1. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Stage play for publication in literary journal

    Discussion in 'Scripts' started by deadrats, Sep 16, 2019.

    Do you format a stage play differently than a screenplay? And/or would you do anything different for a short play (30 pages) when submitting it to a literary journal since there it will be published to read and not preformed?

    I've taken out most of the stage commands and made it as straightforward as possible. When I originally wrote it I included things like lighting and setting, but I don't think I need those things for me current plans. I've read a few of these short plays in publications and they don't seem to have that stuff. But I can't really remember how they were formatted and I tend to journals, magazines and books onto others after I read them so I don't really have access to the ones I remember.

    I'm also not sure how much the formatting matters because maybe certain publications handle it differently. But IDK. I don't want to look like I don't know what I'm doing or have that be a reason it's rejected.

    Does anyone have experience with the short play and in particular publishing them in print? I appreciate anyone who can help me out with this. Thanks.
     
  2. GrJs

    GrJs Active Member

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    Scripts for stage plays can vary depending on where you're publishing and they are completely different formatting from screenplays. There's US formatting and UK formatting for stage plays and they are very different from each other again. Setting and stage direction are in there but personally I've never seen either in great depth in stage plays, but that's not to say that that's the rule, I'm not overly big on reading plays.

    The publisher should tell you what format they want it in in the submission criteria, if not, make sure you have a standard stage play format. You can get rejected on that alone because it makes you look amateur to have no formatting at all or wrong formatting. The best thing for you would be to read lots of plays, old and new, so you can get a grasp of the standard layout and how they work. If you're having particular issues with formatting, because honestly their margins are ridiculous, I would suggest buying Scrivner if you have the means to do so. It has templates for stage plays and screen plays and essays and all sorts of crap, I've heard it looks kind of messy on windows but if you're on Mac then it's super clean, but the templates allow you to write in them and they automatically format it for you.
     
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  3. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Thanks, @GrJs. That's interesting about Scrivner. I never knew about the formatting options. I'll look into that. I would like to think I'm a fiction writer, but the majority of my pay comes from essays (narrative nonfiction and personal essays). I also never knew there was a different format for them, but I guess when it comes to layout and such this just has been something my editors take care of. But with plays... it might be very useful. The places I'm looking to submit don't have specific guidelines for plays. It's grouped together with fiction.

    I've done a few short plays like the one I want to submit. I've never submitted any of the other ones, but this one has more meat on it. I think it's a good story, I think. We'll see how it does with the journals. The stage plays I've read like mine are different than screenplays in terms of how they look on the page. But I have seem more than one format so probably someplace have an in-house style.

    I had written in all the stage commands because I was trying to enter a fringe festival with it, but I failed to recruit the team I would have needed to pull it off. I think it's a better read without those things, but while I was originally writing it, I had to picture how it would all look. I've stripped it down to a level where it could still be preformed regardless of lighting, props and such and still be a powerful performance. But my main goal now is to see it in print.

    The one thing I'm a little hung up on is that the first scene was more of a dramatic opening before. It still could be with the right actors, but the rest of the play in where the story really develops. Still, the first scene is needed to set of a chain of events. It's hard in a play. This is one I've been working on and coming back to for a long time. I don't want to blow my chances on something like formatting.
     

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