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Old 04-25-2007, 12:16 PM   #21
Jake Schuster
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Default Re: Screenplay vs. Novel

I wasn't passing judgment on what's foolish or not. Just stating the fact from my point of view as a novelist. To get a novel self-published is like masturbation: there's an expense of energy, a moment of satisfaction, and zero progeny. But it's all done on your own. At least when you make your folly of a movie you've involved others who may share to some degree your enthusiasm for a project.
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Old 04-25-2007, 12:26 PM   #22
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Default Re: Screenplay vs. Novel

Good point. At least with making a movie you're not killing trees.
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Old 04-25-2007, 12:33 PM   #23
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Default Re: Screenplay vs. Novel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake Schuster View Post
To get a novel self-published is like masturbation: there's an expense of energy, a moment of satisfaction, and zero progeny. But it's all done on your own. At least when you make your folly of a movie you've involved others who may share to some degree your enthusiasm for a project.
Then that would be a circle jerk?
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Old 04-25-2007, 01:18 PM   #24
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Default Re: Screenplay vs. Novel

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Originally Posted by santino2699 View Post
Have any of you ever written a treatment, then decided that it was better as a novel and written that instead of a screenplay?
Never. Like Jake, a story is either a movie or it's a novel in my mind. It really depends on what comes to me first. Usually it's a stunning visual image that absolutely must be on screen. But there are times when what moves me is the beauty of the language on the page, in which case it must be a novel. Otherwise, no one would ever be able to appreciate it.

Not that it's made any practical difference (unproduced screenplay vs. unpublished novel), but it's just the way my mind works.
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Old 04-25-2007, 02:31 PM   #25
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Default Re: Screenplay vs. Novel

A novel is to a very large degree about the language on the page. If you read, say, Roberto Bolaño's The Savage Detectives (just out in English), though it's ostensibly about two South American poets, you see very quickly that it's about the tongue that tells the tale. It's about style and language, the thicket wherein the characters live.

If I come up with an idea I know at once whether it'll be prose or script, though I can also come up with a story that, in my eyes, could work either way. It's just that it'll work in a very different way and have a significantly different impact in the way it's told (or shown).

I should add to my masturbation image: because the cost of self-publishing is high, all of the activities described in my scenario are to take place before the expensive and watchful eyes of an, ahem, escort.
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Old 04-25-2007, 02:35 PM   #26
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Default Re: Screenplay vs. Novel

Just to add to what I said. I've stated it before, but the act of writing a novel is the act of exploring--you discover and uncover as you move into the work. As in an archeological dig you come up with shards, pottery, broken statues, and if you're lucky you come upon the lost city of gold in all its splendor.

Writing a screenplay is essentially the act of disclosing, of methodically and craftily laying out something you already know. So writing a treatment for a novel, though helpful to some (and many outline first, though I never do), in a way--at least for me--takes away the element of chance and accident that makes novel-writing so pleasurable.
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Old 04-25-2007, 03:27 PM   #27
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Default Re: Screenplay vs. Novel

[QUOTESo writing a treatment for a novel, though helpful to some (and many outline first, though I never do), in a way--at least for me--takes away the element of chance and accident that makes novel-writing so pleasurable.[/quote]

Wow, This is so surprising to me.

Because I think about how many notes we get on screenplays and the million different directions in story that people "wished" we would've taken it and I have to assume that it is amplified to the nth degree with a novel.

particularly one that was written without an outline.

I mean, how does it work in that world? Is the rewrite process similiar where sometimes you just scrap the whole thing and start over?

how incredibly daunting.

S

PS> I only say this out of naivete for that discipline.
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Old 04-25-2007, 03:39 PM   #28
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Default Re: Screenplay vs. Novel

Writing a novel, santino, is really a kind of psychological process, which is why, when you work with a reputable editor, there's very little "note-giving" and a lot more "gentle suggesting" and negotiating. A novel is much more the property of its creator; it's not seen as something that'll get into other hands and be turned into a property that people will pay to see. So there's a lot of respect for the work at hand.

When I begin a novel I know what the basic situation is and who the main character(s) will be, but the end is a vague cloud on the horizon; I'll know what it is once I've made my way through the landscape leading to it.
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Old 04-25-2007, 06:40 PM   #29
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Jake

So is it safe to assume that someone who is seasoned at the craft as you are does NOT really rewrite at all? That once it's done, it's (more or less) done?

What about your first 2or 3 novels? Were there massive rewrites or has it always been this way?

S
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Old 04-25-2007, 08:36 PM   #30
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Default Re: Screenplay vs. Novel

Santino, my first published novel was actually my thirteenth; I'd been writing for twelve years, producing a novel per year, so when I wrote the one that was finally accepted (and quickly so), I'd been writing steadily for all that time.

Some novelists write a draft, then rewrite and rewrite, as we do with our screenplays; others (such as Anthony Burgess)--and I include myself in that category--try to polish each page before moving onto the next. A lot of it becomes second nature after all this time, so that the writing that gets on the page is pretty finished stuff. The tweaking and editing that takes place is very much plot-related and in reducing the verbiage. It's stylistic more than substantive.

The two major revisions I was asked to do by editors was, first, on my first novel. The editor didn't "get" the ending, and asked me to redo it; I had an alternate ending that I liked equally as much, and that replaced it to his satisfaction (and it made a much better scene when I adapted it for the screen).

The second time was in my fifth novel, where the protagonist travels once abroad to London and then a second time to Paris. My editor felt that one seemed more or less a repeat of the first, and so asked me to combine them.

That was an easy edit.
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