Broken Pieces

Lee Tidball – Script To Novel – Part Two

Script To Novel; Help For The Almost-Always Jilted Screenwriter – Part Two

by Lee Tidball 

In Part One of this post, we talked about how increasing numbers of screenwriters are turning to novelizing their screenplays in order to both get their stories out to the public and build an audience that might one day attract the attention of a Hollywood producer.  We discussed a bit about kinds of novels; “straight” novels, graphic novels, picture books for children’s stories, etc., and decided that the straight novel, for most screenwriters, would be the best way to bring your story to readers, mainly because it is a much simpler process because there is no artist or artwork involved.

And now, we’re ready to actually write that novel.

The first step here is to first consider the literary style you’ll use.  Most adult novels today are written in the traditional 3rd person past-tense narrative, or the even more popular 3rd person omniscient narrative, where we randomly see the story from multiple points of view, depending on the discretion as the author.  If your script is for an adult movie audience, this would then be the recommended path.

However, if you write for the young adult audience (teens mostly), the first-person narrative is far more popular.  This was a trend that really took off with Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series, and has evolved into the even more immediate first-person present-tense viewpoint with Suzanne Collins’ “Hunger Games” trilogy.  Rick Riordan began using the first-person, multiple points of view style with his Kane Family series and has continued that in his Heroes of Olympus novels, sequels to the Percy Jackson series, which was written in 3rd person.  These first-person styles have become so ubiquitous in young adult novels today that you almost don’t dare write one that’s not in some sort of first-person style (I even know teens who simply won’t read anything that’s not in first-person).  So consider that if your script is pointed more toward the youth audience.  For children and pre-teens, ironically it’s back to the standard 3rd person, as this is the style that most of the reading they do for school is done in, and a first-person style confuses them.

Then comes the (relatively) easy part—actually writing the novel.  Why so easy?  Because you’ve already done the majority of the heavy lifting when you wrote the screenplay.  You created a story, its settings, fleshed out its characters, and banged out virtually all the dialogue.  In theory, all you really need to do is take what you’ve written in the screenplay, remove the sluglines that separate scenes, and voila!  You have a nice, tightly written novella.  There is, of course, a lot of smoothing out and adding transitions between scenes, as well as adding description to your settings.  Your audience will no longer be seeing the INT. HOUSE – DAY on some screen.  You’ll have to tell them what the interior of that house looks like—hopefully in a literarily attractive fashion.  Essentially, though, a screenplay is the epitome of a detailed outline for a novel, and if it’s followed closely, you’ll do fine.

There’s something else you may wish to do, though, that could turn your tight little novella into a truly outstanding novel.  That would be taking advantage of the novel format to include things that you necessarily couldn’t put in a 120-page or less screenplay.  These would be things like a character’s thoughts as they go through the story, what they’re thinking in the midst of that crazy action scene, what their suspicions are about other characters, or what their aspirations are as they go about following their dreams.  Since screenwriting is visual, you can’t include such things in the screenplay, but in your novel, you can.  No one’s watching the page count and trashing your work if it becomes “too long.”  You can also put added description into action scenes, juice up areas of the story that you may have had to cut material from to keep your page cut down, but really liked, or add something totally new to the story (a new character, a different subplot, etc.) that gives it a more enriched flavor.  When I novelized my screenplay MALLED, this was a particular delight for me, and I think it gave the overall story much more depth and richness.

So write that novel, then come back for Part Three, and we’ll decide just what to do with it once it’s written.


“Imagine the unimaginable.”

That was the mantra of young prodigy Hector Chevas’s mentor in architectural design, Gellini. But even Gellini couldn’t imagine the horrors that his prize student and adopted son would fill Suburbia’s new Heartland Mall with to wreak revenge on those who killed Gellini and murdered Hector’s only friends. “Black Friday” was never blacker.

But Hector couldn’t imagine that, in the middle of his deathly rampage, an “angel” from his past would re-appear into his life; wild-child Janey, whose life he’d saved years before, and who’d never forgotten her promise to “always love him…for reals.” But was that love strong enough now to learn the unimaginable truth; to call Hector’s “dead” soul back to life and resurrect him from his mad plunge into oblivion?

MALLED is a story filled with tragedy, terror, raw emotion, unspeakable horrors, and, above all, the awesome power of ferocious, undying love. Go for it. Get into it. Dare to “imagine the unimaginable.”

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre –  NeoGothic Horror / Thriller

Rating – R for violence & language

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Lee Tidball on Facebook  & Twitter


Post a Comment