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Tawny Stokes: New Year, New Skill – Learning How to Screenwrite in 2023
Thursday, February 9th, 2023


CLOSE ON – a pock-marked face rippling as if something is alive underneath it. Unnatural black veins pop out on forehead and temples as ALAN BIGBY, 50’s, bucks and writhes against the iron shackles chaining him to a chair.

Behind him through the big bay windows you can just glimpse the HOLLYWOOD sign.


I’m going to rip out your innards, Butcher, and eat them raw.

He spits.  Viscous green phlegm lands on the toe of a black DOC MARTEN.

PAN UP to see CADEN BUTCHER, 18, unkempt but cool with it, trying to hide a scrawny frame in layers of clothing, and a black wool cap to hide a mess of brown wavy hair, a large Saint George MEDALLION hangs around his neck.


Not today, sweetheart.

He unscrews the sliver cap on a bottle of holy water and sprinkles it on Bigby in retaliation.

BLACK SMOKE curls up from BLACK SPOTS on his skin.

Off to the side, Bigby’s WIFE cringes as her husband twists in obvious pain.


Dude, is he going to hurt himself?

Caden turns to SEE hipster guy with perfectly messy locks holding the camera trained on Alan Bigby.  This is TREY SUMMERS, 20’s.


For the last time, dude, shut up.  I’m the only one supposed to be talking.

And now we SEE that the house is full of people, crantinis and mini wienies being served by uniformed waiters. It’s the party only a name on a guest list can get you into.


That was a quick snippet from my script DEMON WHISPERER, based on my book DEMONS OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS, that I’m going to be developing into a web series this year.

I have three other scripts, two features and a TV pilot, that have been optioned and will hopefully, after rewrites and lots of meetings with various people for funding, will get into development in the next year or two (it takes years for this stuff to happen). Out of those 3 projects, one of them is also based on a book I’ve written that isn’t published yet, and the other two I’m planning on adapting into books. I love that I have that option and the skills to know how to do it.

The ability and skills to adapt books into scripts, and scripts into books. It’s not easy that’s for sure as they each use a different set of skills to write. But they are skills a person can learn.

The main differences between scripts and novels:

  1. length – the average script is 100 pages, about 11,000 words, the average novel is 50,000 words
  2. format – a script is very structured in that way, with sluglines, character tags, dialogue, action lines, etc. while novels are separated into chapters
  3. action/dialogue – everything in a script is visual or audible, there is no room for introspective or description, where as a novel is rich with descriptive detail and deep POV
  4. setting/budget – the simpler the setting the better, if you can tell a story in one room with one character, you’re a genius, with a novel grander is better, if you can tell a story in a huge world populated with 100 characters, you’re a genius
  5. structure – this is the biggest one, and sometimes the hardest to learn, scripts operate on a rigid 3 or 5 ACT structure, like a skeleton to hang all the story bones onto it, novels don’t have a strict structure to be adhered to, you have a story with a beginning, middle and end

In March, I’m teaching a SCRIPTWRITING FOR BEGINNERS course online through the Alberta University of the Arts and will teach all of these five things and more. The course is perfect for a complete beginner to writing scripts, and perfect for authors who want to adapt their own work.

It’s an in depth 8-week course, and at the end I will be offering a critique on your finished work.

I hope you will check it out, and maybe I’ll see you there.

(I’m also offering a second course WORLDBUILDING FOR WRITERS)

Link to the course:
*prices are in CDN, so the courses would be around $277.00 USD

Link to Demons of the Rich and Famous:

Tawny’s socials: