Friday, March 20, 2015

A Novel Screenwriting Experience

I was out for a walk yesterday, reflecting on the afternoon's work on my new novel-in-progress, when a little voice (if you're a writer, you know the one), said, in a not-very-still, not-very-small way, "Work on the screenplay for Sara's Year at the same time as you're working on the novel."

Now, I had always planned to adapt Sara's Year for the screen, just as I did with my Q'ntana Trilogy fantasy novels. At one point, I had even considered writing the screenplay first, as I did with the trilogy's third installment, The SunQuest. But simultaneously!?!!? Insanity!!

"You're crazy," I muttered, a not atypical reaction to my Muse. "How can I work on both versions  at the same time?"

Then I remembered how dialogue-heavy this first draft of the novel is turning out to though I was setting myself up for the screenplay.

"Oh," I said.

Then I remembered thinking, as I was writing that afternoon, how cinematically the novel was unfolding.

"Oh," I said again.

Then I remembered how true to their novels my screenplays have always been.

"Hmm," I said.

Then I remembered that my Muse has never steered me wrong, however bizarre and unconventional its guidance.

"Okay," I said, very softly. "I don't know how I'll do it. But I'll do it."

If you have followed my writings, especially my Acts of Surrender memoir, you'll recognize this journey from resistance to surrender as a fairly common one for me. All that has changed over the years is that, thankfully, my surrender now occurs more expeditiously.

I'm still not sure how it will work. Will I write on the screenplay one day and the novel the next? Will I immediately translate each scene from one form to the other? More likely, the experience will be an organic one that will vary from scene to scene and day to day.

All I can know in this moment is all I have ever known: that I must trust the story to reveal to me not only its trajectory but the optimal ways to express that trajectory, and that I must exercise that trust in the moment-by-moment process that is the creative journey.

No doubt, you'll be hearing more about my Sara's Year experiences in the weeks and months ahead. For today, though, I will open Final Draft to the Sara's Year screenplay and Pages to the Sara's Year novel and await further instructions. If I listen, those instructions will come. And if I trust, they will prove to be perfect...just as they have always been

• If you missed my two recent posts about Sara's Year, look them up here and here

• To read about more of my various surrenders over the years, pick up a copy of Acts of Surrender: A Writer's Memoir – on most Amazon sites, from my website, from select other online booksellers or from all major ebook stores

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