From the writing blog, Bang2Write, is a post by owner, Lucy V Hay, discussing why learning script writing can benefit you when you write your novel. That hit home as I try to rewrite my novel to align with the screen play I made of it.
Some background. I wrote and self-published my book, Wall of Destruction, a When Atlantis Fell novel, in 2014. In 2015, I thought about trying to turn it into a screen play and try my luck with Hollywood. Yes I know, pretty naive but if you do not try, you do not gain. So I researched how to write a screen play and then started into it. In October of 2015, I submitted my screen play to quite a few Hollywood agents. Some nice “No thank you” notes but not much else.
In the process of creating the screen play, I learned to look at my novel in new ways. Screen writing is a different monster. The rule is each page equates to roughly a minute of movie. Also, it is visual. Internalizing a character’s thoughts or providing background in detail, is out of the picture (literally).
I had to shave my novel of 200+ pages to less than 120 pages to get it to a movie length that producers would accept from your average script writer, let alone a newbie. This forced me to remove large chunks of the story, externalize some internal character conversations and re-think how to provide detail. Literally I had to re-write the story.
Of course, you can not just remove chapters and consider it done. I had to re-write large parts of the story to flow, after the chunks were removed. Reduce conversations to something that people will not get bored watching. It might be cool to have a long conversation, when reading it, but a minute long dialogue on the screen can make people think about some more popcorn.
Another thing I learned was I needed an antagonist. In my book, the war party of the Atlantean government was the enemy. I did not have a prominent antagonist of the party to focus the reader’s attention. Moviegoers like heroes and villains. This forced me to create an antagonist and re-write the story to build the villainy of Jana (my villain). I think it also gave me the unintended benefit of having a final fight between Risor (my hero) and Jana.
I believe I will try to use this process for all my novel length stories. Do a first run as a novel. Get it to where I feel good with the story. Then re-write it as a screen play. Once I get the screen play where I like it, re-write and publish the book. A longer process but in a sense it will “kneed” the story in a way I think is best. And if I get lucky, I get a movie to boot!
So taking the time to learn what a screen play “should have” has helped me better my story. The plan is to re-write the novel to reflect the screen play. My work will be to keep the story tight and not wander too far. I hope in 2016, I will complete the re-write and publish the new version. I also plan on submitting my screen play to producers and studios as well.
Hope springs eternal!