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Exploring Scriptwriting

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

Writing in the dramatic form means writing scripts, but there are different challenges in each medium whether it is for film, TV or radio. This course will give students the opportunity to try out writing different kinds of scripts through practical exercises. Students will produce a number of short scripts that can kick-start their creative writing.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment


Special Information

Pen and paper, or bring a laptop if you feel more comfortable writing at the keyboard.

Content of Course

Day 1

What is dramatic writing? What is a script? How is scripting drama different to writing prose? Through a rich variety of writing exercises, students will investigate the function of action and dialogue in drama.

Day 2

Writing scripts for radio - The power of radio drama will be revealed through a short case study of the furore created by Orson Welles’s 1937 broadcast of ‘The War of the Worlds’. Using a range of activities for radio drama we will introduce students to the techniques required for writing radio drama (dialogue and sound).

Day 3

Writing scripts for film/TV - writing drama with the focus on image, action and dialogue. We will look at the difference between writing for the big screen and the small screen. Writing exercises will give students the chance to explore the skills discussed.

Day 4

Writing scripts for monologue/soliloquy - will give students an opportunity to broaden their range of dramatic techniques (especially in terms of dialogue) using a range of case studies and exercises in how to write extended speech by a single character, and what it can deliver to the audience.

Day 5

Reading and workshopping of students' scripts (performance optional!). Advice on next steps in developing your writing.

Teaching method(s)

Classes will take the form of tutor lectures and viewing/listening/ reading of clips and excerpts with discussion sessions to analyse the craft or technique of dramatic writing. Twice daily, students will be given guided writing exercises to work on individually and in groups to master the skills demonstrated. Workshop sessions will allow students to read, analyse and feedback on each other’s work. Students will be encouraged to write, share and discuss creative work.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be able to:

  • Recognise the scope and possibilities of different forms and media of dramatic script writing;

  • Distinguish and describe in a critical manner what is effective radio drama, screen drama and monologue;

  • Critique scripts, diagnose problems and find solutions;

  • Devise, layout, write and present scripts in a professional manner.


Core Readings


  • Egri, L. 2004. The Art of Dramatic Writing. Touchstone, USA

  • McKee, R., 1999. Story. UK: Methuen Publishing.


  • Ayckborne, A., 2004. The Crafty Art of Playwrighting. London: Faber & Faber

  • Caulfield, A., 2009. Writing for Radio: A Practical Guide. Marlborough: Crowood Press

  • Field, S., 2005. Screenplay: the foundations of screenwriting. Bantam, USA

Class Handouts

Reading excerpts will be provided in class.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.