This page gives some basic information about the way we lay out stage scripts. Following this information will help us publish your script (if
we accept it for publication!)
If you are about to write a script, you may find this helpful.
If you've already finished the writing, then, before you start reformatting your script to meet the technical guidelines,
first ask yourself whether or not we want it, then ask us the same question
If we accept your script for publication, we will reformat it according to our House Style.
When we do this, there is a risk that we will lose some of the subtleties in your text.
The following guidelines will help you prepare the script for publication, and will minimise the risk of our editors doing damage to it!
General Guidance: Keep it simple
If possible, keep your formatting to a minimum, and observe the following guidelines.
(If you stick to these guidelines then we can apply our house style relatively easily.)
- Put a title, by-line and character list on the first page. See First Page
- Use the minimum number of heading styles (in principle, a maximum of three - title, act and scene)
- Observe our guidelines for stage directions. (Start by putting all directions into brackets)
- Format your speeches simply (a character name in Title Case, a colon, a tab and then the speech). If you want the actor to stress a word, put it in italics. If you want the actor to shout then either put in a stage direction - (shouting) - or put the shouted words in capital letters.
- Supply appropriate Production Notes at the end of your script
- Avoid all the pitfalls of trying to use your Word Processor as a typewriter
- Avoid using tables or columns for layout
The following example shows
Making an Example
- Three levels of headings (Title, Act and Scene)
- Stand-alone directions
- Speeches (with and without embedded directions)
(The stage is dark except for a small area around a gate, guarded by two sentries. In the darkness, a match strikes, flares and goes out.)
Sentry 1: Halt! Who goes there? (He swings his rifle in the direction of the match.) Friend or foe? (Pause.) I said who goes there?
Sentry 2: What is it?
Sentry 1: Over there, come on.
(The two sentries advance into the darkness.)