I’ve written before that good screenwriters often get tangled up
writing treatments (Writing Treatments – Get out of first gear).

One major reason is that they are simply using the wrong style.

Treatments are very important in the process of screenwriting. They help you get a good fix on your story before you plunge into the details of the script, or when rewriting; and they are essential in selling that story on.

However, they are written very differently from scripts.

Go with the flow

It is important that you ensure your treatment has flow. Unlike a script, it should not be a series of actions and events. It should tell a story, in the most flowing and readable manner.

For this, you need to draw on a very different vocabulary of words and phrases that will help that essential forward movement.

Make liberal use of linking words to flow together your ideas, scenes and sequences. Words such as “However…” “Meanwhile…” “Moreover…” create a strong sense of storytelling that will draw the reader on.

Linking phrases are also useful here: “While Rufus is struggling with the handcuffs…” “On the other side of town…” “Three days after their first meeting…”

This is very different from screenwriting style, and it will bring your treatment writing to life and make your treatments much more accessible to the reader.

Meanwhile…

This is just one of the key skills of treatment writing I cover in my book Teach Yourself: Complete Screenwriting Course.

It takes you through the whole process from beginning to end, and on – to getting an agent, working with others and developing a Teach Yourself: Complete Screenwriting Coursescreenwriting career.

It also tells you the truth about screenwriting. Too many books, in my opinion, make the process of writing seem very neat and prescriptive, and make writers feel like failures if it doesn’t all fall into place first time. The reality is that writing is messy.

Everyone is different and the book explains the different ways that screenwriters can choose to work – with quotes and advice from top professionals, experienced screenwriters, and also directors, producers and executives who work all the time with writers.

“No other book takes you by the hand and explains how to write screenplays like this one…”

Check it out here.