How to Adapt a Novel Into a Screenplay in 10 Steps.

How to Adapt a Novel into a Screenplay

How to adapt a novel into a screenplay in 10 steps.

If you ’ re wondering how to adapt a novel into a screenplay, you ’ re in good party. So were Suzanne Collins ( The Hunger Games ), Annie Proulx ( Brokeback Mountain ), Gillian Flynn ( Gone Girl ), and Dave Eggers ( Away We Go ) at one point .
If you ’ ve found some success as a novelist ( or even if you haven ’ t yet ) possibly you ’ ve considered adapting a novel into a screenplay, but are having fuss knowing where to begin ?
If so, here are ten clear steps you should follow while adapting a fresh into a script for the eloquent screen.

How to adapt a novel into a screenplay step #1: decide if it would make a good movie.

While Hollywood absolutely loves making movies out of novels, not all novels should be made into movies. You need to take a good hard look at your story and be honest with yourself as to whether it would make a good film .

Is it visual enough?

Is there enough conflict ? Is it commercial enough ? Would people pay their hard-earned money to go see this in a movie theater ? Are there a good act of scenes that you can easily imagine up on screen, thrilling audiences global ?
If the answer ’ s “ yes ” go to step # 2 .
If, on the other bridge player, your narrative is identical small, profoundly personal and chiefly concern with your characters ’ inner thoughts, it ’ s credibly not cinematic enough to consider adapting into a screenplay .

Step #2: learn how to adapt a novel into a screenplay by reading books.

As you credibly know, writing a book and adapting a novel into a screenplay requires two wholly different approaches and techniques. therefore if you come from a novel compose background, it ’ s a good idea to inaugural garner as much data as you can on how to write a screenplay .
One of the best ways to do this is to simply get started reading some screenwriting how-to books. Aim to read at least ten earlier embarking on your screenplay .
here are merely a few of our favorite screenwriting books. They ’ re not excessively grave and besides explain things in a clear, concise manner .
Your Screenplay Sucks by William M. Akers
Inside Story by Dara Marks

Save the Cat Stikes Back by Blake Synder
For the wide list, check out this foliate The 10 Best Screenwriting Books To Read In 2019 .

Step #3: learn how to adapt a novel into a screenplay by reading pro scripts.

not adequate aspiring screenwriters do this regularly, but reading the scripts to your favorite movies is possibly the best way to learn how to write. And it ’ s besides one the very best things you can do when it comes to adapting a novel into a screenplay .
There are a long ton of sites where you can download professional screenplays for exempt but we have a put together a post 50 Of The Best Screenplays To Read And Download In Every Genre that ’ s a bang-up place to start .
In short, reading a long ton of professional screenplays should be an essential region of your weekly write routine .

Step #4. learn how to adapt a novel into a screenplay by writing outlines.

Writing a movie tends to be a much more structurally “ formulaic ” procedure than writing a fresh. so here ’ s a great, hands-on technique you can use to familiarize yourself with how movies are constructed .
All you have to do is open your laptop and merely write down the identify actions in every scene. Stick to the essentials of each scene—just what ’ s happened and how the plat ’ s moved forward—and keep it to two sentences max per scene .
once this is done, study the outline, break it into its three acts and note why each view is in the movie. Repeat this enough and before you know it, you ’ ll be an expert when it comes to how scripts are put in concert structurally and can begin adapting your novel into a screenplay .

Step #5: write out your novel as an outline. 

Having focused on steps # 1 to # 4 for a while, it ’ s fourth dimension to write an outline of your book. Read it once more, picturing the events up on a movie screen and summarizing each scenery in the same way as in step # 4 .

only put down scenes that advance the story in some way—either by developing the plot or by revealing fictional character .

A scene in which we see a character gain he has one hour to stop a fail going off is obviously moving the diagram forward. A scene in which we see a quality choose not to talk to anyone at a party and lock herself in the bathroom is revealing character .
basically you only want to include things we can see on shield. This means leaving out all interior monologues, descriptions of the rolling countryside, political theories, and therefore on .
script coverage

Step #6: zero in on your movie’s main conflict. 

much of this might be familiar to you, but it ’ mho worth reassessing your novel from a basic screenwriting position when it comes to adapting a novel into a screenplay .
In contrast to penning a novel, writing a movie script is chiefly about giving the protagonist a clear goal to achieve. This should have gamey stakes attached to it and be very hard to accomplish ascribable to the resistance they face from a strong adversary .
It can be identical useful to try to condense your novel/screenplay ’ mho core idea down into what ’ s known in screenwriting slang as a “logline” —a short summation of the film ’ south core battle into a couple of sentences. ( We have a post here on How to Write a Logline. )
Go to IMDb.com and take a count at the plat summaries/loglines for some of your favorite movies. You should find that each logline neatly encapsulates precisely why you wanted to go see that movie in the first base place .
Distilling your kernel estimate down into a couple of short sentences is the ideal direction to make certain it contains enough conflict and is exciting enough for people to want to see it up on sieve .

Step #7: turn your novel outline into a script outline.

now it ’ south time to take the outline you wrote in step # 5 and, having refined your movie ’ mho core mind, turn it into an sketch for the actual screenplay. Editing, refining and polishing your outline is vital as it could potentially save you wasting many months of working on a story that ’ s not quite there however .
Resist the enticement to jump good into writing the screenplay and spend some time beating out the story—working out what from the novel you should keep and what you should cut. arsenic well as what new characters, scenes or plotlines you might need to write.

Novels normally run between 200 and 400 pages in length. As screenplays are well more concise, writing this outline may require quite a bit of editing : murder characters, subplots and anything not associated with the supporter ’ south goal .

You want to make sure that you lone include scenes in this outline that move the narrative forward—either by advancing the plot or by revealing character .

If you find yourself including scenes about the protagonist ’ randomness aunt who has no impact on the fib at all, she should credibly either be removed from the fib or possibly melded together with another character .
Keep the narrative equally clean and focused as possible .

Step #8: buy some screenwriting software.

If you ’ ve made it this far it means you ’ ra committed to writing this screenplay and indeed nowadays might be a beneficial time to purchase some screenwriting software. The last thing you want to do is start writing the screenplay on MS Word or some other regular writing program .
Screenwriting software will take all the formatting fleshy lifting off your hands while adapting a novel into a screenplay, and hera are the five best screenwriting software options on the commercialize .
While all of these screenwriting software programs will do much of the format work for you, it ’ second still worth getting to grips with the best practices concerning how to format a script .

Step #9: start writing your script. 

Having concentrated on write novels up to now, you may be used to spending a big deal of clock time describing bantam details and giving characters long speeches and internal monologues. In a screenplay, though, everything needs to be angstrom brief and concise as potential .
As they say in the screenwriting commercial enterprise, you want to leave lots of “ white space ” on the page. This by and large means avoiding detailed descriptions, like of a dirt on some drapes, or what the moon looks like in the sky .

The trick is to entirely include dialogue and trace action or scenery that ’ s important to the promotion of either plot or character .

Keep your scenes short and sweet. Remember the erstwhile screenwriting proverb to “ get in late and leave early ” and that one page in a script approximately translates to one moment on screen. broadly, you don ’ thymine want your scenes to run over two pages .
Above all, remember that a opposed to writing a fresh, writing a screenplay is all about revealing report through visuals. Rather than remaining in a character ’ sulfur or narrator ’ south head, approach each scene from this slant : what do I want to show the consultation with these characters ’ words or actions ?
here ’ s a mail on 35 park Writing Style Mistakes In Spec Scripts that you should check out .

Step #10: learn how to adapt a novel into a screenplay by getting feedback.

Keep write and learning the craft of screenwriting, but besides don ’ thymine forget to get some script coverage on your work as you go along. otherwise, you may end up writing away in a bubble, as some fundamental mistakes that could be well rectified, go leave unbridled .
obviously, the best people to get advice from are professional writers, script readers, producers, managers, etc. If you know person in the industry who can give you some free feedback, grab the opportunity with both hands .
We besides recommend the on-line screenwriting forum, Stage32, as a big plaza to get honest advice from fellow screenwriters. And it ’ s absolve .
once you ’ ve taken person else ’ mho notes on board, it ’ second much a good estimate to step away from the script for a pair of weeks or so to let them sink in. Make notes. Mull them over for a while and then return to the handwriting with a clean head to begin the rewrite summons .
Getting to grips with screenplay write may be difficult at first, but stick at it and who knows ? possibly soon you ’ ll be following in the footsteps of Cormac McCarthy and Emma Donoghue .
# # #
If you ’ d like some honest, actionable advice on how to adapt a fresh into a screenplay, please check out our script coverage services. We besides provide a handwriting doctor services in which we can adapt your fresh into a movie script for you.
screenwriting mentorship

Liked this post? Read more on how to write a screenplay…

How to Write a screenplay : The Secret to Elevating It Above the Ordinary
16 essential Screenwriting Tips to Make Your Script Stand Above the Rest
Script Dialogue : If Your Characters Are just Talking You ’ ra Doing It wrong
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