There’s plenty of tools, software, and platforms that can help us with our creative endeavours. Whether you need to create a video for social media, craft a blog post, or write a video script, the Internet is awash with handy add-ons, extensions, and downloads that empower us to complete work to a higher standard than ever before.
One tool that we frequently recommend for creatives is ProWritingAid — the best grammar checker, style editor, and writing mentor you could ask for. The easy to use software will check and provide actionable feedback as you draft your latest blog copy, video script, or even a novel.
Creating a script for video using ProWritingAid is simple and we’ve provided five killer tips to help you become the next Scorsese when it comes to scriptwriting.
1. Clear Up Sticky Sentences
A sticky sentence is a line that is written with too many glue words, for example: and, but, if, the, are, like, go, and will. While glue words contain little information themselves and aren’t grammatically incorrect, we encourage you to use them sparingly in your writing. Too many uses will create copy that’s awkward to read and difficult to follow. Consider the following example:
- If you are going to take a vitamin, there is a lot that can be useful but I would like to recommend taking vitamin C because it helps boost your whole immune system.
This sentence has glue words that aren’t necessary. Here’s how to rewrite it with a lower percentage of glue words and clear up the “stickiness”:
- Many vitamins are useful, but I recommend vitamin C because it boosts immunity.
The two sentences are the same message, but the second is much clearer and easier to follow.
2. Make Passive Constructions Active
You probably remember hearing about passive voice in your high school English class. Many teachers hate passive voice—and with good reason. Passive constructions make your writing harder to understand.
Passive voice means that you have written the object of your sentence first and then put the subject of your sentence at the end. Here’s an example:
The dog was walked by Jane.
Jane is the subject of the sentence, she’s the one doing the walking. The dog is the object, he’s being walked.
To change this sentence from passive to active, you turn it around:
Jane walked the dog.
Passive voice can be unclear because the subject hides at the end of the sentence (or sometimes, doesn’t appear at all). Avoiding passive voice is extra important in video and scriptwriting because it’s much easier to follow a spoken sentence when the subject is presented first.
Sometimes using passive voice is unavoidable or makes sense depending on the context. You are the author and you know what you are trying to say. If you can rewrite it to improve clarity, do so. If it works as it is, leave it.
And guess what? ProWritingAid’s Chrome extension works in Lumen5’s editor so that you can find passive voice usage in your scripts, in real-time, and quickly rewrite if need be.
3. Optimize for Readability and Simplicity
Here’s something you might not have considered about your video script: it needs to be easy to read. Since your script will be read out loud, the words and sentence constructions must be of appropriate readability.
An effective video script doesn’t need to use fancy language. It needs to clearly communicate the meaning to your viewers. If your movie’s audience is thinking, “I have no idea what the word means”, they’ll be distracted from the key message that you’re trying to convey.
It seems contradictory, but the best writing is often the simplest. The writing in your script should average at about a middle school level for your audience to really ‘get it’.
4. Identify Repeats
You know when you’re writing and you get a certain word or phrase stuck in your head? Then later, you go back and read your work and realize you’ve said it over and over again?
The good news about making a video is that you’ll hear these types of echoes when you play your work back. However, fixing a mistake in the script once the video is produced takes a lot of time. It’s always better in video production to fix the problem at the writing stage.
ProWritingAid’s Repeats Check highlights repeated words and phrases in your script so that you can find these echoes and replace them.
5. Use Colourful Language
You want your script to be clear, precise, and easy to understand. You also want it to be interesting, particularly if you’re writing a script that has different characters. This is where a good thesaurus can help you to find more nuanced word options.
ProWritingAid’s thesaurus check works in real-time in the Lumen5 editor. Just double-click any word and you’ll see all the words you can use instead. That way, you can pick the most colourful and exciting language for your script.
This doesn’t mean that you should be using a ton of $5 words. As we noted above, easy readability is essential, but make sure that you are using the best, most specific word possible.
Ultimately, your video script needs to be tight and clear for your movie to be as effective as possible. Using an editing tool like ProWritingAid can identify points of weakness in your work so you can improve it and make your movie resonate. What are you waiting for?