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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Turn Your Screenplay into a Novel and Make Hollywood Come to You

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Did you know Die Hard, one of the most successful franchises in movie history, was made from a novel? It’s a relatively thin book entitled Nothing Lasts Forever and the author, Roderick Thorpe, wrote it back in 1979. You should look it up on Amazon, see if you can pick up a copy and give it a read. I’ve always found it fascinating to read the original source material of a favorite movie. Just the other day I learned that one of my all time favorites, Flight of the Phoenix, was based on a novel. I picked up a used copy and read it. This can be a very helpful learning tool for anyone considering the task of adopting his or her original screenplay into a novel.

And you probably know that Rambo, First Blood was based on the book by David Morrell. You should definitely read that if you get a chance! But be prepared for a few surprises! Morrell’s main character in the book is not nearly as reluctant to kill as the character in the movie!

The point is, Hollywood is terrified to risk anything new. You know this; they don’t like to gamble. The people in charge would much rather gamble on a proven entity, something someone else has already gambled on. If you can create something intriguing, interesting… something that generates buzz and that anyone with an Internet connection can find on Amazon, you may just have Hollywood knocking at your door. Imagine that! But even if that never happens, at the bare minimum you will have become a novelist - a REAL WRITER - and I can tell you from first hand experience, that is a great feeling.

If you’re an unproduced screenwriter, regardless of how great your script actually is, you’re basically standing in line with a million other poor souls who think their script is just as awesome. The world of aspiring screenwriters is like an angry mob with curled scripts in upraised hands, screaming at the top of their lungs: “Notice me! Notice me!” But the sad reality is Hollywood won't notice because the sheer numbers are just too staggering.

But take heart, because there IS an alternative!

You CAN achieve success by turning your full-length screenplay into a full-length novel.

Aside from the obvious, there are two BIG reasons you should seriously heed my advice.

First, by turning your script into a novel, you put yourself back in control of your own destiny. Once your novel hits the electronic shelves, it’s available for anyone to see. It could achieve a following, and then it’s off to the races!

Second, and perhaps more important, a very significant transformation occurs when you write a novel… you look at yourself differently. You become a Novelist. How many unproduced screenwriters can say that? I am a novelist. I am a writer. I wrote a book. All these statements will be true. People will want you to autograph a copy for them (you’ll have paperbacks available on Amazon at no cost to you; this is one of the best-kept secrets on the Internet! Check out CreateSpace.com). Friends and family members will look at you differently.

And you need that. As a human being, you need the affirmation that says I AM A WRITER and the evidence to back it up. Your subconscious needs it. Things change after you become a published writer. Priorities become clearer. Whereas one day, you were pursuing a hobby, once you get your book on Amazon, you’re no longer a hobbyist. You’re an author, with an Author’s Profile page. Real ISBN numbers. You’re a writer. And who knows? You may just learn that you enjoy writing fiction in novel form better than you enjoy writing scripts. If that happens, embrace it. Go with it. There will always be opportunities down the road to take one of your original novels in the other direction and convert it into a screenplay. The key here is to increase your marketability. That’s the most important thing.

And, when you turn your screenplay into a novel, you accomplish an amazing thing...

Your original story sees the light of production, which is critical for people who not only yearn to create, but yearn to entertain, to move, to inspire. We want people to experience our stories and be affected by them, changed by them. This isn’t just about selling a script, it’s about moving an audience. The published novel doesn’t need actors, music, lights, camera, sound. It can be enjoyed as is. It is totally self-contained.

If you have a script lying in your desk drawer, then you have, right there, the basis for a novel. A novel that could quite possibly become the next best-seller on Amazon. But first you need to make a decision. The decision to go for it...

Why A Guide?

There are tools and techniques for writing a novel which the typical screenwriter doesn't have a need for when composing a screenplay. Tools such as choosing a point-of-view character and writing from inside the character's head, revealing his or her thoughts and emotions. Writing rich and vivid descriptions that make the most of sensory detail. This isn't a discussion about character development or plot which the screenwriter is all too familiar with. This is about specific novel-writing techniques designed to make your reader feel in the absence of the visual stimulus encountered in a script.

Turning your script into a novel isn't hard. It just requires stepping through the process. I can show you the way. I've done it with my own scripts and I can show you how to do it with yours. Easily and methodically. I promise you, when you complete the process, you'll have a complete novel on your hands.

What are you waiting for? Don’t let your script sit on a shelf somewhere collecting dust. It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to write it. It was hard work. Increase its marketability by turning it into a novel. Grab my guide from Amazon and let's get started. You’ll enjoy doing it and at the end of the process, you’ll have more than doubled your chances of getting noticed. And, most importantly, you will have changed the way you look at yourself!

Turn Your Screenplay into a Novel and Make Hollywood Come to You!

About the Author

Rick lives in Charlotte, North Carolina and wrote his first novel under the pseudonym Flash Rivers. He can be found on the web at RichardGarrison.com

He's repped by Jackson Starr, of STARRPOWER TALENT (starrpower.com)

20 comments:

  1. Great article! Thanks for putting up a logical step-by-step outline to this process. I've been considering converting a script for years, but I wasn't sure how to get started. Exactly what I was looking for.

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  2. Thanks for the feedback! I'm glad I could help. Good luck with your writing.

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  3. Fantastic post, thank you so much for doing this. Extremely helpful and very easy to understand!

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    1. Thank you! Good luck with your writing and feel free to send me any questions you may have!

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  4. Terrific post... thanks for all the suggestions. Do you have any advice about changing dialogue into past tense?

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    1. That's the easy part!

      Keep the same tense in the dialogue, just add "He said," "She said,".

      For example, if your character LUKE has this line of dialogue: "Shut down all the garbage mashers on the detention level," all you need to do is say, "Luke screamed desperately into his intercom, 'Shut down all the garbage mashers on the detention level!'"

      Make sense?

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    2. You're the best!

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  5. Thank you for this great post! The detailed directions were just what I was looking for. With four unsold screenplays sitting on my desk, you gave me the encouragement I need to get busy, instead of just being depressed. Thanks again!

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    1. Tabitha, so glad I could help! Good luck and send me a note when you publish your first book!

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  6. This is great advice. I struggled so hard to leave descriptions out of my scripts now I'm finding it difficult to revert back to it for the books. My brain cells are going to explode. I'd rather hire someone to do it and share any profits. But this is certainly great advice for someone up to changing back to book style.

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  7. First, thanks for this advice, it's really helpful. Secondly, I've been asked to provide a quote for what I'd charge to turn a script into a novel, and I have no idea where to start in figuring out what to charge. They don't want to pay by the hour, and I won't have to do research. So any advice you could offer in guiding me as to how best to proceed in quoting this would be greatly appreciated. Also, would love any advice you have as far as whether my name will appear as writer and any words of advice or caution. Thanks!

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    1. Peggy, thank you for the kind praise. In response to your question, I think it really boils down to what you feel the time and effort is worth. If it were me, I'd request to read the script first and make sure I have an appetite for the undertaking. Then, if the answer is yes, I'd decide on fair compensation, enough to keep me interested in moving forward. If the script is great, and you think it would sell as a book, perhaps a royalty deal is the way to go. Just make sure you have a signed agreement before you start. If you feel good about undertaking the project, it would be absolutely appropriate for your name to appear as author with an "As Told To By..." the name of the screenwriter. Hope that helps!

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  8. Great article. Thank you for sharing and providing such helpful detail.

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad you found it useful and best of luck with your writing!

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  9. This is brilliant. I am a journalist who has been trying to tell a story for over fifteen years. Back in 2010 I was inspired to take my research and story and turn it into a screenplay. As Mr. Garrison attests, my script got spurts of interest but essentially has been sitting in my bookcase collecting dust. I have been in search of a way to flip my story into a novel and Richard Garrison provided me the "how to" Awesome. Thank you. My story about a government cover up is a story worth telling and now I have a fresh viable vehicle. Thank you for the How To. When my story gets told I will never forget those who got me there!

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  10. Richard, thanks, bought your book on Amazon. Hope it will help me. I get "stuck" going from screenplay to novella. I don't get stuck writing the screenplay at all... I want to overcome this problem.

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    1. G.G., Thanks! I sincerely hope the book helps you get unstuck. Just remember to allow yourself the luxury of writing some really bad prose to get yourself to the end. You may be pleasantly surprised by the finished product! Good luck and keep writing!

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