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How To Write A Screenplay From A Novel

By Expert Author: Terry Sanders

Learning how to write a screenplay from a novel may seem easy at the first glance, but adapting a screenplay to a novel is quite challenging to laymen. The main problem that you will face has to do with reducing the length of the novel to fit the acceptable 120 minutes allocated to a movie. Novels are generally 300-500 or more pages long. A minute of a movie is equivalent to a page of a screenplay. This clearly emphasizes the relevance of tailoring the contents of a novel drastically to fit the mold of a screenplay.
"How to write a screenplay from a novel?" is a question that has been dodging screenplay writers for ages. Novelists put in a lot of hard work to create believable characters, intriguing stories, and painting vivid settings. It is a huge challenge to cut the rich manuscript to size to fit a two hour long script for a film. What to retain is as important as what to leave on the cutting room floor. The first step in mastering how to write a screenplay from a novel is developing clarity regarding the ethos of the book.
How to write a screenplay from a novel will seem a lot easier if you understand the rudiments of screenplay writing. Handle the story of the novel faithfully, but within the structure of screenwriting. All the hard work has already been done for you -- the plot line, characters, and emotions. The only task you have is to pat and chip it so that it fits into the frame within which you wish your screenplay to remain. Ensure to harness maximum marketability for the project you are about to undertake to effectively learn how to write a screenplay from a novel. Events that take place over several years in a novel have to be compressed in the screenplay of 90 minutes or 2 hours. The natural targets are the dialogues. Characters in the novels can be more loquacious than those of the films.
Prose can express what the characters are thinking, whereas, characters in the movies can articulate their thoughts through dialogues, body language, and facial expressions. This is called externalization. A good way to master how to write a screenplay from a novel is to read a few successful screenplays adapted from books. The other cosmetic tasks of restructuring novels include converting them along the conventions followed in the film industry, like three or four acts, following the journey of the protagonist and the antagonist, formatting, resolution of the conflict, and the establishing of a new status quo. Learning how to write a screenplay from a novel is a job that has to be conscientiously carried out. Screenplay writers should write to capture the real essence of the novel, bring the text alive. Keep the use of voice over to a bare minimum. To avoid legal hassles at a later stage, acquire the rights to convert the novel into a screenplay from the author or publisher.

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