Significant Ommission for Playwrights

This is a fantastic piece of software, but there is one critical ommission in formatting for playwrights.

As it is currently set up, set direction formats far left. Stage direction indents, but doesn’t add an extra line and surrounds with parenth.

What’s missing is Action, which is separated by a line from the dialogue above and indented to the same place as parenthetical remarks or what you call stage direction. There is a blank line aftewards. Sometimes Action is surrounded by parenths, sometimes not.

Thanks and please let me know if this situation is going to be remedied.

Can I change the behaviour of the script feature?

juh - no, it is not possible to change the behaviour of scripts, and nor will you be able to for the foreseeable future. Sorry.

lgoodman - the script formatting for playscripts and screenplays are based on the formatting guidelines here: … mats.shtml

Have you tried “Set Description”? Is that what you are after? I am not quite sure what you mean.


Thanks for the fast response.
If you look at that BBC site and open the PDF for US playwriting, you’ll find this line in the document:

(If scene action interrupts a character’s speech on the same page…)

It is indented, and separated by a line from the text above it.

In Scrivener the line is not set off from the one before it because you aren’t distinguishing between parenthetical remarks underneath a characters name and action.

So this is what I mean


I hate my life.

                                (David throws a pie at his wife's face.)

The above arrangement is not easy to create in Scrivener as far as I can see.


lgoodman, there are many finer aspects of play formatting that could be argued over ad infinitum. The important thing to note is that Scrivener isn’t a “formatting program” like FD and Montage, but a program for developing ideas and drafting scripts. Given that purpose, it works fanatistically well I think and I’m weearry happy to haveth it :smiley:

Can’t you just enter the extra line manually? Also, if you need extra control, you can just use General Text from the script pop-up menu at the bottom, and enter the parenthesis manually.

The problem is you can’t simply add in the extra line.

So suppose you have finished typing dialogue, and now choose Stage Direction. It moves you up one line. And then if you hit return, it types a pair of parenthesis and moves you down a line. Thus, you now have to go back up and delete the paren.

I know this is not a huge deal and perhaps I am quibbling, but the key for me as a writer is to just write and not have to stop and do a lot of formatting. This would slow me down a bit.

I know you have done a huge amount of work on this project and it truly is a fantastic piece of software. I would just hope you might consider adding an Action element to the list of formats. You certainly could get rid of transition. I don’t know any playwright who uses that.

Thanks for your time.

Hi, I’m not ruling out adding Action, I am just not sure why you can’t add the extra newline. If you have been typing dialogue and then hit return twice, and then bring up the pop-up menu and select “Stage Direction” (which you can also do by hitting cmd-Y and then the number 4), does that not have the desired effect?

But the problem with that is you get two blank lines between the dialog and the stage action.

Also, and maybe this is a personal quirk, you get into a rhythm with a program like this and if you get used to typing one return, to have to type two returns in another spot – it’s just one more thing to have to think about other than the words.

Thanks again.

Are you planning to offer localized script versions with localized versions of Scrivener, if there are any national guidelines? I would try to find out if there are any in Germany.

lgoodman - if you send me some rich text of how you think Action should be formatted compared to stage direction etc, or point to where it is in the BBC PDF, I will think about it.

Juh - no, I’m afraid not. At least not in the foreseeable future, anyway. The whole script implementation is incredibly complicated, and offering localised versions of this is beyond what can be done by localisers and would have to be in code - weeks’ worth of work which I am unwilling to do until well after 1.0, once I have drafted my own work.

Thanks and all the best,

just wanted to make sure you received that rtf file i sent you. is it clear what i’m after.

lawrence … hlight=bbc