In my blog post “Turning a Screenplay Into a Novel” I talked about the importance of point-of-view characters.
But what happens when you turn a novel into a screenplay and screenplays do not have point-of-view characters (unless you employ voice over) — people whose thoughts the audience can know?
In this case writers have to be able to convey interior thoughts in other ways — or let the actions speak for themselves.
A famous screenwriter once said that an screenplay adaption of a book was easy — all you had to do is open the book and start typing the screenplay.
But in fact this is not true.
For example, I am about to adapt my cozy mystery novel CAST THE FIRST STONE into a screenplay. I have been playing around in my head (I like to write in my head first) how to begin the screenplay:
I plan to eliminate the first scene of the novel as well as another scene early on. I will then add a very brief scene of the murder victim while he is still alive. Then there is the scene whose information I may add in shortened form into a different existing scene.
Each one of these decisions is based on the need to consider the visual components of a film as well as other screenplay parameters. I actually love the challenge of changing one form of fiction into another form — using the strengths of a particular medium to best serve the story.
Now, for the purpose of full disclosure, I will admit I took numerous writing courses in fiction writing, screenplay writing and playwriting at UCLA Extension. Plus I spent a pirate’s ransom on how-to writing books from Writer’s Digest Books. (I read all the books I bought.)
It did take me considerable time to learn the differences between all these forms of writing. And I continue to learn more whenever the opportunity arises.
Still, adapting a screenplay from a book is not as simple as opening the book and starting to type. Or maybe it is that easy if you are a famous screenwriter!
© 2013 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks, including TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO PUBLISH AND MARKET YOUR BOOK IN THE AGE OF AMAZON and the romantic suspense spy story CIA FALL GUY.
She also has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the online marketing company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com