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How do you make a novel into a screenplay? (1 Viewer)


Senior Member

I have a novel I wrote a few years back and someone approached me interested in making it a screenplay. I guess there is some format you use, but it escapes me. If anyone could let me know, or a great site where to go to learn, that would be great.



Senior Member

First of all, before turning a novel into a script, you should know how to write a script/screenplay. Here is a helpful site with all you need to know: Screenwriting.info: How to Write a Screenplay

Next, give whoever is writing the screenplay your novel. Let him/her read it. Now, with transforming a novel into a screenplay, a lot of things from your novel have to be omitted (for time purposes). Most movies last anywhere between 1 hour, 30 minutes to 4 hours. So, depending on the length of time, I would have him/her include the major parts of your work, and allow your screenwriter the ability to add/delete scenes, and made it interesting. As with most movies, they'll be too long if you make the ENTIRE novel the movie - keep your viewers' interest, and you help to decide what to keep/omit.

Good luck. Screenplays are a pain in the neck, but once you know what you're doing, you'll be fine. Happy trails! ;-)


Senior Member
Congrats on the novel and the interest to turn your novel into a [email protected] That's exciting. Before worrying about adaptation, Cervantes is right, you have to understand the screenwriting form. Usuaully they're centered around 5 Major events, for example: inciting incident, a 1st culmination (what gets us into act I), a midpoint (an unexpected surprise or change in the concept), a low point for the protagonist, and, at last, a resolution. Read some scrips, see how it's done. Better yet, read something that's been Adapted...read the book as well and compare. I recommned Misery by Stephen King... then watch the movie... then read WIlliam Goldman's Adventures in the Screentrade where he shows how he adapted Misery. You'll probably start to think of how your story falls into this type of format... or at least you'll be off to a good start.

Also, get used to the idea now that there are somethings that just won't make it into the script from your lovely novel. They're just different mediums and it doesn't all fit in unison.

Buddy Glass

Senior Member
Two ways:

1) Publisher hired someone else to adapt it; authors rarely do it themselves.

2) You watch Adaptation and get drunk.