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Thread: Adapting own screenplay into a novel at the same time

  1. #1
    figuring it all out
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    Adapting own screenplay into a novel at the same time

    Has anyone here adapted their screenplay into a novel while still writing the screenplay?

    For one of my WIPs i started out with an outline for my screenplay and realized that I thought it would make a great novel. I've still got a ways to go, but I have been working on both at the same time and it seems as though both my screenplay and the novel have benefited from this. Just wondering if anyone has done this and whether it worked out well?

  2. #2
    Arranger Of Disorder WriteKnight's Avatar
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    Not at the same time, no. I turned my first novel into a screenplay - that got optioned, so that 'turned out well'. Recently I novelized one of my screenplays - and two publishers want to publish it - so that has turned out well... as well.

    If it works for you - don't question it. I think there are some definite benefits to 'revisiting' your own work - either distilling a novel down to a script OR expanding a script into a novel.

    I don't think I could do it at the same time - I hate to have more than one writing project going at once - but that's just me.

    Best of luck!

  3. #3
    figuring it all out
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    Yeah, i never even thought about doing it at the same time before, but just got the feeling to do it that way this time. I plan on submitting the screenplay into the Nicholl contest this year, so i'll be taking a break from the novel for a while as I finish up the screenplay and then go back to polish it up, etc. and then i'll revisit the novel once I have the screenplay complete.

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    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    Not exactly, but I write a screenplay version of a scene and then novelize it. It works great for me.

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    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Adapting own screenplay into a novel at the same time

    Hi, I'm new to visiting the water cooler, but this thread caught my eye immediately. I am converting an unpublished novel into a screen script. I wrote the novel first but with the intention of adapting it so it is an easy transgression from one to the other. I am not convinced it is a good idea to do both in tandem but when writing one you can easily visualize the other. I suppose it all depends on personal choice and ability. But good luck with your project, cheers

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    Arranger Of Disorder WriteKnight's Avatar
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    Interesting choice of word there Towielass "Transgression" - I suspect it was a bit of a Freudian slip. I do think it's a great exercise in visualization. Taking your own novel - and pairing it down to what is the bare essential of the story - helps to sharpen the spine of the story I think. In going the other way - knowing you have this sharp focused storyline that you are free to expand on - allows you to explore elements of backstory, psyche and subplot that there is simply no time for in the screenplay.

  7. #7
    resident curmudgeon
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    I've turned one into the other, but I don't think I could do both at the same time successfully. The writing demands are just too different.

  8. #8
    MonumentalWords.com MonumentalWords's Avatar
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    Really interesting approach and must have its own set of challenges.

    I tend to convert an existing piece of fiction, whether short story or novel and adapt them into screenplays - I hadn't considered the other way round.

    Have any of you heard of the snowflake method for writing novels? Essentially, you write one sentence defining what the story is actually about, then you write a paragraph, then a synopsis. This is very similar to writing a logline and then a synopsis for a movie. I think if you take this approach to planning your 'idea', you can then write the novel or the screenplay and the basic theme and scenes are consistent.

  9. #9
    υπείκωphobe Wilde_at_heart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lefty23 View Post
    Has anyone here adapted their screenplay into a novel while still writing the screenplay?

    For one of my WIPs i started out with an outline for my screenplay and realized that I thought it would make a great novel. I've still got a ways to go, but I have been working on both at the same time and it seems as though both my screenplay and the novel have benefited from this. Just wondering if anyone has done this and whether it worked out well?
    I did something similar - had a screenplay outline and decided to use the story for my NaNo...

    Just polishing it now...

    Still think it would make a good screenplay as well but I've got so many different projects near-completion that I need to concentrate more on shopping them around.

  10. #10
    υπείκωphobe Wilde_at_heart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MonumentalWords View Post
    Really interesting approach and must have its own set of challenges.

    I tend to convert an existing piece of fiction, whether short story or novel and adapt them into screenplays - I hadn't considered the other way round.

    Have any of you heard of the snowflake method for writing novels? Essentially, you write one sentence defining what the story is actually about, then you write a paragraph, then a synopsis. This is very similar to writing a logline and then a synopsis for a movie. I think if you take this approach to planning your 'idea', you can then write the novel or the screenplay and the basic theme and scenes are consistent.
    I'd never heard of it, but used that approach for my last couple of projects. I wrote one screenplay a while back that sort of fell apart when I was struggling to write the logline as it exposed some potential flaws as far as character motives go. I'm actually thinking now that it might be better as a novel...

    I tend to avoid 'methods' since what works for one person often doesn't for another. If that's what it is, I'm not even crazy about the use of 'snowflake' as a descriptor; tossing a rock into pool and then having the story 'ripple out' from the original splash might be more apt.

  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW Henri Bauholz's Avatar
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    The blog, called Adapting Sideways, once ran a series of posts about the very subject. Unfortunately, they are no longer writing about the subject, but you can still check out their published info. I think a screenplay acts as a good first draft for a novel, but unfortunately both these creative venues have failed to spark any interest among agents or publishers.

    My Blog

  12. #12
    figuring it all out Arislan's Avatar
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    My current novel started out as a 120 page screenplay. But since I had no idea how to market one and wouldn't want to hear "what else you got?" from someone (I should be so lucky to get that far!) when I'm so invested in having this story told, I adapted it into my current novel and am at the stage of editing my third draft. I learned a lot in the process and from now on I'll always start with a screenplay. I think cinematically. It helps.

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