The Major Differences Between Book Writing And Screen Writing

4 Mins read

Most of the writers face the dilemma of choosing one between screenwriting and book writing. Writing a novel differs from writing a screenplay in many ways.  Knowing these differences can help you write a better story.

As a writer, it is up to you whether you want to build a career as an author or screenwriter. You can do both also if you have the dedication. There are many examples of films that are entirely inspired by books.

You must understand the fundamental differences between book writing and screenwriting. If you are struggling to choose one, read on to know how they differ from each other in different aspects.


The formats between writing a book and writing for the screen distinctly differ within the range and scope provided. A screenwriter has to write within specific parameters like the budget and scope of the screenplay. On the other hand, an author is free to write their story as readers have to imagine it within their own mind’s eye.

Unlike books, screenplays are a visual medium in which action speaks louder than words. The inner thoughts of characters are communicated fitly in books to help readers understand and feel the gravity of the story.

You can also seek help from the wide range of best book writing software to help you with the basics.


Authors take pride in writing compelling dialogues between characters to show sentiments at a given time. However, a screenwriter writes dialogue around a scene. They need to work with the director and producer of the film.

There are no internal thoughts in screenwriting as visual details and emotions are shown in the character’s actions. While writing a screenplay, dialogues play a much more significant role as compared to the narration.

The description should be kept only about thirty percent or less of the actual manuscript. On the other hand, a book is a perfect blend of beautiful description, narration, and dialogues.


Another significant difference between screenwriting and writing a book is the length. Unlike books, a screenwriter has to write within a limited scope. A standard screenplay is 110-120 pages, whereas a book could be several hundred pages long.  

An author will take significant time to build up character details that lead to obstacles, climax, and other main plot points of the story. On the other hand, a screenplay is a short story written in a way that often incorporates the character’s journey to climax.


Picking a profitable genre in the movie industry is the first thing if you are writing for the screen. On the other hand, the authors have the freedom of crossing genre within their work. There are many genres that you can pick for your book or movie script. Some of them are listed below.

  • Romance
  • Suspense
  • Fantasy
  • Supernatural
  • Horror
  • Adventure
  • Family Drama

There is a vast audience for every style in the world. Make sure you pick a genre in which you can explore your creativity to the fullest.


When writing for the screen, you need to pay more attention to the actions of the characters. The objective of creating a scene is to allow viewers to have an emotional experience.

Unlike films, a book comprises of a lot of details about characters that help readers to connect with the story. Many screenwriters use the best screenwriting software to come up with the best screenplay.  


If you are writing a book, you don’t have to worry about the budget at all. You have complete freedom to include expensive locations in your story. A screenwriter’s job is entirely different from that of an author as they have to write as per the budget of the film.

A screenwriter has to get their script approved by the producer who is investing their capital in the movie. For instance, things like special effects, car chase, or explosion will cost more money than an ordinary script.


While making the find decision between becoming a novelist and being a screenwriter, it is essential to know how you want your story to be experienced. You can write a book or reach out to directors for a feature film on your story.

Both books and films create different impacts on readers/viewers. Unlike movies, books allow you to imagine and feel an emotional connection with the story. It takes a lot of collaborative effort of different people to make a film that the audience will love.

Different Paths To Success

Though both an author and screenwriter tell stories to the audience, their career paths totally differ from each other. Read on to know about the different roles and responsibilities of a novelist and screenwriter.

Becoming A Published Author

If you want to be remembered as a published author, you need a lot of discipline, imagination, and planning skills. Start working on the first draft and treat it like a work in process. There are many essential things that you will need to do to become a published author.

For instance, you will need to find a publisher or a publishing company that will publish your book. Make sure you do check industry rates while setting the royalty money.  

Becoming A Screenwriter

The path to becoming a successful screenwriter is totally different from becoming a novelist. Unlike an author, a screenwriter needs to work as a team as per the scope provided by the producer. One usually needs a mentor from the film industry to become successful as a screenwriter.

There are particular steps that you will need to do to kickstart your career as a screenwriter. Many people work together to make a complete film. Hence it takes a lot of effort to have your script read, considered, bought, and produced.


These are some prominent differences between writing a book and writing a screenplay. No matter if you are writing a book or writing for the screen, stories have the power to impact lives and bring change. Now that you know the general differences, you can finally choose between becoming a novelist or a screenwriter.