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Why You Should Adapt Your Book Into a Screenplay

Since the invention of celluloid, Hollywood has adapted popular books and memoirs into hit movies

Some novels, particularly mysteries, are easily told in a two-hour movie format, but others with multiple storylines

As writers, it’s always fun to push the boundaries and try something new

Some books tell stories that span over years or even generations

But keep in mind that in a film, you only have about two hours to tell your

Your job is to pack as much conflict into those two hours of screen time as possible

From there, you can determine when and why you might want to move an event around in

If you put each major event onto an index card, you can lay them out in a

If you have a lot of characters, you may need to condense two or three characters into

Where exactly does your story take place? Is it an action thriller that spans the Communist Bloc

You don’t have to worry about limiting the locations, but it is important to only include

The good news is that you don’t need to use a pricy one like Final Draft,

are all good options and only take a few minutes to learn how to use

If the format is off, an experienced producer can tell just by looking at the page

For a story to feel like a movie, it needs to be in a three-act structure

Most likely, your book is already in this structure, whether or not you know it

There are numerous books that can help you with structure—one very accessible book is Save the

In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about the three acts

Everything your audience needs to know about your protagonist is laid out in the first act, or

Keep in mind that a screenplay should be about 105 to 120 pages total

In The Wizard of Oz, it’s when Miss Gulch gets permission to euthanize Toto and the

As mentioned earlier, in The Wizard of Oz, the whole second act is in color

Dorothy is introduced to Oz, given the ruby slippers, and given the task of getting the Wicked

The third act of a screenplay is most notable for having the climax of the story

In The Wizard of Oz, act three technically starts while Dorothy is still in Oz, where she’

She thinks all is lost and that she’ll never get home until Glinda the Good Witch

After all her trials and tribulations, Dorothy now clicks her ruby slippers and returns home a young

The black and white scenes at the end of the film show Dorothy as her new self

Take notes and watch the clock—Act II will begin around minute 25-30 and Act III will

The absolute best way to learn how to write screenplays based on a novel is to read

After reading just a few, you’ll be surprised how familiar (and predictable) the structure becomes

The more you read, the more you’ll see how screenwriters altered, shifted, or edited a novel

At the very least, it will help you grow as a writer and understand your story in