Example Content

This is an annotated example of a complete, working, full-length story. Annotations are ABOVE what they refer to.


Title: Footsteps
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Blurb: After a late-night party, Grace comes home to a set of bloody footprints leading into her house. But whose are they?

GRACE 
Josh, can you talk? I'm sorta wigging out here.

JOSH 
What's up, beautiful?

GRACE 
I just got home and the door's open. 

JOSH
That's what's worrying you? An open door?

This is the culmination of my required 3-5 line hook. In five lines we know someone is "wigging out," that they have a boyfriend, that the boyfriend is sort of a jack ass, and that something horrible and mysterious has happened: bloody footprints. This is a fast, dense opening

GRACE 
Uh, no. It's more the BLOODY FOOTPRINTS LEADING INSIDE.

JOSH 
wth? Bloody footprints? You sure?

GRACE 
What do I do, Josh? What is this?

JOSH 
I don't know. You been inside yet?

GRACE
No, I texted you as soon as I got here.

GRACE
I just wish I could remember last night better.

JOSH 
Man, that was a crazy party, huh?

GRACE 
I've never blacked out before. 

GRACE 
I'm so stupid. I should have been here! 

GRACE 
What if my mom or my brother got hurt?!

JOSH 
Whoa, whoa, whoa. If they were, you're lucky you WEREN'T there.

JOSH 
And look, if someone IS hurt, you've got to check it out.

GRACE 
You mean like go in the house?!

This is a common problem - why the heck isn't someone calling the police?! There's no one-size-fits-all solution, but in this case, I felt like it was important to address it directly because I had a pretty good excuse that I think a reader might buy.

GRACE
Shouldn't I call the police to do that? Or an ambulance?

JOSH 
If someone's bleeding out, there's no time to wait!

GRACE
Okay, deep breath. I'm going in.

We're waiting to see what happened, so I'm putting in a pause to draw out the moment.

NARRATOR
[#time]
...

JOSH 
Well? What do you see?

GRACE
The footprints keep going into the living room. 

GRACE 
Oh my god. 

GRACE
There's blood everywhere!

JOSH 
Hold up. You sure it's blood?

GRACE 
Yes, Josh! I am sure that it's blood. Jesus.

JOSH 
Sorry, sorry. 

GRACE
I just wish I knew whose it was.

JOSH 
Maybe call out? See if anyone answers?

JOSH 
Wait, don't! What if the burglar or whatever is still inside?

GRACE 
You could have texted that BEFORE I just yelled "hello"!

JOSH
Crap.

GRACE
It's fine. No one answered. 

GRACE
Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, though.

GRACE 
You really think it might be a burglar?

JOSH 
If there's as much blood in there as you say there is?

JOSH 
I don't know, baby. I doubt someone cut their thumb.

GRACE
Well, thanks, Josh, I am now officially terrified. 

GRACE
Can you come over here please? I can't do this alone. It's too scary.

JOSH 
Can't. My mom has the car. 

GRACE
Oh god, what do I do?

JOSH 
Just keep going. Like you said, no one answered when you yelled.

JOSH
I don't think you're in any danger.

GRACE 
Unless someone heard me, and is now hiding and being extra quiet.

Note that when "..." is spoken by a character, that's not the same as the special NARRATOR usage. Josh is typing "…". It's not an actual pause.

JOSH 
...

GRACE 
I guess I just have to keep going. 

GRACE
You can do this, Grace. Deep breath.

NARRATOR
[#time]
...

GRACE
Oh my god.

JOSH 
What? What is it? Did you find something?

GRACE
It's the footprints. They're lead into... my bedroom!

JOSH 
What?!

GRACE
And the door is closed! 

JOSH
Maybe whoever's hurt was looking for you?

GRACE
I don't think so, Josh.

GRACE
Two things. 1 - there's no way out of the house from my room.

JOSH
So?

GRACE 
So 2 - the footprints only lead in. There are none leading out!

GRACE
That means whoever went in there is probably STILL IN THERE.

JOSH 
That still doesn't mean anything bad, okay? 

JOSH 
They're probably just waiting in there for help!

GRACE
THEN WHY DID THEY TAKE THE TIME TO CLOSE THE DOOR?!

JOSH 
You're asking me?

GRACE
Oh god, oh god, I am losing it over here!

JOSH 
You're not going to want to hear this, but...

GRACE 
I am standing in a pile of blood leading into my bedroom.

GRACE 
You think I can't handle a text message?!

JOSH 
You already made noise, right?

GRACE 
Yeah...

JOSH 
So if there IS someone bad in your house they already know you're there.

GRACE 
Right...

JOSH 
If this person wanted to hurt you, you're in trouble whether you go in or not.

GRACE
You think I'm in trouble?!

JOSH
I told you that you didn't want to hear it.

JOSH
What I'm saying, though, is that there's no reason NOT to open that door.

JOSH 
Not at this point, anyway.

GRACE
Alright, I'm doing it.

GRACE 
Deep breath.

NARRATOR
[#time]
...

JOSH 
Well? Did you do it?

I defined what this image looks like in the header.

GRACE 
[& FootstepsCloset]
The footprints lead to my closet! That door is also closed!

JOSH 
You know what to do.

GRACE 
I can't, Josh. This is too much.

JOSH 
Come on, Grace! I believe in you!

NARRATOR
[#time]
...

JOSH 
Grace?

NARRATOR
[#time]
...

JOSH
Grace?! Where are you???

Grace is freakin' out, so I'm going to ignore some normal conventions and put this next line in all caps without punctuation.

GRACE 
JESUS

JOSH 
What? What happened?!

Things are a bit calmer, and Grace has returned to complete sentences with correct punctuation.

GRACE 
I opened the door and a huge shovel fell out.

GRACE
Scared the absolute crap out of me.

GRACE 
There's blood all over the handle. Like, hand prints.

GRACE
Looks like there's nobody in the closet, but...

JOSH 
But what?

GRACE
I found the shoes.

JOSH 
Well?

People don't actually text like this, but in this sort of format, we sometimes need to text more like actual speech in order to drag out moments in an entertaining way. Use these techniques with caution, though. Go too far and you risk pulling your reader out of the story.

GRACE
They're... 

GRACE
They're mine.

GRACE 
What is this? What did I do last night, Josh?

JOSH 
Well...

GRACE 
WHAT DO YOU MEAN, WELL?

JOSH 
I didn't realize you left that trail. I was pretty drunk, too.

JOSH 
And it was dark. I guess I didn't notice it last night.

GRACE
So you DO know!

JOSH 
I really didn't want to tell you this, but...

GRACE 
TELL ME!

JOSH 
Last night, you came home early from that party.

JOSH 
And you maybe sort of kind of...

JOSH 
Caught me. 

JOSH
And your best friend Lauren. 

JOSH
Together. 

JOSH
In your room.

GRACE
You cheated on me?!

JOSH 
You went crazy! Got into this huge fight with Lauren, and...

GRACE 
And what?!

JOSH 
You killed her, Grace.

JOSH 
You killed her and you buried her outside in the backyard.

GRACE 
Oh my god. OH MY GOD.

GRACE
What have I done? What have I DONE?

JOSH
I know, I know. I'm sorry you had to find out this way.

GRACE
Wait.

JOSH 
What is it?

GRACE
My shoes...

GRACE
The sides are all stretched out.

JOSH 
Uh, you were drifting side to side pretty badly. Probably explains it.

GRACE
No I mean like REALLY stretched out. And the heel is flattened.

JOSH 
Uh...

GRACE 
I think I remember now... I remember now!!

JOSH 
What? Uh, you're probably just in shock about Lauren.

GRACE 
Lauren called me last night crying about how she was seeing you behind my back!

GRACE 
She was here, in my bedroom. She sounded super scared.

GRACE
She said she'd just told you she was going to tell me about it...

JOSH 
Uh... 

GRACE
Your friend Dave at the party gave me that drink right before...

GRACE
Did you have him put something in it to make me black out?!? 

JOSH 
Baby, let's just meet in person to talk about this.

GRACE 
I didn't kill Lauren. It was... IT WAS YOU!

When your script ends, it ends. No need to do anything special.