Make a screen play or a novel?

United States
July 20, 2008 8:05pm CST
If you write something as a novel but could see it ending up as a movie should you just keep and submit it as a novel or change it and write it as a screen play? I would think submitting it as a screen play would not be worth the risk since it would probably have a slim chance compared if you had submit it as a novel. Not to mention all the work it would take to rip apart your book and make it into a screen play. Which would you do? What would make more sense? I have always wondered about this so I figured I would ask lol
2 people like this
3 responses
@Vladilyich1 (1453)
• Canada
21 Jul 08
I write a novel because I "see" it in my head as a movie that's unfolding. Rather than edit the first draft, I convert it to a screenplay so that I can work on the dialogue. I then convert that back to a novel, working on the action. By the time the novel is published, I also have a working screenplay to pitch to agents. Using this technique, I have an option on my first novel.
2 people like this
• United States
21 Jul 08
wow thats really ingenious
1 person likes this
• Canada
21 Jul 08
A screenplay forces you to concentrate on dialogue. Everyone loves my dialogue. Novels "show" rather than "tell", so you have to concentrate on action. By going from one to the other and then back, you can take a first draft to final draft in two adaptations.
• Canada
21 Jul 08
I'm so glad you jumped in here!! I knew this was the discussion for you. Love Your Favourite Wife
1 person likes this
@Wolfechu (1193)
• United States
21 Jul 08
As I understand it, the creative process for either is quite different. There's things you can convey in movies that would take pages in a novel, just because of the visual aspect. Books on the other hand you can set the pace, or rather the reader can; they can read as quickly or slowly as the story requires, whereas movies force the pace by their very nature. It can be done, though. I know William Golding wrote the Princess Bride and did both, at the same time.
2 people like this
• United States
21 Jul 08
I think if I were to try and convert something I already wrote I would lose my mind very quickly lol. But then I see movies where they come out THEN the book does which makes me always wonder if they just took the movie and added a lot of filler type stuff and THEN made it a book?
1 person likes this
@Wolfechu (1193)
• United States
21 Jul 08
That's a good point: It does seem easier to write the book of the film, than make the film of the book. People like Alan Dean Foster seemed to turn them out by the barrowful when I was a kid; he probably wrote half the screenplay novelisations I ever read in the 1980s. Still is, by the look of his Wiki entry. I'd say it's probably the process. From book to film, you're taking one person's vision, and running it through a committee; the director, the producer, the actors, the visual effects people. All of them will have an idea of how the movie should look. The screenplay becomes almost incidental, and that's probably what makes it such a complex deal to convert. The other way round, movie to book, you already have a clear visual image of what things look like, if the film is already produced; it's just a case of describing what you see, and perhaps filling in a little backstory, giving the reader something they wouldn't necessarily have gotten from the movie. You're going from a team effort to a single author.
1 person likes this
• Canada
21 Jul 08
Moon, The processes are different, but similar. There are two types of scripts, a spec script and a production script. The spec script only contains the scenery and action that's absolutely necessary. The producer and director will "suggest" the action required for a production script. A spec script has to have strong dialogue. This is what attracts actors and agents to sign on to the project. With a novel, you need to have already sold 50,000 copies of your first book before an agent or publishing house will even read your query. It's easier to sell a script to Hollywood (and more lucrative), than to get somebody in the established American publishing industry to even reply to you.
1 person likes this
• Canada
21 Jul 08
This is an iteresting quesio. My husband has written a lot of novels and screenplays. I'll have to ask him i he's seen his discussion yet.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Jul 08
Cool. I don't know why but I have always wondered. When I wrote my books I pictured them as movies and I don't know if that was so I could visualize and write it better or if it had potential to be one
1 person likes this
• Canada
21 Jul 08
Moon, That's exactly how it should be. It's much easier for me to write, if I only transcribe what I've already seen. In fact, during the character development phase, I always write down the actor/actress I would choose for each character and the traits I've observed in their work. My hero is Richard Dean Anderson in his characters of MacGuyver and Stargate. My Heroine is Mira Furlan (an actress from the former Yugoslavia) in her role as Ambassador Delenn in Babylon-5. These are the characters I have in my head as I write.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Jul 08
lol thats funny because I already had an actor for the male character in my mind but couldn't think of an appropriate female actress at all for mine and I think it kind of made me have a few issues on how to make her react to certain things since I couldn't fully picture it.