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Old 09-23-2004, 10:59 AM   #1
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Of two minds about writing

I want to sell a screenplay

I want to have a novel published.

Like everyone else, I am emotionally invested in some stories but some stories are best suited for one genre or another and I have my reasons why I want to do both. I`ve put effort in both but I feel one will need all my attention if Im going to be successful at all.

Now, of course this is a screenwriting forum, but I thought I`d post this here to see if other screenwriters felt the same way and how they deal with it. I`m also new here and didnt see a better forum (missed it in my fatigue?)

Cheers! :grin
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Old 09-23-2004, 11:50 AM   #2
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Re: Of two minds about writing

In both forms, you want to use as few words to weave the most compelling story possible.

A screenplay in its perfect form is not the final product (which isn't to say that it can't be art). The movie is the execution.

A novel is the final product.

A screenplay has many structural guidelines and such that limits freedom (which can be good and bad). A novel can tell a story that doesn't have to be seen.

Some can do both well. (Chabon, Crichton come to mind)
Most cannot.
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Old 09-23-2004, 01:11 PM   #3
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Re: Of two minds about writing

I deal with the same problem all the time. I'm maybe halfway into a novel or a novella when I see the characters and scenes so visually that I start thinking the story would do better as a script. And when I'm writing a screenplay I feel I'd like the opportunity to expand certain elements... take away the thinner surface visuals and add more story depth and inner character thought. It's a constant struggle. On several occasions I've succumbed to temptation and luckily it's worked although, of course, it took more time. But there can also be side benefits: I was able to adapt a stalled novel into a completed screenplay whose ending almost wrote itself. And because I'd found an ending that worked, I could then go back and complete the novel. Ditto with screenplays that have had me tearing my hair out, I've adapted these into novellas and finished them, which has allowed me to go back and finish the screenplays.

Don't angst over it, just drive yourself to work on whatever version of the story appeals to you most. If you reach a point where you know you've made the wrong choice, at least you've got plenty of material ready to adapt into the other medium. And if you can finish one then you have a better chance of finishing the other, no?

Shrug, my thoughts.

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Old 09-23-2004, 10:11 PM   #4
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Re: Of two minds about writing

Both are equally as hard to sell and become successful at. Do what's in your heart or muddle through and do both.
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Old 09-24-2004, 09:49 AM   #5
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Re: Of two minds about writing

Great thing is, you're not limited to one type of writing. Heck, I would reccomend you experiment around...I do, and sometimes I find I really like writing a certain type of medium, one which I would usually not pay attention too...
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Old 09-25-2004, 12:11 AM   #6
FJ and G
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Re: Of two minds about writing


I expressed same sentiments as you about 2 months ago and got flamed for wanting to do both. Replies much kinder to you.

In my case, I'm concentrating 100% on the screenplay (on my 4th draft, with many more needed).

At some point in the drafting process, I'm going to do the novel on the same topic and that in turn may lead to some changes in the script.

Another bennie of doing the novel before submitting the script (IMO) is that you have pretty much established the rights.

Feel free to email me. I'm going to try to update my profile as I just got a job inside the Pentagon.

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Old 09-25-2004, 12:34 AM   #7
Writing Again
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Re: Of two minds about writing

I'm primarily a novelist (I know I've said that somewhere before). I discovered quite by accident that it is fun to write my novels, and or chapters, as screenplays as I go.

My written descriptions in a novel tend to be more poetic than literal, and yes, I do get knocked for it.

The biggest problem is usually, "How do I show that visually?"

The reward is that I often attain a deeper understanding of my story and my characters. And once in a while I come up with something that carries over into the novel.
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