Screenplay Update

Last quarter, I took “Intro to Screenwriting”.  In this class, my biggest issue was formatting.  My story aspects were haphazard, because I’ve never thought in visuals before, and they were short, the longest was 15 pages.

Last week I began working my 392 page novel down to a 120 page screenplay.  OMG!  I expected to shorten, tighten, make more active.  I stripped out all exposition and added one word prompts,  for – emotion.  My confidence rose as I moved through the middle of Chapter 2.   Then I got to the next scene.

If you’re not a novelist, this might not make sense but, OMG!  I had this awesome scene with the heroine and her friend (mentor/sidekick)  learning how to do a Tarot reading, with a “How-To” book.   The scene was full of cool quips, foreshadowing, characterization, and – nothing visual or active happens – it all got cut.  All of it!

Barely had I recovered from that surgery, and only two scene’s later, I introduced a pivitol character for the heroine’s internal journey.  Her brother.  Who lives in Chicago.  Never appears on stage.  Long-distance phone calls.   I didn’t cry when I silenced and stripped him from the pages.  Wiped clean, only a reference to his existance.  I had to leave that, just in case.

Now I really know why novels never transfer well to the screen.  Not even the novelist can change that.  My only comfort is, the novel remains, to be edited again.   If anyone want to buy the movie rights, they can have them.  I’d rather a real screenwriter butcher my characters, and scenes, then murder them myself.

3 thoughts on “Screenplay Update

  1. My partner recently asked me if I thought I could turn one of my books into a screenplay. I just laughed at him for all the reasons you just mentioned. Those scenes that are oh-so-perfect…yeah, couldn’t do it any other way. Nice post.


  2. Sarah McDermed

    I just re-read an article from a very old Romance Writers Report about why so few novels get optioned for movies. According to Ethan Ellingson, the agent who wrote the article,there are two big reasons: 1) Very few movies are made, and 2) WHAT YOU SAID!!!



  3. Which romance author was it who told us about someone say to her, ‘Why don’t they make your books into movies? I can totally picture the heroine sitting there and thinking about the hero…’ Oops.


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