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    #11
    Senior Member ahalpert's Avatar
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    No


    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
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    #12
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    The most important thing is that the screenplay grabs the reader and compels them to keep reading it until the end.

    Each paragraph should have as many words as necessary to make the reader see it in their mind. No more, no less.

    Some paragraphs will be a single line. On occasion, maybe even a single word.

    At the other extreme, I would submit that there could theoretically be an example of a brilliant screenplay consisting of nothing but 15-30 line paragraphs. But that would require a writer of almost supernaturally exceptional skill and talent in order for the story contained in the words to overcome the inevitable fatigue that the reader would be expected to feel just looking at the first page.

    Personally, I shoot for a limit of 5 lines per paragraph (well, 6 max). If one happens to run over, I search for ways to trim it down to 5. If it works better split into two paragraphs, I'll do that. And if it still resists, and it looks like it still works while being longer, I leave it as is.

    I think generally that multiple short paragraphs are easier to read and comprehend than a single long one. (And long and short are relative to the form; a paragraph that might be short in a novel might still be way too long in a screenplay.)

    The last thing you want to do is bore the reader or make them feel like reading your screenplay is WORK.


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    #13
    Moderator Alex H.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimS2 View Post
    Oh okay, but even if I concentrate on telling a good story of course, should I still watch out for how many lines a paragraph should be, even with a good story, or no?
    Ryan, stop running in circles. It’s been said, clearly, that you need to start with a good story. Full stop. All the formatting issues come in later. Just write the story, start to finish, and stop asking for more opinions on paragraph length.
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    #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimS2 View Post
    Oh okay, but even if I concentrate on telling a good story of course, should I still watch out for how many lines a paragraph should be, even with a good story, or no?
    Only in the sense that there's probably a pithier way to write a 7, 8, 9+ line paragraph.

    And, if I may, I've noticed, that your style, has a lot of extraneous commas, which are not only grammatically incorrect, but result in a jerky, halting read, which is the opposite of the experience, you want the reader to have. No offense intended.


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    #15
    Senior Member paulears's Avatar
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    When I was teacher in college, Microsoft Word's analysis page was the bane of my life. If you need 10,000 words, some people would write rubbish, until it got to 10,001 when they could stop. The good writers might have written 9500 decent ones. These numbers are guides on which to base something. Who cares how many lines a paragraph has, because it is as long as necessary for it's purpose. A love story would have substantially different stats to a story that is full of sci-fi technobabble. I like novels - Dan Brown, Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler. I struggle with Michael Crighton, because his stats are different. He uses padding, long winded (in my view) explanations and while his dialogue is far more detailed, audiobooks of his stuff tend to be abridged. Making these things into movies changes what was written drastically.


    If the story is good, and you are eager for what comes next - surely you cannot even think of editing the length of the paragraphs, or for me, even checking them. Remember, you are constantly writing rules for your rule book, but other people do NOT do this, so you cannot compare yours to theirs. When I write, I use, I guess, some kind of mental rule to decide when I start a new paragraph. I say "I guess" because I don't think about it, it just happens. You are breaking everything down into ingredients, and assuming if they are all correct, the final thing will be right. That doesn't work. Your spurt of new topics here asks questions that you should have got sorted ten years ago. I t think you know the answers to your questions, but before you do anything you MUST get positive responses from 47 people, or it's not validated? That's how it seems.

    If you have a good idea - go with your gut, using the ten years + worth off experience you have collected. If you have not developed this yet, I fear it may now be too late. I did not realise you were in your thirties, I assumed early 20's, fresh out of college/university. If you haven't got it by your 30s, after such a long development period, sadly, I think it's time to ask yourself if the journey is sensible. After all - you cannot remain a beginner for ever. I was frankly shocked to read the old Ironpony posts to see no progression whatsoever. Your posts from a long time ago ask exactly the same questions. You are stagnating, not developing. I've tried so hard in the past to help you, thinking you were new to this, but you aren't.

    Move on and up, or sideways and out. This is the only sensible advice I'm afraid. Years ago now I asked you if you had done a skills audit? A really honest, personal recording and analysis of your strengths and weaknesses and you never did it that I'm aware - we have no idea what level we should talk to you on - beginner, enthusiast or professional because it's just unclear. You use professional vocabulary but seem to have a beginners understanding. It's very confusing. People on the internet will help but you must be honest with us. You seem to be the classic eternal student - asking loads of questions, but unable to make the leap to actually doing things.


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    #16
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    One of my favorite MWC episodes, the "Computer Show".

    http://www.albundy.net/marriedaniac/...ipt/0319t.html

    Having run it through the word counter, 3,823 words; 20,934 characters; reading level 9th-10th grade; reading time 13.54; speaking time 21.14

    https://www.seinfeldscripts.com/TheContest.htm

    Seinfeld, "The Contest" - 4,671 words, 26,178 characters, reading level 9th-10th grade; reading time 16.59; speaking time 25.57.

    https://wordcounter.net/

    I couldn't find even a transcribed "Murphy Brown".

    PS. The word count is total, dialog is only a portion of it and the direction is often added on by the transcribers and not the same as in the original script. (MWC appears to be the exact copy of the actual shooting script though).
    Last edited by DLD; 07-01-2020 at 01:25 AM.


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    #17
    Senior Member KurtF's Avatar
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    Script ideals have changed over the years. The screenplay for "Some Like It Hot", by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond (1958) is somewhat dense, running 150 pages.

    https://www.public.asu.edu/~srbeatty...eLikeItHot.pdf

    Scripts are much leaner today, with concise writing and quick reads being the norm.
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