Writing style was the first thing that jumped out at me as I began to read The Da Vinci Code (2006), screenplay by Akiva Goldsman. I enjoy sentences that reveal heaps in few words, and envy those with the ability to paint pictures with vivid writing. The first sentence in the screenplay reads: “An old STONE FARMHOUSE sits atop the crest of a grass-covered hill, lights in the windows, smoke a kite from the chimney.” Whoa, vivid imagery!
Hooked from the get-go, I continued to read with pen in hand, marking the sentences and phrases that tickled my mind’s eye, such as: “The sleek jet skims over moonlit clouds.” And… “Both are winded, hands to knees as people pass. Real life, moving by, giving them barely a second glance.”
I want to write scene descriptions as concise as he does, for example: “A small room. Stone floors. Bed, Bible, hot plate. Single window open to the autumn air.” No excess wording there. I probably would have written, “The small room contains a bed against the wall, a nightstand with a Bible, and a hot plate nearby.” Sheesh, I need to lose the verbiage!
The succinct writing also moves the action at a rapid pace, adding to the tension that made the script a fast and enjoyable read.
Goldsman’s writing style sparks a desire to read more of his screenplays (A Beautiful Mind; I Am Legend; Cinderella Man; I, Robot).
What works: Vivid writing, concise descriptions, fast pace.
What doesn't work: I can't think of a thing!