Why are so many of the treatments I read so flat and boring?

It’s a truism among screenwriters, especially beginners, that treatments are hard to write. I’m not sure they’re right, but boy are they hard to read!

One major problem is that screenwriters use their flattest and most boring style.

It’s true screenplays don’t offer a great variety of style or voice – but that doesn’t apply to treatments, synopses and outlines. There are far fewer style rules for such outlines of your story. As long as they’re present tense, third person and readable you can more or less do what you want.

The treatments I most enjoyed writing were the ones where I chose an appropriate but strikingly stylish voice. I wrote one almost totally in the voice of a Jamaican Yardie gangster, another as a pastor from the American Deep South.

Interestingly, the treatments I wrote in strong, individual voices were generally also those which sold best.

So – find your voice. Or rather, find your story’s voice. And have fun.