Flipping The Script

Digital painting of a person looking at starry sky
by Owen
October 5, 2021

I hit 90,000 words on my current writing project last night. That means I’ve maintained an average of 3,750 words per day for the last four weeks on top of everything else I’ve had to do. It feels like a personal best.

I’m not ready to publicly share what the project is yet. But I’m writing this post because I was struck by an internal comparison between book writing and scriptwriting. Before I started writing my first book, my prior experience writing fiction was screenplays and theater scripts. There are obvious differences. Books don’t need stage, blocking, or scene directions. Screenplays only suggest what a character is thinking. And a 200-page book has way more words than a 200-page script does.

But what really surprised me was how similar they are. Not in structure, of course, but in the mental process I go through for each. I still have to envision every character and build out their personality. I still mentally block out every scene. But in a book, I also write all that stuff down. I don’t just suggest a character’s thoughts or motivations for the actor to portray. I write down what a character is thinking, feeling, or observing to further the story’s narrative. I still get to know each character intimately. But book writing means I get to share that intimate knowledge directly with the reader. It doesn’t get interpreted through the lenses of directors, producers, and actors.

I’m sure there’s a MasterClass or something similar that details these revelations better than I can. But it’s one thing to understand that based on someone else’s experience. It’s another entirely to experience it firsthand.

I really like this story, and not just because I’m writing it. I love my characters, I’m fascinated by the world they live in, and I’m genuinely excited about their adventures. I hope you will be, too.