Capturing Silence

Your script reads better if you avoid directional cues. Forget “pause” and “beat.” I know, each is listed in The Screenwriter’s Bible but paint a verbal picture instead. Film is visual. Give clues to the director, actors and crew with visual writing.

So instead of:

LILA

You have to know that Jack wasn’t there.

SAM

(beat)

But I saw him…

Jack bursts through the door.

Give some verbal visual cues.

LILA

You have to know that Jack wasn’t there.

Sam turns around and stares.

SAM

But I saw him…

Jack bursts through the door.

A short action makes your story read more smoothly.

Why should such a small change make such a difference? Each time a reader encounters a direction like “beat” or “pause” it stops the reading flow. The reason to write visual cues rather than directional clues is to keep the reader reading.

This technique, short and easy, will add power to your story.

This technique will demonstrate you are a writer ready to draw the reader into your story and keep her there until the end.

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