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The Encyclopedia of Common Screenwriting Mistakes

By June 6, 2017January 7th, 2018No Comments

In the immortal words of Leonardo Da Vinci, “Art is never finished; it is only abandoned” — a sentiment that holds doubly true for screenplays. We screenwriters are a naturally obsessive crowd after all, and we’ll always find something to tinker with. A line here, a beat there. All until we’re forced to accept that perfection is, when all is said and done, a fool’s errand. It’s great to have high standards, but chase them for too long, and you risk letting the great become the enemy of the good.

Still, certains things really are worth a second look. Like it or not, there are certain industry standards any aspiring writer with professional ambitions must live up to. And running afoul of such standards is a sure fire way to reveal yourself as an amateur. If ten pages go by before your protagonist is introduced, or if your inciting incident lands just moments before your screenplay’s climax, chances are you’re doing something wrong. And don’t even get us started on format. Just remember that few Hollywood executives are likely to read more than a couple pages of something that only loosely resembles a professional screenplay.

Fortunately, one of the many perks of our current information age is that we’re never more than one or two clicks away from an endless stream of educational resources. Got a screenwriting-related question? Chances are the Internet has an answer.

That’s why we’re building an unofficial encyclopedia of some of the most useful screenwriting articles we’ve come across. From tip and tricks, common mistakes, to in-depth how-to-guides. Our goal? To provide the WeScreenplay audience with a useful database of pesky screenwriting-related issues, along with the proper means for fixing them (or avoiding them altogether).

The plan is to keep this list updated over time, so if you have a screenwriting related question you’d like to see addressed, be sure to drop a comment, or tweet us at @wescreenplay.

Top 9 Most Common Script Formatting Mistakes Screenplay Readers

Ten Tips for Creating a Strong Main Character LA Screenwriter

7 Screenwriting Secrets From the Masters of Great DialogueScreenCraft

Top 10 Ways to Screw Up Your Screenplay The Script Lab

10 Stupid Mistakes Screenwriters Make – Raindance

4 Essential Elements of a Knock-Out EndingLA Screenwriter

Ten Format Mistakes – The Story Department

The Best and Worst Ways to Make a First Impression WeScreenplay

Five Ways to Approach the Midpoint CulminationScreenCraft

How NOT to Introduce Your Characters The Script Lab

Why Plot Holes Happen and How Screenwriters Can Avoid Them ScreenCraft

The But/Therefore Rule: One Simple Rule for Structuring Your Script LA Screenwriter

The Eight Sequence Method The Script Lab

This Scene Sucks: 15 Screenwriting Mistakes to Avoid – Script Mag

5 Traps to Avoid While Writing a Screenplay  – ScreenCraft

50 Dead Giveaways That You’re an Amateur Writer LA Screenwriter

38 Reasons Why Your Screenplay Isn’t Getting Recommended by a Script Reader No Film School

5 Story Mistakes Even Good Writers MakeWriter’s Digest

11 Steps to Writing a SceneJohn August

Three Ways to Make Characters More Three-Dimensional – ScreenCraft

10 Reasons Your Screenplay Sucks (and how to fix it)Lit Reactor

Top Screenwriting Paradigms/Formulas Raving Dave

The Top 5 Screenwriting Mistakes to Avoid – LA Screenwriter

The Most Common Dialogue Errors In ScreenplaysThe Story Department

Reel Story: Most Common Reasons Why Scripts Are Rejected – Script Mag

How to Write a Screenplay: Script Writing Example & Screenwriting TipsWriters Store

How To Create a Masterful Outline – ScreenCraft

15 Types of Inciting Incidents – LA Screenwriter

8 Common Mistakes Made by New Screenwriters – John August

13 Things Bad Screenwriters Commonly Do – Writers Store