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Old 04-17-2007, 01:31 PM   #1
santino2699
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Default Screenplay vs. Novel

Just curious.

Have any of you ever written a treatment, then decided that it was better as a novel and written that instead of a screenplay?

If so, how difficult for you was it to shift into that style after writing for the screen for so long? Was it worth it to you?

Or...

Have any of you ever written a screenplay and THEN written a novel based on that screenplay. (Basically the opposite of an adaptation?)

Or...

Have any of you ever killed a man?

(the third one is just my own curiosity)

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Old 04-17-2007, 01:57 PM   #2
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Default Re: Screenplay vs. Novel

1) sorta. I never got to the writing/treatment stage before I decided it would make a better novel.

2) wasn't difficult at all. Yes, it was worth it.

3) No.

4) No, but I have handled a severed human head. Does that count?
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Old 04-17-2007, 02:44 PM   #3
Jake Schuster
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Default Re: Screenplay vs. Novel

I once killed the guy that tried to adapt a screenplay from one of my novels.

Seriously, it is very tough to do that unless you're talented in both forms. The psychology of writing a novel is vastly different from that of writing a script, and while in script structure and story are the king and queen of the form, in long fiction you need to know how to develop character(s) over many tens of thousands of words, and how to weave the many and various stories that go into a successful work of, say, 100,000 words. You write a screenplay; but you live a novel.
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Old 04-17-2007, 03:17 PM   #4
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Default Re: Screenplay vs. Novel

Just to add: as someone who's written both novels (published) and screenplays (so far unproduced; though one--oddly, an adaption of one of my novels--optioned), I can say that when I've come up with an idea it's either one or the other right from the start.

For me (not perhaps necessarily for others, though), a novel begins with character--an individual character or several of them--as opposed to a notion or a story. When I have an idea that is essentially a notion, phrased as a logline or premise, I'm more inclined to develop it as a screenplay.
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Old 04-17-2007, 03:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: Screenplay vs. Novel

I'm doing just that. It is difficult to master both forms, as they are vastly different in tense, description, and point of view. In a screenplay, you can jump around timeframes, scenes, characters at will - in a novel you have to keep the narrative flowing consistently to tell a unified story or you loose the reader.

But, I must say that the novel is just "popping" out since I already did the hard part (the script).

I doubt it's any easier to get a novel published than a script optioned though



Quote:
Originally Posted by santino2699 View Post
Just curious.

Have any of you ever written a treatment, then decided that it was better as a novel and written that instead of a screenplay?

If so, how difficult for you was it to shift into that style after writing for the screen for so long? Was it worth it to you?

Or...

Have any of you ever written a screenplay and THEN written a novel based on that screenplay. (Basically the opposite of an adaptation?)

Or...

Have any of you ever killed a man?

(the third one is just my own curiosity)

Santino
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Old 04-17-2007, 03:24 PM   #6
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Default Re: Screenplay vs. Novel

i started a script, and as it progressed, it was clear to me that the protag had a lot of thoughts he wanted to share...

and i began the novel.

4 months later, novel was done. and i wrote the adaptation. and many things in the book didn't translate properly visually. so i had to change the script.

and i liked some of the new solutions, so i changed the book. i went back and forth, co-developing each property, but also cultivating distinctions. it was a tremendously creative experience.

the thing about writing a novel, if you've never written one is... you won't know how to write a novel, until you've written one.

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Old 04-17-2007, 03:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: Screenplay vs. Novel

I would say it's incrementally easier to get a novel published, for a number of reasons, the primary one being that it's cheaper to publish a novel than to produce a film.

But it'll pay a lot worse (average advance for a first novel=$10,000) and the chances of your novel being advertised and reviewed--unless it's seen as a blockbuster right out of the box--is close to nil. And six months after it comes out, unless it's been a huge hit, it gets remaindered. It's out of the stores.

The life of a novel is far shorter than it used to be, and the notion of the backlist has gone the way of the Underwood and Olivetti typewriters. The midlist, on which most of us novelists have relied, has also shrunk considerably, and because everything now is primarily frontlist, the only chance you have to make it is to write something that will play to the market.
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Old 04-17-2007, 05:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: Screenplay vs. Novel

Have any of you ever written a screenplay and THEN written a novel based on that screenplay. (Basically the opposite of an adaptation?)

I had a month of idle time, no money or internet, so I adapted one of my screenplays into a 80,000 word novel.

If so, how difficult for you was it to shift into that style after writing for the screen for so long?

For the first couple of chapters, I maintained the present tense... but then realized that that was cheating. After a bit, the shift fell into place and I pounded it out fairly quick. The hardest part was opening up what was going through the characters' minds.

Was it worth it to you?

Sure... if nothing else, I wrote a freaking novel! Other than that, it opened up the characters and gave me more insight into what motivated them. Oddly enough, my antogonist had become a lot richer of a character than my protagonist by the final chapter.

Which will help if I go back to revise the original screenplay.

Or...

Have any of you ever written a treatment, then decided that it was better as a novel and written that instead of a screenplay?

No.

Or...

Have any of you ever killed a man?

I think so... but if I did, I really had no real say in the matter, so to speak.
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Old 04-17-2007, 06:33 PM   #9
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Default Re: Screenplay vs. Novel

I've always wondered why there is a stigma attached to
publishing your own novel and not to shooting your own script
or producing your own musical or stage play?

As for killing someone, I've tried unsuccessfully twice.
In one, I didn't have my glasses and couldn't see well enough.
In the second, my best friend stopped me.

They say the third times the charm. So don't get me mad.
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Old 04-17-2007, 08:25 PM   #10
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Default Re: Screenplay vs. Novel

I am a journalist desperate to transfer my skills to the medium of film.

Had an idea for a screenplay and after outlining it, realized maybe I should write it as a novel and then do the screenplay.

Okay.

I wrote a 100,000 word manuscript that garnered lovely rejection letters. No one knew what to do with it.

I did. I wrote a screenplay. But it changed greatly from the manuscript. Definitely for the better.

Not sure anyone wants the screenplay. It was solicited and is being "reviewed."

In the interim I am home recovering from surgery and rewriting the first three chapters of the novel. Will send out to those who did not get first version.

We'll see which one hits first.

In the meantime I can't quit the newspaper. Glad I have a job but seriously seeking other creative challenges.
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