Screenwriting Tip #116: Raise Questions, Drop Hints, Leave Riddles Half-Solved…

Raise questions, drop hints, leave riddles half-solved — whatever it takes to keep them interested and turning the page. Novelists have a lot to teach us about this trick.

Imagine you’re playing a game with the script reader, and that game is called Keep Them Reading at All Costs. Ideally, the reader who picks up your script will not put it down again until she’s finished. When the phone rings, she ignores it. Her stomach growls, but there’s no time for food, because she has to see what happens on the next page. You’re communicating directly to that reader through your script, making her read at the pace you set. You’re the puppetmaster and the reader is your own personal marionette.

Sounds good, right? And the best part is that all those tricks you use to keep the reader reading? They’re also valuable narrative devices that will make your script more dramatic and your characters more dynamic and interesting.

But what about the slow parts of the story? Even a rollercoaster has boring points – slow uphill climbs and straight sections. How do you keep the reader’s attention through those quieter parts of the script?

Read More in the full article