Q: What are the most common errors new writers make with writing a screenplay? - Hog Muffin
Thanks for your question Hog Muffin (I’m guessing that’s your pen name).
The 10 most common mistakes I see over and over from new writers are:
- The protagonist lacks a clear goal.
- Incorrect formatting and too many camera directions.
- Poor grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
- No character transformation.
- All the characters sound alike (which happens to sound just like the writer’s “voice”).
- Not enough conflict and action.
- The stakes aren’t high enough.
- The scenes (and overall story) lack direction, they meander without purpose. The scenes don’t move the story forward.
- The story is derivative and predictable – everything presented has been done before and done better.
- Poor dialogue: on-the-nose, overly long passages, too much exposition.
My advice: learn the craft of good screenwriting by reading successful scripts (try to read several each week), stay focused and on-track by writing from a detailed outline, and continue to edit, revise, and repeat.