Ok, I’ve been seeing this for a long time around here, and I’ve finally gotten the time, the energy (13 hour naps rule), and the get-go to actually start some decent talk about this.
For the longest time, I’ve been seeing fewer and fewer actual stories around here, granted that I only read a few them since fanfics aren’t exactly my thing, but I’ve seen more and more and more stories without actual paragraphs - but just dialogue. And this bothers me a bit, because that isn’t a story, that’s a screenplay. Nobody here is making a movie, so why so much screenplay?
Stories are traditionally told in a paragraph form, where actions, descriptions, dialogue, and anything else you want is all rolled into one large block of text.
Movies are traditionally put together with the script first - a written screenplay, with the characters name and what the character says put next together, and an action put in italics between parentheses (like this). It is then up to the director to decide how to do it on the actual screen. Like I said, nobody here is making a movie, to my knowledge anyway, so why do so many people prefer writing this way?
I perfer a paragraph format for a number of reasons. It’s easier on the readers eyes, instead of so much blank space, you’ve got a nice constant, although often times overwhelming, stream of text. The author is able to be much more open as well - you’ve got more room to describe and create than in a screenplay because traditionally in a screenplay you’re only supposed to put in the basics of what the character is doing. In a paragraph, you can fully explain what is happening, giving the author more leway with what’s going on. It can also be much less confusing for the reader, because without explaining everything fully, which is what I see most often with most script style writing, can often times leave the reader in the dark.
The only real ‘pro’ to writing a script is that it is easier on the writer. However, the downsides to writing a script and writing a paragraph are far too great for any script, at least to me, to be taken seriously as a piece of literature. Not to mention you can’t write scripts forever, and those of you who want to do something more with your writing will need to grow up a bit and step up to paragraphs.
So I pose this question to you, the writers. Which do you use, and why?