Writers read. It’s just a fact. Some read a lot more than others, but at some point you wanted to tell a story because you read a great one in a book somewhere.
Screenwriters read scripts. Their passion came from seeing a film they really enjoyed.
The point is, that without reading, you are limiting yourself to what you can write about. For the scriptwriter it is a bit easier. You can watch a movie and get the directors take on it, then read the script to get the writer’s take on it.
So we are going to make it a little tougher, today.
A cross platform writing prompt to get a book in the hands of a screenwriter and a script in front of a novelist.
Think you are up for it? Let’s find out.
Screenwriters: Get a novel, any one. Open to a chapter and read that one chapter. Then, remove all the “directions” leaving only basic action and dialog. Rewrite that chapter in script format.
Novelists: Find a script and read a few scenes. Add in the details that are missing to make it a full chapter. This will be thoughts, emotions, smells, scene building elements, etc.
Let’s give you a little help, shall we?
If you don’t happen to have a book in your home, well… maybe change that? But, you can still find full novels online for free. Project Gutenberg has over 60,000 books to choose from, all for free. You can find one there.
If you don’t have a script handy, they are available online, too. There are many sites with free scripts. SimplyScripts is a no-hassle script download (PDF) site with thousands of movies to choose from.
Now that you have your materials, it’s time to get to work.
Your job is to take a novel chapter and reduce it to a few scenes. You want to stick to the basic structure here and follow the screenwriting rules.
Basically, you, as the writer, cannot give directions, camera directives, actor instructions or anything. Simply set up the scene and provide the basic action and dialogue.
Adapting a book for the big screen is a challenge. Finding a way to get all of the emotion and feeling into those few words is tough. But I believe in you.
Your job is the opposite. You need to take a script that is devoid of all basic book tendencies (internal thoughts, motives, action, scene details, etc. and add them in.
Taking a script and turning it into a novel is no easy feat, either. You need to understand what the script writer wanted to convey. See through their eyes, if you will. Then tell the story they could not.
When you are done, come chat in the comment section. Did you find this writing prompt easy? Difficult? What was the best part and what was the most difficult? Let’s discuss.