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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Screenplay Saga

I’m 91 pages into my screenplay now, which as I’ve alluded to before is close to 91 minutes on video. Taking a 347 page novel and converting it into much less than half that has many obstacles to overcome in the original plot layout. I discovered the only surviving coherency to the original plot rests in blending the most important characters with a timeline of events that achieve the original novel’s effect. Some lines and events don’t make the cut.
One of the important elements I see in screenplay writing versus novel writing is action. Action in a screenplay element has to be visualized in my head as a movie sequence. All the words meant for scenery and feelings have to be relegated to the actors and director. Sure, we still have the dialogue, coupled with some direction for the camera and expressions, to wring what we want from the scene – but the visual outcome must work to move the scenes along.
In other words, writing action elements in the screenplay amounts to picturing yourself as a director guiding stuntmen or actors through a scene. It’s not an easy transition, because that’s where the novel writer departs, leaving only action. The finish is near, and then I’ll see if anything comes of it. I did find out by sending out that shorter screenplay to people advertising for exactly what I wrote that they don’t even bother sending you a form rejection. They just ignore you. Pretty familiar ground.  :)
That’s it from screenplay land.


Charles Gramlich said...

I tend to visualize action scenes pretty clearly when I write them, although I don't think I do it like a director does. Interesting.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Charles, I know what you mean. I write graphic violence pretty well in novel form. I noticed in my research on the action element of a screenplay, it reads more like a statement than with a literary flair.

raine said...

Bernard, do you think you'll have trouble switching back to writing fictional prose when you're ready?

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

No, Raine. I've already started another novel. I got this idea last week for hooking up a very odd couple in of course violent circumstances. I haven't had any trouble with shifting back and forth, but then again, I don't know whether my screenplay writing is actually right or not. :)

Vesper said...

I don’t think many authors are also able to write the screenplay for their books. Although I also visualize what I write like a movie in my head it’s not exactly the same. I think, also, that for a screenplay you need to follow certain rules more than for a novel.
All this and you’ve also started a new novel! Bernard, you’re amazing!

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Not so amazing, Vesper. I love to write, and I'm mercenary enough to want to find a writing avenue that might have some monetary payback. :)

Yes, screenplay writing is totally different, and I would never advise doing it without a program like 'Final Draft' and a lot of research.