Q&A with Eric Red discussion

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Transitioning from screenwriting to book writing.

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message 1: by Eric (new)

Eric Red (EricRed) | 13 comments Mod
There are a lot of big differences writing a screenplay and writing a novel, but also major similarities. If any of you have gone from writing scripts to books or the other way around, would love to hear your experiences as well.


message 2: by Duane (new)

Duane P. (DuanePCraig) | 5 comments I prefer writing books (prose) when I know I want to have that 4th dimension of the characters - I want you to know their thoughts and not just their dialogue and actions. I also seem to be able to get more expansive with books. I can go on longer journeys and increase the scope of locations quite a bit without having to whittle down the details of "the ride."

Per screenwriting, I fit that niche of "low-cost/high-concept" for the most part. All of my scripts really focus on a handful of characters in tense and claustrophobic scenarios. I think it's the matter-of-fact detailing and how dialogue being 99% of what fleshes your character out in a script that keeps me writing in this niche. Of course, I'm big on suspense, too, and also favoring slow burn means of ratcheting intensity, again it is easier to streamline the story for me per a script.

I tried to cross the paths recently by taking a script idea (same, usual niche style) and write it in prose. The result was a short novella - not quite my initial goal. The sci-fi prose idea I then tried to script didn't work at all because of too much needed exposition that I just didn't want to budge on after all.

The best script/prose combinations I've had fun and success with are per writing the film noire concepts I have. Noire is notorious for having voice over narrative, so that 4th dimension was cracked wide open for me and really shined on those works. At least that's what the current option holders say. I'll judge them more fully when they aren't on the "shelf" anymore...haha.


message 3: by Eric (new)

Eric Red (EricRed) | 13 comments Mod
Nothing wrong with tense and claustrophobic scenarios. Most great horror movies involve a handful of characters in an isolated setting facing a monster or threat. I believe all good horror movies have a B movie storyline as the core, and I mean B movie the best sense of the word.

Screenplays are all about showing who the characters are through external action and dialogue, and doing it as tersely as possible. Novels allow the luxury of telling what the characters are thinking and feeling as well. Story development I think is very similar in a book and a film--but in a screenplay the scene progression should usually be linear and a novel lets you jump back and forth in time and follow the points of views of multiple characters. In DON'T STAND SO CLOSE I found it liberating as an author to be able to get the reader inside a lot of characters' heads and tell the story through several viewpoints. Writing a novel you have an arsenal of storytelling tools at your disposal you don't have writing screenplays. On the other hand, writing a good screenplay requires rigorous narrative and structural skills novelists don't always possess--in a script, nothing's wasted.


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