As every segment in scriptwriting has its rules guiding it to avoid errors during writing. Parenthetical also has rules that guide it. This is to shape writers to be from amateur to professional and even veteran. The more writers follow rules, the better and more perfect they become.
Parenthetical is a short command given to a character that is expected to be carried out in the process of dialogue.
To effectively show transparency to the reader, there are some rules guiding parenthetical which writers must follow in the process of writing. The following are rules of parenthetical.
- Do Not Write the First Letter of the Parenthetises in Uppercase.
No matter what you’re writing, Do not for any reason start the first letter of the parenthetical in Uppercase. Writers should be very conscious of this important rule. It is totally incorrect to capitalize your parentheticals because it is a quick action that is being carried out during the conversation not after or before.
- Avoid the use of pronoun to begin the parenthetical.
Pronoun words like he, she, they, her, him, etc… should be avoided. As a writer, you can only write the action during the dialogue. It is wrong to start a parenthetical with a pronoun instead simply write the action in summary.
- In Parenthetical, Use Quick and Important actions.
As parenthetical is only used for quick action during dialogue, the writer should now abuse it by using much action during the dialogue. It is important that the writer obey this rule because it is the action that will complement the dialogue which is being carried out by the character so it is so wrong if the character is given long and insignificant action in the parenthetical.
- Parenthetical should only come before dialogue not after.
Writers should strictly follow the format of parenthetical. Writing parenthetical anywhere but right under the character name is wrong. The standard format of writing a parenthetical is that it should be under the character’s name right above the dialogue because it is simply telling the reader that the action inside the parenthetical is being carried out by the character while talking.
- Parenthetical is only used for Major character.
Do not use Parenthetical for minor characters. As minor character acts minor role and much attention is not given to them, a writer should learn not to use parenthetical on minor character but major character. Major character determines the development of the play so much attention should be given on them like the way they talk, how they feel, what they do and so on.
- Do not use Parentheticals for the action of another Character.
This is another rule writers must follow. Parenthetical should only be used when the character is talking. While one character is talking try as much as possible not to include another character’s action.
- Parenthetical must not be used to Camera direction.
Parenthetical is only used to show the character’s emotions, quick action, and not camera direction. Using Parenthetical to show camera direction is very wrong which writers must avoid. Leave the camera directly to the director. It is the job of the director to determine where the camera will be not the scriptwriter.
- Use the appropriate Punctuation Marks.
Using correct punctuation marks shows a high level of professionalism in any write-up. Writers must be very careful in putting the correct punctuation so as to keep a high level of professionalism going.
- Don’t Use Parenthetical when the actions is Obvious.
This is one of the most common mistakes writers make in scrip. In a scene where the emotion or action is obvious it is wrong for a writer to use parenthetical. For instance, in a fighting scene, there is no need to use parenthetical because it is obvious the character involves will definitely shout, cry, scream at each other; depending on the writer.
The above are the basic rules writers must follow to show their ability as professional scriptwriters. Parenthetical must not be too much in a script. Too many parentheticals in a script will simply tell the reader that the scriptwriter is either an upcoming writer or the person is not professional enough.