Transitioning from a screenwriter to a novelist is no easy task.
Having spent the last twenty-five years writing fifteen screenplays, it has become second nature for me to turn my thoughts into a completed screenplay. Since the format of a screenplay is designed so that one page of a script is equal to approximately one minute of screen time, it leaves a lot of white space on the page.
This means that you have to be brief and must quickly and effectively present your ideas, plot, characters and logic in a tight format.
Screenplays are also blueprints, not the final product. Like blueprints used to fashion a building, screenplays present the concept or plan to the general contractor (the director), but the final look of the building is in the contractor’s control. They may move a bedroom, add a bathroom, put on a second story or add a pool. That’s their prerogative. It’s part of the creative process.
So, when you write a screenplay, you are not trying to present the final version of the story, but a very good starting point.
Novels are completely different. Opposite, in fact. The finished page is the finished page. Granted, editors may help you evolve your story into something more effective, but, at the end of the day, the writer makes the final call. They write the blueprint and finish the building. They do it all.
It’s freeing to have such control, knowing that you alone own your creative vision. But, it’s also daunting, because you alone own your creative vision. There are no scapegoats. You can’t blame your lack of success on the actor or director or a bad release date.
You own it. All of it.
Writing the Gabby Wells novels has been a daunting and fulfilling experience and I’ll have more blog entries that will elaborate our process of transitioning 13 episodes of a television scripts into a single novel. It’s been a challenge, but a rewarding one.
There are many things I’ve learned about myself as a writer, what I do well and what I need to improve upon. I marvel at authors who make their stories look so effortless, but know that, to do so, required a massive amount of effort.
I’m very excited about our first two novels. Their plots are intricate and entertaining, the characters are real and memorable and the faith struggle of Gabby Wells is universal in appeal. I just have to focus on relaying the story in the most effective and proficient way possible and let the Lord do the rest.
We can’t wait for when the novel gets sent to the publisher and we’ll be able to give young adult readers an enjoyable escape into the world of a teen sleuth struggling to integrate her faith into her life.