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Objective vs. Subjective in Screenwriting


Screenwriting is a unique form of storytelling that requires writers to convey emotions, thoughts, and actions through dialogue, action, and visual elements.


Screenwriting takes time to master but each time you write a new screenplay, you'll get better at spotting what is necessary and what it filler.



One really important aspect of screenwriting is understanding the key difference between objective and subjective writing. These two writing styles are the foundation of how a story is told and can greatly affect the tone and impact of a screenplay.


OBJECTIVE:


Objective writing is a style of writing in which the writer remains neutral and does not impose their own opinions or feelings on the audience. This style of writing is often used to present the facts and events of a story without any interpretation or bias. In screenwriting, objective writing is used to describe physical actions, dialogue, and settings.



SUBJECTIVE:


Subjective writing, on the other hand, is a style of writing in which the writer's emotions and opinions are directly expressed. This style of writing is used to convey the thoughts and feelings of a character and to give the audience a deeper understanding of their motivations and perspectives. In screenwriting, subjective writing is often used in the form of internal monologues and voice-overs to provide insight into the thoughts and emotions of a character.



The choice between objective and subjective writing can greatly affect the tone and impact of a screenplay. Both are valid but finding balance between them will elevate your screenplay.


Objective writing is often used to maintain a neutral tone, to provide a clear and straightforward presentation of the story, and to allow the audience to form their own opinions. Subjective writing, on the other hand, is used to create a more personal and emotional connection between the audience and the story.


When it comes to STORY and PLOT you want to stay as objective as you can. The plot points need to move the story forward in an objective matter.


When it comes to CHARACTER and MOTIVATION you should explore the subjective. Including character clashes because of varying desires, beliefs etc is the cornerstone of story.



A good screenplay should use a combination of both objective and subjective writing to create a well-rounded and engaging story. By understanding the differences between these two writing styles, screenwriters can craft compelling and impactful screenplays that resonate with audiences.



Of course, story and tone can come in all shapes and sizes, so naturally utilising the objective and subjective can look different from script to script. The more you can collect the puzzle pieces of screenwriting, the more you'll start to see the big picture. Think of the objective being the corner pieces and shapes of each piece and the subjective being the colour palette of the picture on the jigsaw. The objective is what it is. The subjective is how it is.

No Walter, you are not!



 

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