Coming of age scripts and storylines are some of the most relatable stories for a wide range of audiences. Just about every person has a certain level of enjoyment for a solid coming of age story. Whether it’s a representation of a memory from when they were around that age or for just enjoying the story of seeing a character at a significant point in their life.
Still, writing a coming-of-age script is quite the challenge. It’s a delicate balance of trying to determine who your target audience is while writing a script not based on pandering to an audience base. Regardless, down below will list a few essential tips on writing a coming-of-age script, especially if it’s your first time doing so. Let’s take a look!
Still from 'Lady Bird'. Photo credit: Mubi
What’s A Coming Of Age Genre?
In its simplest form, the coming-of-age genre focuses on the growth of a protagonist from childhood to adulthood. However, some coming-of-age scripts focus on the growth of a character from a certain point in their life. It doesn’t only have to be based around a younger character making a significant change in their life, such as going off to school or moving away.
Although the latter is much more prevalent, it’s worth noting there are some other types of coming-of-age story plots worth mentioning. Whatever the case might be, the coming of age genre is a fascinating piece in cinema and television for showing the development, growth, and mistakes of a character.
Tips For Writing A Coming Of Age Script
Part of the reason writing a coming-of-age script is so difficult has to do with the sheer number of options in the genre. Whether it’s college students making their way in life or a group of middle schoolers worrying about high school, there are many options. It can also have nothing to do with school, such as Stranger Things on Netflix, which is a coming-of-age Horror Sci-Fi show.
The best way to write a coming-of-age script is to plan it ahead before an idea even hits paper thoroughly. Even if you have a small idea for a story, worry about that later and focus on the pre-information. Planning it like this will help get the most out of your script. Let’s take a look at what we mean.
What’s The Age Range?
The first point to determine with a coming-of-age script is the age range. Seeing as coming-of-age scripts are most commonly pinned on younger generations, it’s best to figure out what that age range is. The most common age range tends to be people in high school, but don’t let that pigeonhole you.
Plenty of scripts deviate from the usual high school coming of age, with some being younger such as Stranger Things, or older such as Accepted. Even Nomadland from 2020, which won an Oscar for Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Actress can be considered a coming-of-age script even though its main character is in her 60s.
Past, Present, Future?
Besides knowing the age range of the coming-of-age script, it’s equally as essential to determine the script’s setting. Is it going to be set in the past, such as Lady Bird, or is it going to be in the future, such as Back to the Future. Although the future time isn’t as expected, all three have their advantages.
It’s also very prevalent for coming-of-age scripts to be set in the present. What’s important is to pick a time span that’s most comfortable for you as a writer. If you’re not extremely familiar with a decade in the past and don’t want to research it, don’t worry about it! Put your story in a setting that’s easy for you to write.
Finding The Right Tone
Determining the right tone is another challenge to meet in a coming-of-age script. Most coming-of-age stories have a central piece of comedy in them, but there is a significant amount of conflict and love turmoil throughout them. Don’t be scared to blend genres. Just make sure the script isn’t overdone tone-wise.
Make Your Protagonist Relatable (To A Certain Degree)
Relatability is what drives the success of a great coming-of-age script, at least to a certain degree. A great example is the 2017 film Lady Bird, where Christine (Lady Bird) has relatable yet funny conflict with her mother, family members, and friends. Sometimes Lady Bird gets on your nerves with her odd quirks, but she’s such a likable character that it drives the story.
Great Coming Of Age Scripts
As great as it is to read a blog detailing several vital tips on writing a coming of age script, the best method for doing so is to analyze a few great coming of scripts. Down below will list off a few tremendous coming-of-age movies to consider analyzing.
● Breakfast Club (1985)
● Lady Bird (2017)
● The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
● Sixteen Candles (1984)
● Submarine (2010)