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View Full Version : When Should I Mention That I Have the Adapted Screenplay Also?



Kelsey
06-21-2011, 03:47 AM
As I get closer to submitting my MG novel, a few questions have come to mind that I'm hoping someone might be able to help me with..

1) I adapted my novel into a screenplay as well. I guess in a perfect world, the sale of one would help to facilitate the sale of the other. Is a query the appropriate place to mention that the adapted screenplay is also written and available?

2) Though my novel stands well on its own, I do envision it as part of a series. The catch is that the series would be more like the American Girl series -- different main characters but the same general, overarching theme (I guess....).

Gracias,
K

Cyia
06-21-2011, 03:50 AM
1. You don't mention a screenplay. Period. It doesn't help you sell anything and makes you look like an amateur.

2. XXX stands alone, but has series potential.

Gillhoughly
06-21-2011, 06:07 AM
Don't bother mentioning the screenplay for the reasons mentioned above.

And because a literary agent doesn't sell screenplays.

Here's an icy cold splash from the Bucket of Reality: most books do not get made into films.

Out of the 100,000s of books that are published, a tiny handful might become a movie or TV series--and that depends on sales of the book. Usually bookS.

Those books are usually international mega-bestsellers with a huge built-in audience.

Or based on a comic.

I've had 3-4 options and nothing came of it. I have scripts ready to go, but so far no calls from Hollywood this year.

Just keep writing books, have the scripts on standby in a file, and if your agent says "we've got an option offer" THEN you can trot the script out. The option is a token amount, maybe 100.00 max. Your agent gets a slice.

And I guarantee you, they'll hate your script no matter what. "Gill's just a novelist--what does she know about writing?" (Oh, yeah, I wasn't supposed to hear that, but the phone lines were freaky that day. :evil )

Kelsey
06-21-2011, 06:18 AM
Thanks! I have been noticing a few agents who have sold film rights, so wasn't sure. I also ask because I worked as a [screenplay] reader at an agency, and part of my job was to keep track of what was selling. It seems I was *constantly* seeing descriptions that included "The novel is set to be published in blank month and year." I'm still wondering how both things happen. It must be that the screenplays/film rights are submitted once the book is absolutely going to be published.

Thanks again for the info.

shaldna
06-21-2011, 02:02 PM
1) I adapted my novel into a screenplay as well. I guess in a perfect world, the sale of one would help to facilitate the sale of the other. Is a query the appropriate place to mention that the adapted screenplay is also written and available?



This is like the third or fourth time I have read this sort of question this week. There seems to be a lot of bad information going around on the internet at the minute regarding screenplays and novels.

Here's how it is:

1.writing a novel and writing a screenplay are very different skills, and very few people can do both.

2. literary agents do not generally handle scripts

3. most books do not get optioned, let alone made into movies

4. scripts are very rarely written by one person and are in a constant state of flux

5. it's even harder to become a screenwriter than it is to become a novelist

6. even if the movie is made, it's very, very, very, very unlikley that the author will even be consulted on script, let alone allowed to write it

7. Most book adaptations are made several years after the book is published.

I don't want to put you off, but honestly, unless you Stephen King or Raymond Chandler, the chances of then using your script for an adapatation are virtuously non existant.

I wouldn't mention in in queries because it comes across as very amaturish.

That said, if the book is a success and you are approached to write /co write the script for a potential movie then that's great.

Terie
06-21-2011, 03:22 PM
6. even if the movie is made, it's very, very, very, very unlikley that the author will even be consulted on script, let alone allowed to write it

To reiterate this point, consider:

George R.R. Martin has impressive screenwriting credits (including episodes of Beauty and the Beast) and he didn't do any of the Game of Thrones screenwriting.

If someone of his stature and Hollywood experience doesn't get the screenwriting assignment for his own books, you can pretty much figure almost no novelists do!

kellion92
06-21-2011, 05:41 PM
Kelsey, I agree that you don't want to mention the screenplay in your query, and that "series potential" is a good thing in MG, but a novel should be a standalone to start.

I do have a friend whose novel was optioned, and he then went on to write a screenplay for the director who optioned it (a completely different story). Now he is a screenwriter and producer, not a novelist (or English teacher, which is what he had been). He's an exception, but it's not impossible.

Windcutter
06-25-2011, 07:28 AM
I came across a theory that it was fine to mention a screenplay, but only if it won some recognizable contest (like Nicholl), just to show off the fact that people other than your mother recognized your work. What do you think?

zander
06-25-2011, 08:14 AM
To be fair about George R.R. Martin: maybe he didn't want to write the teleplays. That's 10 1-hour teleplays, right? Probably done by multiple writers. At least two are mentioned in the cast and crew and there were probably more for the teleplays. That's a ton of work. He was already getting paid, why kill yourself writing teleplays when legions of rabid fans are banging on your door day and night to write the 5th, 6th, and 7th 1,000 page novels in your series?

KalenO
06-25-2011, 10:15 AM
And actually technically he did write an episode. He talked about it on his blog.

However, he's also George freaking R.R. Martin, so I'm pretty sure the one thing he's useless at is using him as a benchmark for how likely or unlikely you are to be able to adapt your own work, lol.

mgnme
06-25-2011, 06:30 PM
if something is adapted into a movie, the writer of the book doesn't work on the screenplay. unless they're suzanne collins, and that's because she had years and years of experience writing for TV so she knew what she was doing. i'm not saying you don't know what you're doing as a writer, just that writing a screenplay is completely different from writing a book. not even JK Rowling wrote the screenplays for the HP movies. (she had approval rights, and they asked her lots of questions so they wouldn't, like, change something that would make the later unpublished stories inaccurate. but she didn't write them.) sorry :(

Windcutter
06-25-2011, 11:14 PM
It seems I read the subject line the other way around, sorry, before I returned and re-read it, I had thought the post was about adapting your screenplay into novel.

lac582
06-26-2011, 09:53 AM
unless they're suzanne collins, and that's because she had years and years of experience writing for TV so she knew what she was doing. :(

And Suzanne Collins's draft is not the one they're shooting.

shaldna
06-26-2011, 11:32 AM
There's been a lot of bad information on the internet in the last few weeks about books and movies and scripts - last week there was a blog post by a self published author advising people to DEMAND that they get to write the screenplay otherwise no dice.

*sigh*

Jamesaritchie
06-26-2011, 08:02 PM
Check with the agency. Most small to mid-size literary agents do not handle screenplays, though it depends on the agent's background. But many literary agents do work with sister agencies who handle screenplays, and some of the larger agencies have screenplay agents on board.

Other than a great record of sales, two things I always looked for in an agency was whether they also had screenplay contacts, and whether they had offices, or at least sister agencies, in other countries to handle foreign sales.

Most books do not get made into movies, but this is sometimes because the writer doesn't write a great screenplay and shop it around, just as he would a novel.

djf881
06-27-2011, 06:23 AM
Absolutely mention that you have the screenplay. Also, you should mention any food allergies you might have. And if there are any strange or irregular moles on your body, be sure to enclose high-definition photos of those with your query letter.

JC Romel
06-27-2011, 04:18 PM
To be fair about George R.R. Martin: maybe he didn't want to write the teleplays. That's 10 1-hour teleplays, right? Probably done by multiple writers. At least two are mentioned in the cast and crew and there were probably more for the teleplays. That's a ton of work. He was already getting paid, why kill yourself writing teleplays when legions of rabid fans are banging on your door day and night to write the 5th, 6th, and 7th 1,000 page novels in your series?


And actually technically he did write an episode. He talked about it on his blog.

However, he's also George freaking R.R. Martin, so I'm pretty sure the one thing he's useless at is using him as a benchmark for how likely or unlikely you are to be able to adapt your own work, lol.

George also spent a decade in Hollywood writing TV shows, so he isn't even a typical novelist in that sense. But even still, he didn't write the episode until they asked him to. He didn't have them just lying around his house waiting to be scooped up, nor was his ability to write for the screen a selling point for HBO.