What is the difference between writing novels and scripts


What is the difference between writing novels and scripts?

By being a screenwriter, you choose to be in a really collaborative business, but you don't have the final vote

In the novel the story unfolds from the inside out. It is built from the passion and struggles of its characters. The reader is drawn to the world as it happens in their imagination. In the script, the story moves from the outside to the inside. What is on the page is first assimilated by the actors and creators, and then expressed in a movie. Both have an emotional impact.

In other words: when someone holds a printed script in their hands, it's just a blueprint for what the movie or TV series will look like when it's completed. Whereas when someone chooses to write a novel, finish it as a finished and finished product.

The novel is written for the theater of the mind. The scriptwriting is done as a visual outline, a document for the director, producer and actors if we go further, this is a reference point for the costume designer, director and production designer. These talented people build the story world. Composers will also add music and sound to the mix.

The costs of scenarios versus novels

Making a movie or TV series is an expensive business, even if it's a low budget TV movie, and while writing can only take two weeks, achieving a screenplay requires a big investment. Perhaps this is the reason why fewer movies versus books are released. The production of the novel, of course, is not without costs. 

There are editors, proofreaders, designers who make hardcovers, and PR agents to promote them, not to mention the costs incurred in shipping them to bookstores all over the world. But compared to the cost of making a movie, these costs are much lower.

How much collaboration happens in the script versus the novel?
Films are by nature collaborative projects. They combine multiple talents and skills to deliver a single story on screen. While novels can be collaborative after writing, specialized editorial and marketing skills are not brought in until after the author has completed the manuscript.

How do you write scripts and novels?

A document defined in a specific format and comes with its own conventions and common screen language. The script is a blueprint, not a complete product. It draws the story in outline but with enough detail to be able to convey the mood, characters and plot in a coherent way, told through screen or visual descriptions, action and dialogue.

the novel

On the other hand, it has fewer technical limitations. Experiments vary in shape, structure, and length. There are fewer restrictions that tie the novel to the boundaries of the film. As a fiction writer, you don't have to worry about budgets or moody main actors. You can create vast kingdoms, you can give the evil billionaire a hundred classic cars in his possessions, and the beauty of your character is limited to your skill in description only. Of course, this is evidence of one of the most fundamental differences between the two creative formats.

In the novel, you can't count on a charismatic actor to bring a cardboard character to life. You should be that complex, dynamic and fascinating character on the pages of your novel. In the novel, you can't count on good photography to capture the atmosphere of a big city on a hot summer night. This description should be linked into your story.

And in the novel, you can't count on the script or dialogue of a "doctor" sitting in the camper van on a movie set to fix any awkward dialogue. You must carry the original voices of your characters on the page. In short, in the novel the author is the master of puppets and controls everything and decides everything. The work stems from a single imagination and individual vision. The success of the story depends on the style, plot, and characters.

Should you write a novel or a screenplay?

This is difficult to answer. It is true that a novelist can write a screenplay and many authors adapt their own stories for the screen. Others are adept in both technical disciplines. Many screenwriters have also turned to the craft of writing novels. For example, Sidney Sheldon was a prolific screenwriter, writer, and television producer before becoming a best-selling novelist with his breakthrough novel The Other Side of Midnight.

Gillian Flynn, who has been a hit with her hit novel Gone Girl, has also written for the TV show Widows.

Which one should I write as a beginner writer?

The short, and perhaps ambitious, answer is to do both, or at least try both. If you love movies and TV shows so much that you stay up late watching them, this is probably the direction you will naturally gravitate towards. If you see your stories in your imagination rather than hear their rhythms or feel their metaphors, you're likely to be good at writing for screen. If you are the type of writer who is fueled by reading and feels empathy for the lives of your favorite novelists, literature is probably best suited to your talents.


Screenwriter, Ron Bass says in 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters:

“ By being a screenwriter, you choose to be in a really collaborative business, but you don't have the final vote .”