Friday, January 1, 2016

Screenplays. Have you written one for one of your novels? by Rolynn Anderson

Happy New Year, everyone!  I'm lucky to be the blog-writer for the first of the month; to be able to holler Happy New Year is extra special.

In the spirit of looking ahead to new and exciting adventures in 2016, I want to draw on your experiences and your writing journey.  

I live close to Hollywood, so I get to rub shoulders with people who know/knew people.  Just the other day, I chatted with one of these people, and his interest in my books was both flattering and energizing.  His suggestion: If I wrote a screenplay based on one of my novels (especially one from my series), I could catch the attention of Hollywood.  In fact, he suggested I read this book by Viki King: How To Write a Movie in 21 Days... 

His enthusiasm was contagious, but I'm already diverting my novel-writing time with short-story writing, blog writing and social media tasks  Do I make yet another detour and try to write a screenplay?  Has anyone out there written a movie script?  Was it a HUGE change from writing a novel or was it a fairly straightforward process? Did it give you an entrée into pitching movie-making folk?

I'm just as conflicted over this issue as I am over paying someone to narrate my novels for the audio market.  

Point is, I've learned that many of you have already vetted these questions and you have experience to bring to the table.  Tell me what you've learned about writing screenplays and latching on to the audio market.  Thanks!  Rolynn   

Meanwhile, I'm still 'in release' of FAINT, my third novel in the funeral planner suspense series.  If you haven't had a chance to read the details, here goes!

Their dead clients refuse to rest in peace.

How did small-town boutique funeral planning morph into crime-solving?  Ask freelance embalmer Trudy Solomon, or Pete McDonald, a blind, forensic investigator.  They’re unearthing mysteries of the deceased for their pregnant boss, Jan Keller, while her journalist husband, Roman, is benched by a ten million dollar defamation suit.

A dead client goes missing, and investigating his disappearance forces Trudy and Pete to confront their fiercely independent styles.  When danger stalks them, will they blend brains, brawn and belief in one another to solve crimes and save themselves?

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Margo Hoornstra said...

Happy New Year. As usual, I have more questions than answers, but I will add my two cents. Part of my former paycheck job was to write television scripts for a local talking heads program. Nowhere near a motion picture, still... There is a certain thrill to having your work and words broadcast, much akin to reading that first byline or holding your first print book. FADE IN...set the scene, then let the dialogue take over from there. Easy, leash. I say go for it! Now, I'll stay tuned for the audio advice.

Brenda Whiteside said...

I love the characters you've concocted for this novel. They are out of the ordinary which is fantastic and a must for my TBR pile!

I would love to write a screenplay. It seems like it would be dialogue heavy and I LOVE writing dialogue. I may get the book you suggested. Yep, finding the time is the killer. Keep us posted if you venture into that realm.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Oh, this is is very helpful, Margo. I'm so impressed that you wrote TV scripts! No wonder you're so good at writing dialogue and setting scenes! And my Hollywood friend made a point that TV scripts are the hot item right now. Thanks for the help!

Jannine Gallant said...

I've never done either. Uh, I've picked out a few actors to star in my books should Hollywood ever come knocking at my door. LOL I'm afraid I'm no help. My books are super heavy on dialogue and very low on internal thoughts, so they'd probably be easy to convert. Maybe one day...

Rolynn Anderson said...

Okay Jannine, maybe if I get enough go-ahead feedback, we could try this in tandem. My books are heavy with dialogue as well. I look forward to the advice of our writer friends.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Brenda, thank you for the compliments. As my characters get more quirky, my writing looks more cozy...never planned that. Yet Fear Land came out rather dark. I'm not sure I have a groove yet...and I don't know which novel I might write into a screenplay, now that I think about it!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

I've never written a screenplay, but have written plays for a non-profit theatre group. I had a play put on by Penn State's theatre group. It took place in a funeral home...all dialogue in front of a coffin. See? We kinda think alike. LOL Most of my plays were comedies though. I'm sure writing a screenplay would be more different since there would be more scene breaks and action tags, etc.

Brenda Whiteside said...

I enjoyed Fearland. But quirky and cozy make for good chick makers me thinks.

Unknown said...

Hi Rolynn,
How great it is that you have this opportunity. You have to try this, you'll be kicking yourself if you don't.

There is one thing I would check before you start. If your books are contracted by a publisher then check your contract.
I know my publisher hold the film rights to my books, which is something I hate.
It's in the first paragraph of the contract is blatant and you can't miss it.
But if you hold the film rights then go for it. There is a chance it won't pan out - just because life's like that. But if you don't do it you might regret it. I know I would.
Happy New Year.

Cindy Carroll said...

I've written screenplays and teleplays. Two of my teleplays for one of my favourite shows won honourable mention in a contest. I've taken screenwriting courses, read books on screenwriting, read screenplays. It's a very different animal to writing novels or short stories. It is ALL show. Yes, dialogue heavy. I recommend reading a lot of screenplays if you're interested in writing a script. But know what kind of screenplay you're reading. Scripts written by someone in the business for a while can get away with things that a spec script can't.

I love writing scripts and novels. Selling a script is a lot harder than breaking into publishing. Even if a script is optioned the movie might never get made.

All that said, I think it's a great learning experience and can help your novel writing. Novels that have a fan base are more likely to get noticed in Hollywood. I am turning the first novel in my new dystopian trilogy into a screenplay. I have an okay to send it to person who works for a studio who usually doesn't accept unsolicited scripts (won it through a fund raiser). I've also decided to turn some of my scripts into books to see if I can get more traction on them.

I say go for it. It's a lot different but scripts are so much fun to write.

Ashantay said...

I wrote a screenplay - a cheezy Scy-Fyi type movie. Until that time, I hadn't had much luck with my books and I felt stymied. Writing the screenplay for fun - because I had no expectations of a sale - did something to help my books. My plots tightened, the dialogue became crisp, and I learned to show, not tell. I suggest you read either Syd Fields' books or Save the Cat. You will also need a script software program for proper formatting. It's also easier to sell a script if you are an established writer - which you are. If you don't have an agent, find one. There is an "in the room" practice that can hurt you if you haven't protected your rights. RWA has a screenwriting chapter, I believe. Good luck! Screenwriting can be lots of fun!

Cindy Carroll said...

Save the Cat! is a brilliant book and I highly recommend it as well.

Screenwriting is great for helping you tighten your writing. I use screenwriting techniques in my writing now and even teach workshops on the differences between writing books and screenplays.

Scrivener does have a screenwriting option but for screenplays I use Final Draft. It's the most used screenwriting software in Hollywood.

RWA no longer has a screenwriting chapter. The new rules for who can be on the board meant we didn't have enough people who met the requirements. With no board the chapter folded.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Brenda, thanks for the tip to write a screenplay for the funeral planner series. Fortunately I got back the first book in the series from Wild Rose after I wrote the next two books. I do have the rights, now for four of my six books.

Marlow, thanks for reminding me about copyrights! Your enthusiasm for taking on the task is contagious.

Ashantay, you always amaze me with your experience. I'd heard about Save the Cat...will look it up. I'll find out more about copyrights, too, though I do own the 4 books I'm considering. Thanks!

Cindy, you are helping me with all kinds of great ideas. Thank you so much for weighing in on the dilemma. And you teach workshop! I knew I'd find wise women among author friends. So I've written down Save the Cat and the formatting 'Final Draft.' Thank you so much for your tips

Leah St. James said...

I've been contemplating the same thing, Rolynn. Thanks for the book recommendation. I'm going to check it out!

Diane Burton said...

If you don't try it, you'll kick yourself with regrets. I've never had the urge to write the screenplay for one of my books, even though I "see" my story as a movie when I write. Good luck!