After reading many, many wonderful (and less than wonderful) screenplays, these are the three most common things I find that need addressing:
- A Story and B Story definition
- Character development
- Too wordy (show don’t tell)
Let me talk about each and you can put these to work in your own script. I reference Save the Cat by Blake Snyder, as the best screenwriting book to follow when defining these terms.
The A Story:
This is the main theme of your story. Basically what your script is all about. You have introduced the characters here and you’ve set-up the main gist of the story. Obviously, if this story is weak then the rest of the script will be as well. This is your foundation after all.
The B Story:
“This is the love story in most screenplays. It is also the story that carries the theme of the movie.” (Blake Snyder author of Save the Cat) This is the second story that departs us from the A story and gives us break. It is usually a set of new characters that you have not introduced in the A story already. It is a place where you state the theme of the story. It is a necessary part of any screenplay.
This is all about dialogue here. Too much and we get bored. Too little and we are watching a silent film. But the dialogue MUST coincide with the characters. This must be true throughout the screenplay. Each character, if you have set-up your analysis ahead of time, must stay true to their personalities. How they talk reflects this just as in real life. I know that we have all heard the line “show don’t tell”. This is crucial and needs to be a remembered. Actions really do speak louder than words when it comes to dialogue. That is my motto.