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Novel To Screenplay

By Author: Billy Alexander

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The transformation of a novel to screenplay is a process undertaken by many aspiring writers trying to gain entry into Hollywood. Oftentimes, a novel may be so compelling that film executives will demand a screenplay version. On other occasions, the author might attempt adapting from novel to screenplay to reach an extensive audience. Whatever the case may be, the ultimate objective is to obtain a script that producers, directors, actors and the rest of the crew will convert into a movie or teleplay.
The progression offers challenges as well as many benefits based on the particular novel to be adapted. The developmental steps are similar, varying slightly from one writer to another. The adaptation of a novel to screenplay involves a lot of persistence and resolves on the part of the writer or a team of writers working in collaboration on the project. It is important to take into consideration whether the novel has already been turned into a screenplay previously. In such a case, it will be crucial to create an original adaptation that is distinct from other versions.
If you did not write the novel, make sure to acquire the rights to make the adaptation. For this, the author or publisher may be approached prior to adapting from novel to screenplay. The next and all subsequent steps fall along the logical path. Most novels are 300-400 pages. Since a minute on screen translates to a page of text, the novel has to be trimmed to about 120 pages. That is a challenging task particularly when you are so close to the work. Sieving through the novel to separate the chaff from the grain is necessary.
Characters and scenes that are most important should be separated. Some scenes might need to be reshaped, others dropped, or new ones added to include cinematic realism when restructuring from novel to screenplay. It would be great if you can coin catchy one-liners that become the trademark of a character, or a potent phrase that could become the tag line of the movie.
Transmogrifying a novel to screenplay involves externalization. This means that all the internal thoughts, descriptions, or transpiration have to be put across through dialogues, actions, and reactions. Include much action and appealing opportunities for cinematography and sound. It is usually dialogue, peppered with dramatic action, that links and moves the movie forward. Depending on the genre, this could come in the form of fights, car crashes, exploding buildings, or other such exciting and imaginative incidents.
When you morph a novel to screenplay, do not forget to maintain the industry norms regarding format, vocabulary, and structure. The opening scene may not tally with the first chapter of the novel, but it has to be bombastic. Less is more; leave something to the imagination of the audience. This will add excitement and thrill for the viewers.

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