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Nov 28, 2012

Update on #NaNoWriMo 28: A Novel Scriptment


A screenplay goes through many stages, from storyboard to treatment to draft script to shooting script. Not all these terms are useful for novel writers. (Obviously a "shooting script" is not relevant, although it has its equivalent perhaps in the "gallies.")

I think some screenwriting terms and traditions are useful for novelists... the storyboard and the beat sheet, for instance.

Another useful term is scriptment. A scriptment is a halfway between a treatment (a summary without dialogue) and a full script draft.

What would a novel scriptment be? It would be half-way between an Outline and a Draft.

I like this term because to me "draft" implies a novel that is complete but inelegant. It needs editing and polishing, maybe even cutting scenes or adding or moving scenes, but it's a readable novel. An outline is just a skeleton. But if you have your novel blocked out scene by scene, with a lot of the dialogue included, in the correct tense and PoV, this is the novel equivalent of a scriptment.

If you know how your scriptment unpacks into full draft, you can estimate the correct word count for your novel. For instance, my scriptment for October Knight is now finished. It's about 30,000 words of scriptment, with some of that unpacked into draft already, coming to about 40,000 words right.

Obviously I haven't "won" NaNoWriMo officially (although if I include my blog posts and my NaNoWriMo Tips, I have written comfortably over 50,000 words this month...) but what I do have is an extremely useful and solid foundation for a novel...one that will require far less time in revision than previous drafts I've done before I knew how to extensively plan my novels before I wrote them.


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