I had a conversation with my sister yesterday- - she had a number of questions about this whole adaptation route that Angela and I are undertaking. Perhaps you are wondering the same things...
Novelists are free to use as many words as they want or need. The average novel is 250,000 words. The author of a novel can describe people, places, and events in detail that goes on for pages, allowing the reader to revel in the flowery phrases and grow to feel like they're actually there. Novelists should still show more than tell, but can indulge somewhat more in telling the reader what they want them to experience. Dialogue can be sparser and the plot's progression as slow as a melting glacier with subplots aplenty. That's how some novels end up being over 600 pages.
The difference between a screenplay and a novel is about 230,000 words!
Screenwriters don't have the same luxury. We only have 110 pages to paint a world and draw the viewing audience in, to cheer for our hero/heroine and boo the bad guys. We have to show not tell - show the plot's progress, show the personality of our characters and convey inner thoughts in increasingly unique ways.
In adapting a novel to the silver screen, our main job is to find the heart of the story, the deepest core. To do that, we may have to make decisions that might infuriate fans of the story's earlier form - the original novel. But that is what adaptation is all about -- bringing our vision of the novel to a wider audience in the form of a feature film.
Film producers have been remaking old TV series, even old movies for a long time now. They like nothing better than to adapt a comic book with a huge fan base into either a live-action film or an animated movie.
We decided producers couldn't be aware of every bestselling novel, so we took the proverbial bull by the horns and optioned the rights to adapt GREEN DARKNESS into a screenplay. When it comes time to market it to producers, and they read our script, we want them to be asking themselves how they possibly missed snatching up this great story.
We thought outside the box...and we were very lucky.
Do you believe enough in your writing ability to take the same leap?
Until next time -