Why I Don’t Write Scripts, Even Though I Love TV.

Random Rant Ahoy! (Or, Why I Don’t Write Scripts, Even Though I Love TV!)

Not a Scriptwriter

Last month I received my results for my MA Creative Writing final project, and whilst most of the feedback was helpful, I found one suggestion interesting: That, given I clearly adore TV, my writing is very visual, and I don’t read widely, I should reflect on why I want to write fiction over scripts.

Now, as an avid TV fan, and a ‘non-reading’ writer (in that I read less than ten books a year and lots of fanfiction) I’d already considered scriptwriting. I even applied to a scriptwriting MA a few years ago. There are, however, reasons I chose fiction writing over scriptwriting:

I don’t find scriptwriting fun:

The format is rigid, and there are lots of rules on content. I don’t get to describe characters, or break readers hearts with meaningful prose, and I can’t add much detail or action. With all these restrictions I don’t think I can tell a good story in a script, and I find some rules hard to remember, understand, and follow. Scriptwriting, therefore, isn’t for me.

Keep out sign on a padlocked pence
Some rules are obviously there for a reason, like some speed limits/keep out signs!

It’d be more work:

I can’t truly get to know my characters without writing large paragraphs of story about them. Even if I chose scriptwriting, I’d need to write my stories as fiction first to get my head around plot and character. So why not stop at fiction writing and avoid continuing on to something I don’t enjoy? Exactly.

I can’t publish a script:

As far as I know there’s no demand for published scripts. (I could be wrong, I’ve not researched scriptwriting in huge depth, but this is my impression, and I know I’d rather buy books than scripts). If I ever wanted to do anything with my projects I’d have to get good at networking to encourage companies to produce my stories. As an introvert who finds communication draining and sometimes struggles to understand people’s motivations, that’s not happening.

I’d have to cater to ‘trends’:

Lets face it, TV companies mostly produce ‘popular’ content, and they take very few risks to avoid ‘offending’ viewers as making TV is expensive. I’d have to consider the market and write something that appeals to current trends, which, mostly, isn’t content that appeals to me. I want to write cross genre M/M romances, without sparkly vampires or love triangles or all that other vomit inducing rubbish, so scriptwriting isn’t a good fit for my stories. Yet. Hopefully things change in future!

Barry and Oliver share a beer. Probably my favourite moment of the entire show before both Arrow and Flash went off the rails.
I still think these two had more chemistry than Barry and Iris, but The Flash/Arrow TV shows would never make it happen, just like Sherlock never canonised JohnLock.

Self publishing fiction is the best fit for me, but more importantly, for my stories. If, after I’m published, Netflix approach me, I won’t say no though, as long as they promise not to change my characters!

Writing ‘Visually’ Doesn’t have to be Exclusive to Scriptwriting:

I consider my tutor calling my writing visual/cinematic a high compliment. I want to write stories similar to the TV shows I love, which appeal to fans of those shows. I’m a visual thinker too. I daydream characters and worlds, think in images, and although I sometimes have trouble translating the images in my head into words, I enjoy this style of writing and it makes sense for me to write that way too. 

I shouldn’t have to give up on fiction writing because I don’t read widely:

But wait, writers need to read hundreds of books a year, right? Wrong, and I’ve got a whole other post planned about that particular piece of advice! In essence? Writers come from all backgrounds, and reading widely isn’t easy if you can’t afford a ton of books. TV is more accessible for some, and I believe consuming stories in other ways is valuable too, alongside good writing craft books/websites.

Girl hurling large stone towards the water
Yup, I said it, don’t throw stones at me.

I’m not saying I don’t read at all: I do, I’m just very selective about what I read and struggle to break through the noise to find books that appeal to my somewhat eclectic tastes.

I know my tutor was probably trying to be helpful, in suggesting something I may not have considered, but I gave scriptwriting a hard pass three years ago. Even if my stories aren’t mainstream, and my writing style is vastly different from what people expect from fiction, I’ll stick to my guns and write my stories as novels πŸ™‚

scales divider copy

Thanks for Reading!

My tendency to watch TV over reading books was a point of contention with a number of tutors throughout my MA. In many ways I felt like the black sheep of the course, and as someone who loves TV/games I don’t think the course was well suited to me. I’m not sure any writing course would be!

Do you write scripts? Struggle with networking? Have you felt out of place on a writing course because you read less or watch lots of TV? Chat in the Comments!

42 comments

  1. It totally makes sense to me that someone who thinks very visually and writes visually would write fiction. I actually don’t like TV or movies, but my approach to writing is quite visual. Also, if you think and write really visually, I would expect you to write fiction, not scripts, since you can be a lot more visually descriptive – the way you want to be, the way you see it – in fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. No, no stones thrown. I totally get it and think a writer needs to read enough to be a writer, no more. I reckon that could be 100s of books for some writers, but only a few for others. I’m not interested in scripts, either, mostly because I don’t understand the film genre enough . . . I wouldn’t do a story justice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s such a good way to put it πŸ™‚ I think part of it in my case is I want to read things I’ll enjoy for fun, not 100’s of fiction books to study craft. I love watching the result of a scriptwriter’s work on the screen, but reading or writing scripts seems like such a streamlined way of telling a story.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I tried scriptwriting, once. I had software I wanted to try out. It struck me as being a little more like building a framework for someone else to work with than writing a finished story, myself. Not for me, but I would like to see one of my books made into a movie one day.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Louise! Yeah I can see the tutor’s arguments for scriptwriting, but yeah, I don’t think it would work for me either (and I can also see why it wouldn’t work for you). We are in the same boat, my friend – I too don’t read as much as other writers (and, I admit, writers bring up a lot of books I don’t recognize (and even if I do, it’s typically I haven’t really read it) and I sometimes will struggle when asked about my favorite book or movie adaptation of books. I struggle with finding time to read, and, like you, have had years where I read less than ten. So, I get how you feel about being a black sheep. Like Raina, I think that a person who writes visually would be writing fiction. Scripts definitely don’t allow for many details. And yeah, I too rather not cater to trends or worry about market (it would cause me much unnecessary stress and I think it’s cool you want to self-pub). And I totally agree with you, books aren’t accessible by all. Great post :). Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m the same, I recognise book names sometimes but usually haven’t read them. I only want to read things that really appeal to me, because time is valuable, and that’s rarely things that appeal to everyone else πŸ™‚ I can name favourite TV/anime easily though! You should totally self-pub too, when you’re ready, honestly I think it’s the better option (and I say that after working in publishing for a bit!) πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, same here. There are some I recognize, but many I do not. That makes sense how you only want to read things that really appeal to you. Our time is short, so yeah I too prefer to read things that appeal more to me. πŸ™‚ What is your favorite anime?
        And lol I can name my fave show, but it’s harder for me to name book adaptations b/c, usually, I have seen the movie and read later or not at all (the book that it’s based off of) lol

        Awesome! Would you say creative freedom is the main reason why you prefer self-pub? (Or do you have a different reason)? :).

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        • Fullmetal Alchemist is my favourite, ever since I saw it I can’t find anything that beats it πŸ™‚ What’s yours? I saw Ready Player One, but never read the book. It’s rare I’ll read the books films are based on, unless I like the film a lot. I like spin off novels from TV shows though: There are a few for the Psych TV show, and some for Fullmetal too πŸ™‚

          Creative freedom is a huge part of wanting to self-pub, as publishers do everything from designing the cover to sometimes making you change characters and scenes. Another reason is traditional publishing takes a long time, like 1-2 years from signed contract to published book. With Self-Pub it’s as fast (or slow) as you want it to be. Plus, in traditional publishing you often have to do your own marketing anyway, so may as well self-pub! It’s mostly that I’m a control freak though: I have a vision in mind of how I want my story to be, how I want my cover to look, and a set release date I don’t want to waver from πŸ˜€ Traditional publishing would probably drive me nuts!

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          • Good question πŸ™‚ I think Rurouni Kenshin was one of my favorites. I also liked Inuyasha. And I did like Naruto and Bleach, but they felt like they would never end lol. Do you like Inuyasha? I didn’t know that there is a spin-off novel for Pscyh. That’s awesome! Did you enjoy the novels?

            Wow, that is definitely a big downside for me – I too would want to have ctrl of how my characters and scenes are. Like you, it would drive me nuts lol. When do you plan to self-publish your story? πŸ™‚ I believe in you :).

            Liked by 1 person

            • Kenshin is so adorable, but also tough when he needs to be. I adore his character πŸ™‚ I’ve never seen Inuyasha, Naruto, or Bleach. Long anime series also put me off: I started watching HunterxHunter but there are so many episodes it also felt like it’d never end.

              The spin off novels are great, very ‘fanfiction’ style but enjoyable if you’ve seen the shows πŸ™‚

              Yeah, I hate the idea of making changes based on what a publisher says, mostly because their choices would be more about making the story sell than keeping consistent with my vision. Thanks πŸ™‚ I hope to self publish on the 24th December 2022: It’s a long way off but it’ll give me time to write, edit, etc, and it’s also the ten year anniversary of the end of the Merlin TV show!

              Liked by 1 person

              • Haha true. It’s amazing how his personality can do a 180, no? From gentle and kind to tough. Did you like the other characters in the show a lot too? πŸ™‚ I thought Saito was one of the better characters in the show. yeah long anime series can take too long and are difficult to keep up with.

                Nice! πŸ™‚ How long are the novels typically?

                Yeah that would be a stressful thing to deal with – especially if it’s much different than one’s own vision. For me personally, I am okay if it doesn’t sell well- I see publication as (for me personally) a milestone and want to stay true to myself. YW πŸ™‚ that’s exciting and a great goal! You got this :). I wish you the best.

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                • Yeah, I need to watch Kenshin again πŸ™‚ I liked Kaoru a lot because she could fight but she was also a good person. It’s rare female characters are so well rounded, and that I actually ship a canon pairing like I do her and Kenshin πŸ™‚

                  I think they’re about 90000 words? I’d love to write TV spin off novels, I think that’d be a lot of fun πŸ™‚ I have some Doctor Who ones too, from the Rose/Tennant era.

                  I’m exactly the same! Even if only one or two people like my story, that’s fine. I’m writing and publishing for me, to tell the story I want to tell and see it in print πŸ˜€ Thanks πŸ™‚ Hopefully I can meet my goal, I’m struggling to get started and haven’t written a single word this month!

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Cool! I like Kaoru too. She saw the best in people and is kind, compassionate, tough, a great fighter, and courageous. She is an awesome character, no? And you’re right, I’ve noticed that in anime, many female characters (not all but many) are portrayed in a more shallow way. But Kaoru was written pretty well. πŸ™‚

                    That reminds me, would you say Steph is pretty well-rounded? Sorry for the kind of random question. Just wanted to ask to make sure πŸ™‚ (want to make sure characters are 3 dimensional and well-rounded)

                    That would be so cool! I bet you would do amazing at writing TV spin off novels!

                    Awesome πŸ™‚ How many books do you plan to publish? I guess the most important goal for both of us is to see it published and in print, no? πŸ™‚ Yeah, it’s not easy to get started. But you got this! GO LOUISE! :).

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                    • Yeah Kaoru’s so cool πŸ™‚ It’s a massive pet peeve of mine when female characters are poorly written/shallow, not just in anime but in TV too, but then I prefer to write ‘person first’ rather than ‘gender first’ characters. I think the issue is when writers focus too much on making characters seem female over making them seem human, if that makes any sense at all? Your Steph is awesome, from what I’ve read I don’t think she has any issues and is well rounded πŸ™‚

                      Thanks πŸ™‚ Well, everything I plan seems to be at least a duology, so at the moment I have 9 potential books over 4 series xD How many do you have planned? We can totally do this πŸ˜€

                      Like

  5. The closest I get to scripts is the dialogues I write of two (usually) unnamed people going back and forth. They’re fun to write, but I’ve never tried to write an actual real script as that would involve trying to find actors willing to use it and I’m not really sure I know the conventions of drama.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love writing dialogue too, especially banter between two characters. From my experience writing scripts, it’s lots of dialogue, but I only wrote one script to submit to the course I applied to. The finding actors etc is something I’d struggle with too. I have a drama friend but she’s more into musicals than anything else πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve never tried script writing, but it does sound somewhat limiting. I love writing fiction–and I did dabble with some playwriting, which I really enjoyed as well. It’s true–writers do come from all kinds of backgrounds. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree with you that Kaoru is great! She has flaws and strengths and is relatable. I know what you mean by people who worry too much about making characters ‘seem female’. They probably just base it off stereotypes and I think that can make their portrayal shallow – rather than making 3 dimensional characters. I heard some good advice on this too – making sure characters are 3 dimensional and that they drive the story forward. What are your thoughts about this? You have a good approach, my friend. πŸ™‚ And thank you! I try to make Steph a 3 dimensional character – one who is a great superhero who can take down lots of enemies, but also a kind, caring, and amazing friend. An individual filled with light but also is tough as nails who also has her own struggles (I haven’t been able to write them into the stories that I shared with you, but she does struggle with guilt over not being able to save her family from injury during a cyborg attack).

    Wow, 9 books? Cool! You can do it! You will succeed. I plan on publishing 1-2 books, both standalone. One’s my superhero SFF novel to be rewritten (it has Steph and her BF Matt) and the other’s an urban fantasy/supernatural thriller about two BFFs who try to survive a nightmare while dealing w/a shapeshifter that knows so much about them and plays on their painful memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly, characters should be three dimensional and ‘real’ with strengths, weaknesses, and they should make mistakes too. Those mistakes often drive the story forward, so it’s win win. There’s no room for stereotypes in my stories πŸ™‚ I’m guessing Steph’s guilt is what drives her to save others too, and she probably worries she’ll fail again one day. She’s strong with real fears and backstory πŸ™‚

      Thanks, and your stories sound awesome πŸ™‚
      I wonder if, as you write them, you’ll think of ideas for sequels? That’s what happened to me πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      • Definitely. They should not be perfect, but they should also have strengths and weaknesses as you said. πŸ™‚ And you’re right, mistakes do drive a story forward :). Sometimes in a funny way, sometimes in a serious way, but regardless, they can definitely move a story forward. I am intrigued and would definitely love to learn more about your stories. Do you plan to post more about them on your blog? And yes πŸ™‚ you’re right, Steph’s guilt about not being able to protect her parents from injury during a cyborg attack and her own protectiveness for her BF Matt (she has protected him from bullies) drives her to help people (though it can also haunt her; she’s calm, but her guilt can rattle her). Thank you for your kind comments about her πŸ™‚ She’s one of my favorite characters πŸ™‚

        Thank you! Your stories sound cool too! I guess I kind of have sequels. They’re more of spinoffs though lol – they aren’t sequels but individual spin-off (standalone) adventures that take place after the main story ends XD. Have you that done that before (write spin offs before actually finishing the main story or finish editing the main story)? :). πŸ™‚

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        • I’ll eventually post more about my stories in blog posts, but I want to finish a first draft first so it feels more real πŸ™‚

          Steph is awesome, can’t wait to read her full story πŸ™‚

          Thanks πŸ˜€ I’ve written short stories from the worlds of my novels before, although given I’ve changed so much of the plot most of them aren’t canon anymore! It’s fun to experiment like that though, because it helps character and world development πŸ™‚

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          • Awesome, that’s a great plan. πŸ™‚ I’m excited for you and your posts. πŸ™‚ Do you typically have more than one MC or just one MC?

            Aw thank you very much! I look up to Steph! (And not just because she is way taller LOL). She inspires me. WHat do you like most about her? πŸ™‚

            You’re welcome! I totally agree! It’s a great way to explore and help one know the characters and world better. πŸ™‚ Do you add new characters to your novels as a result of the short stories? (My short stories have resulted in many new characters in the story universe lol) (Peculiarexus is one).

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            • Thanks πŸ™‚ Generally I have one or two MC’s. If I’m writing romance I sometimes write from both character’s point of view and even though I try to keep to one point of view my characters insist they have a turn xD

              I like that she’s kind and strong πŸ™‚ She’s also nice to Peculiarexus and helps him when he struggles, which is great πŸ™‚

              For my dragon story I added two new villains from a series of short stories πŸ™‚ I think other than that the only new characters I added were the giant land snails and the dragon, but the dragon was kinda inevitable given how much I like dragons πŸ™‚

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              • Lol that’s cool. Do you like to alternate chapters for different characters POV? (Like chapter 1, 3, and 5 for one MC and 2, 4, and 6 for the other MC)? And lol do your characters argue with you? I must be an outlier because my characters are passive and don’t argue with me/don’t come “alive” like characters do for other writers.

                Aww thanks πŸ™‚ Yes, one of the best things about her personality is how kind and empathetic she is. πŸ™‚ She sees Peculiarexus like a little brother and has a ton of patience for him :). Did you like Peculiarexus and Melissa’s sibling bond too?

                Awesome! Land snails? Nice! I think it’s cool that you have dragon characters. Dragons rock!! :).

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                • Yeah, I’m alternating POV by chapter right now, although I’m not sure if it’s working as Merlin’s POV is currently the opening chapter and he’s depressed and not much is happening so I might have to start with Arthur instead! My characters tend to have a mind of their own and do things I never planned for them to do xD

                  Peculiarexus and Melissa get on so well, I loved their bond: They argue but they also care a lot about each other πŸ™‚

                  Yeah, giant land snails to fertilize crops xD I think they might have written themselves out again for now, but they may return! Dragons are the best πŸ™‚

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Aww poor Merlin. I hope he feels better as the story progresses. But yeah, starting with Arthur would be a good idea too :). Have you had chapters with two POVs? And lol time to tell your characters that if they do not listen, they’ll have to deal with snails and dragons :P.

                    Aww thank you :). Yeah, they really are like siblings no? (Melissa and Peculiarexus) Melissa is really like a little sister to Peculiarexus – she knows how to get on his nerves but they adore each other lol πŸ™‚ And Peculiarexus is still shocked that she is taller lol. But yes, it’d be fun to write a story about them going to comic-con, no? If I write it I’ll let you know.

                    Lol how do the snails fertilize crops? πŸ™‚ Dragons rock :).

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                    • Yeah, things get better for him in Chapter 3 I think, then worse, then better, then worse. I may put all my characters through a lot of stuff xD Arthur’s first chapter is all excitement and explosions, so it might be better tho! I don’t usually switch POV within a chapter, but I think in a later chapter I might have to. Haha they already have to deal with snails and dragons πŸ˜› At least they know they’re safe from death though!

                      You totally should write the comic-con story, I’d love for Peculiarexus to try and cosplay as someone taller xD I bet he’d get into loads of trouble and Melissa would watch the chaos he causes πŸ™‚

                      The snails leave gooey trails when they crawl over the fields xD

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  8. Lol you are so mean to your characters. πŸ˜› Just kidding. But yeah, authors are mean to characters, no? Haha :). Do they have to battle snails and dragons? Glad they are safe from death.

    Haha maybe Peculiarexus should cosplay as Ed? Haha :). lol That would be fun to see him get in trouble. And Melissa would probably be amused, no? lol πŸ™‚ :). She loves her dino bro.

    LOL I had no idea snail goo would fertilize grass haha πŸ™‚ :).

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    • I totally am mean to my characters πŸ˜› Dragons are always good in my stories, or chaotic neutral, but never evil πŸ™‚ The snails are helpful too, I’m not sure their goo would actually fertilise grass but in my story it does!

      Lol that’d be a good cosplay, Peculiarexus as Ed, it’d be a fun one to draw too πŸ™‚ And Melissa could join in and get a giant metal suit and cosplay as Al πŸ˜€

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      • Haha! What if your characters go on strike to protest? :P. That’s cool that the dragons are never evil in your stories. Do the snails live on farms in your stories? Or do they live near houses? πŸ˜€

        Hehe yes! That would be so fun. I’ll tag you if I draw it. It’d be pretty adorable with Melissa dressed like Al and Peculiarexus like Ed, no? And imagine someone pointing out how Melissa is much taller than Peculiarexus and he gets furious like Ed lol :). :P. πŸ™‚

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        • My characters are under contract, not to protest unless I intend to kill them πŸ˜› Yeah the snails are kept in stables near the farms outside a city. There are also giant birds that try to eat them. It’s a crazy situation πŸ™‚

          Yay, hope you get chance to draw it πŸ™‚ Haha yeah Peculiarexus would be so mad, and maybe even have steam coming out his nose!

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          • LOL but what if they go against contract and strike? Oh wow, that’s cool. How big are the snails? That’s interesting how birds try to eat them lol. They must be bigger than humans then lol. (The birds)

            I hope so too! πŸ™‚ I’ve been busy lately. What is your latest drawing? πŸ™‚
            lol Do you think it’d be a good idea to draw Peculiarexus getting mad while having an Ed costume on and steam coming out of his nose in the drawing? :). Thank you so much for the suggestion.

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            • I guess we’d have to renegotiate terms πŸ˜› The snails are like horse size, so the birds are much, much bigger!

              I haven’t had much time to draw lately either, but I did do another Merlin sketch πŸ™‚ I think that’d be a cool drawing (Peculiarexus in his Ed costume getting mad πŸ™‚ )

              Liked by 1 person

              • Lol oh wow! Those are giant birds then. Do those birds bug humans?

                Awesome! Feel free to share your sketch with me if you like :). And thank you! If I draw it (or something similar), I’ll share it with you! :). πŸ™‚

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                  • Lol I know I’d be scared if I had to deal with a giant bird (especially one bigger than Big Bird on Sesame Street! Lol :))

                    Sounds good! Do you plan to share it on Twitter? πŸ™‚ I finished mine recently, I’ll share it w/you on Twitter :).

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Cool πŸ™‚ I’m always hesitant to share project details or sketches on Twitter when I’m nowhere near done with the story. I guess part of me doesn’t want to get people’s hopes up for a story that could take years to finish!

                      Liked by 1 person

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