Write a Script First

So I’m adapting my Edge books as a potential TV series.  There is a reason I picked a novel — in fact a series of novels — and I have George RR and the success of Game of Thrones to thank for that.  Hollywood is now eager to pick up properties based on novels, particularly novels where there are multiple books.

I’m writing the pilot now, and even if it doesn’t got as as show it’s a new writing sample for my manager which is all good.  As for using my own work — well, I have the rights to it so no options involved, and hey, if you’re going to steal, steal from yourself.

Of course I’m making a lot of adjustments.  In the novel I could have a very long conversation between my hero and the Prometheus figure, but I can’t do that in a script.  After three pages a scene starts to “creak” so I have broken up the scene and even given some of the dialog to another character.  I’m dropping bread crumbs rather than laying out the entire feast at one sitting.

And I think it’s much better then the structure in the novel.  If only I’d written this out first as a screenplay I might have seen that and doled out information in a slower and more controlled manner.  Of course THE EDGE OF REASON was my first foray back into book writing after years in Hollywood so my excuse is that I was rusty.  At least the books keep getting better when is all any writer can hope for.

Point of all this is that I am even more convinced of the efficacy of outlining first.  In a way a script is a shorthand outline of a fleshed out novel.  You do that and I think you end up with a better book at the end of the writing process.

2 Responses to Write a Script First

  • Eric Mac says:

    Completely agree with you on this. I wrote a novella from one of my screenplays and the experience was a breeze. I also wrote a screenplay based on one of my novels-not so breezy:omg, what an effort.

    My screenplay-to-novel conversion had the timing of events and pacing of intense scenes well developed, and the transition to an intense, easy read story was, well, easy. My novel-to-screenplay conversion had to be trimmed and re-trimmed for timing/pacing.

    On chapter 12 of your first Edge book (audio). It’s very cool you writing this blog relating your process on the conversion. Thank you for your insight. Kept nodding my head and smiling reading it.

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      I’m finding this fairly easy to go from the novel to the teleplay because I’m the lean and mean writer. In fact often too lean in my prose. I’m always being told to amplify more. I like to cut so the cutting is easy. What I’m noticing is that I’m losing a lot of long expository sections by breaking them up. Really wish I had done that in the novel, but like I said The Edge of Reason was my return to novel writing after a long time in Hollywood and I was rusty. I really like the third book. It just rockets right along. And isn’t that always the goal? To make each book better?

      I’m glad you’re enjoying my musings on the craft of writing, Eric. I’ve been lucky to have generous and very talented friends who love to talk about writing and offer me their insights which helped me improve. I figure I can pass along what I have learned.

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