Why Not Make That Novel a Screenplay?

I'm hip-deep in the design phase of a new novel.  If you follow this blog you know that I spend literally six months planning out the plot, background, character design and worlds for my projects.  I don't scrimp, I research in order to up the realism factor, and I am hyper detailed.

A week or so ago I was talking to an artist friend of mine, trying to come up with a pitch for my novel (and failing miserably) because trying to put the wide scope of the book into a one to two sentence description that would hook an agent or a publisher was very difficult.

After much consideration, and the suggestion that because of my love and understanding of film (I've taught film study for years), I should try to write the novel as a screenplay as well.  

This means I'm going to write the novel anyway, but I'm going to write a screenplay for it on the side in tandem with writing the novel.  I think the novel could be a great series for Amazon Prime or Netflix.  It's original, hasn't been done before (to my knowledge) and is science fiction with enough realism to make a viewer or reader think it might be based on actual events.

I've thought about dipping my feet into the screenplay waters for a few years now, but it took a gentle nudge from a friend to get me to dive right in and deal with the initial chill of the pool.  About a year ago I tried out Amazon Storywriter, but now I'm digging right in and using their wonderful nearly-automated interface to create a nice looking screenplay.

There are three basic things to know before signing up to use Amazon Screenwriter.

  1. It's totally free - If you have an Amazon account you can use Screenwriter and share your drafts with writer friends of yours for feedback.  All you need is their e-mail address.
  2. It's semi-automated - No worry about formatting.  Simply select the proper formatting guide at the right of the screen and it formats for dialogue, character names, actions, scene headings and parentheticals.  
  3. You can submit right to Amazon - Amazon Storywriter has a submission guidelines page that is very informative.  You can also use Amazon Storybuilder to outline your series or movie idea for better organization and to submit to Amazon when you finish the series pilot.

I'm hoping to submit to Amazon in a few months.  By then I'll have a draft that is the best I can create.  Drafts of screenplays for series have to be between 80-100 pages according to their guidelines.  The best news is that you don't have to have an agent or publisher.  Amazon has accepted scripts from unsolicited screenwriters in the past and consider indie writers to be where a lot of their freshest content has been found.

Give it a shot!  There isn't much of a learning curve, and wouldn't you like to see your novel turned into a series or movie anyway?


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