A treatment is a full exploration of a story in the form of a detailed story summary. It’s like a preliminary short story version of a longer work (such as a screenplay). A treatment tells the story of your script, scene by scene, plot point by plot point, as a coherent story, but without dialogue (although some treatments may include key lines of dialogue). Ultimately, a treatment functions like a prototype or a proof of concept for your project.A treatment is like a short story version of a longer work. Click To Tweet
Who Writes Treatments?
Treatments are a common feature of the screenwriting world but anyone tackling a long-form fiction project might consider writing one.
I haven’t come across novella/novel writers or playwrights who write treatments but I bet they’re out there. Do any of you write treatments as part of your prep for larger-scale writing projects?A treatment functions like a proof of concept for your project. Click To Tweet
There are Two Kinds of Treatments
Remember, there are two kinds of treatments–the kind you write for someone else (such as for a sales pitch), and the kind you write for yourself as part of your writing process.If you're a serious screenwriter, writing effective treatments is an important skill to master. Click To Tweet
Writing a Treatment for Someone Else
As far as writing treatments for someone else is concerned, there’s a growing trend towards writing treatments, or even multiple drafts of treatments, as part of the Hollywood script acquisition and development process. On the positive side, this means writers may be paid to write treatments. On the negative side, your unwritten script will be judged by a limited story summary format. If you’re a serious screenwriter, writing effective treatments is an important skill to master.
Writing a Treatment for Yourself
If you’re writing a treatment for yourself, you can write it any way you like.! You’ll hit a lot of conflicting advice about writing treatments, so do what serves the your writing process. Whether writing treatments is the norm in your field or not, you have the option to write one as part of your prep process.
Hands up: who here has experience writing treatments? Who hasn’t but would like to try it?