourth Edition]
grey cover, paperback, $7.85 us
longman publishers
this little book has all the basics of decent writing techniques, including some punctuation and no one should write a word without having it handy, to make sure no ‘sins’ are committed!

'the new american roget's college thesaurus in dictionary form'
red cover, paperback, $5.99 us
publisher: 'signet reference' imprint of 'penguin books'
this is best, easiest-to-consult thesaurus 'alive' and i never write w/o a copy within reach

a decent dictionary
in using the thesaurus for variety in word-choice, always double-check in a good dictionary, to avoid
choosing a word that doesn’t mean exactly what you think it does

‘Q and A: The Working Screenwriter—An in-the-Trenches Perspective of Writing Movies in Today's Film Industry’ by jim vines

a must for all aspiring screenwriters!

For a signed copy write to: [email protected]
Or send a check or money order in the amount of $20.00 (US) to:

Jim Vines
9461 Charleville Blvd. #517
Beverly Hills, CA90212
Attn: Book

* Outside the USA, add $3.50 (US)
* Be sure to include your mailing address (print neatly)
* Price includes postage
* Orders ship out in 7-10 business days


'elements of style for screenwriting' by paul argentini
yellow cover, paperback, $11.95 us
shows exactly how to use all script elements in the way
the industry demands they be written

'the screenwriter's workbook' by syd fields
white cover, paperback, $13.95 us
publisher: dell trade paperback
many how-to's around, but his is easy-to-'get' blueprint for a professional script… ‘the screenwriter’s bible’ is pretty much a must, too…

‘the screenwriter’s bible’ by david trottier
dk blue w/lime title cover, script-sized paperback, $19.95 us
publisher: silman james
3rd ed. or later of trottier’s ‘bible’ IS The Bible!... if you can only afford one book, get this!

‘SCREENPLAY: WRITING THE PICTURE’ by Robin U. Russin and William Missouri Downs
publisher: harcourt
$22 at thewritersstore.com and $12-up used, at amazon
highly recommended by a fellow mentor who’s a full time working screenwriter…
[total around $20; $66-88 for screenwriters] most of the above can be obtained used for less, or online at thewritersstore.com... and/or barnesandnoble.com or amazon.com/uk/ca

Screenwriters: when you get to where you begin writing the actual script, you'll also need a formatting program… ms word has an affordable one that works okay, and there are free ones available, but if you intend to write more than one screenplay, you should save up for 'final draft'...there are other good formatting programs out there, but it's the only one i work with… it’s good enough for pros and easy for beginners... see following advice of a guy who writes scripts FOR A LIVING:

Final Draft or SW2000?

Posted 8-18-2002 18:58

I'd go with Final Draft. This seems to be the choice of most studios and production companies. It makes life sooooo much easier when the screenwriter and the company that buys their script use the same software. (Trust me, I know this from personal experience.)

JV on syd field vs ‘bible’:
Yes, Maia, thanks for bringing up Trottier's "Screenwriter's Bible." It's filled with plenty of up-to-date formatting guides and lots of other great information -- a definite must for any newbie screenwriter. So if you're gonna get any book, certainly get that one. Sorry, I don't know much about Cole and Haag.

Screenplay Readers

Senior Member
Great advice there. I'd have to second going with Final Draft as well. If you're serious about writing, shell out and get the program and learn it. It's the industry standard. Once you've got it down (and it's easy), you can worry about the stuff that matters most.

Screenwriting isn't so different from writing books as you might think. You still have to keep the script reader engaged, as you would a book reader, and you have to keep them turning pages. Of course, the format and limitations are way different, but it's still storytelling. Learning the format is just the first step.

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Linton Robinson

Senior Member

As usual, advice from a non-screenwriter is a little faulty.

Okay, screenwriting books are a needless expense. The internet BRISTLES with advice, formatting, etc on screenwriting and there are LOTS of forums with experienced scripters to help you out. Google em up.

I'd recommend absolutewrite.com as a start. There are several well-attended MSN and Yahoo groups for posting beginning short schenes, etc....which I would recommend as a first step so you don't end up having to rewrite a whole script because you got some format thing wrong.

Once you have a complete script, the top of the line in script sites are triggerstreet.com and zoetrope.com Peer review sites where you review others' work in order to get feeback on your own. Reading other wannabe's scripts is very educational actually.

For format, go to WGA.com or A Few Notes on Formatting - Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwritign - The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences which I would suggest as the format you follow most carefully--it's not cut and dried, but this one is a good standard.

This site is good for format Keep Writing

Twoadverbs is over your head at the moment and pretty technically about marketing.
Better would be these two sites. NOTE: these are sites run by very prominent young screenwriters--ike Shrek, Scary Movie, Pirates of Caribbean--and frequented by some very accomplished pros and top amateurs. So walk carefully, read and learn, be respectful. (Not like me) Take a look, come back with questions when you've learned a little.


The Artful Writer - A Screenwriting Blog

Screenplays are easier to write than novels (deceptively easy at first) but harder to sell by a factor of a brazillion.

Final Draft is useful if you are working. But hardly worth the expense when starting out. I use a template for Word for Windows. There are lots of free ones available for download. Google

Sophocles...a cross-platform program that is cheap and hilariously easy to use is a good bet, as well.

Good luck

When you get a few scenes, post them here for comments. We LOVE to humiliate newbies.

dia muertes.gif
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