Screenplay to Novel

Hi all….

The trend these days in the world of film is to make movies based on books.  A Producer told me one of the criteria Distributors are looking for is, “Is it based on a book?”  Another is, “Is it a true story?”  There are others but these two appear to be the most influential if a studio is going to make a movie or if a Distributor is going to distribute a film.

Another trend that is gaining ground is a writer taking his Script and sort of reverse engineering it into a novel.

While writing my screenplay GIDEON I have often thought of turning it into a book.  However, time passed and I got involved in writing other scripts and other projects, and never got the bug to do so.  My Manager, Alan Yott, throughout the years continued to tweak my ear, encouraging me to turn Gideon into a novel.  And thank GOD he did.

Recently, I think I finally got bit by the book bug because much to Alan’s delight I have started the creative process of turning the Gideon Screenplay into Gideon the Book.  Writing a novel is a completely different animal than writing a script.  So much so, that they don’t even sell a software that will help you take your script and turn it into a novel.  When I asked some writing distributors why that is, he said “Those two writing styles are not compatible.”

(Note to self….find someone who can write software that can turn a script to a novel and make a ton of money.)

I must say it is arduous, and  an exhausting process, even though the story has been written and is laid out before me like a yellow brick road.   I am finding however, that it is opening the story up in a way I had never imagined.  The fact that I can write down the thoughts, memories, and motives of the people in the story whom I feel like I know so well has taken this exercise to another level for me.  And has really gotten my writing and humor juices flowing.

I am currently in the First Draft Stage of the book, but I would like to share a short excerpt from it as a sample of how it may indeed read.  This scene is taken from Chapter 3 entitled “Pushin’ Buttons” and takes place in the Back Wash Motel where Gideon is eventually discovered.  The owners of the motel are introduced in this excerpt.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have writing it.  Hopefully the fun I am having translates to you the reader.

Here it is…GIDEON the BOOK excerpt….Chapter 3

Inside the closet, smoking a cigar is Ed Hanson.  He is a flush faced, gruff looking man in his sixties.  If his personality were sandpaper it would be forty-grit.

His cigar stub hangs off his lip like an accessory.  A stained white tank top compliments his ensemble.   Ed scrounges through the hodgepodge of items stuffed to the ceiling, and crammed onto the shelves.

Smoke in the room practically chokes out the light from a single bulb hanging from a wire strand.  The man breathes in the smoke as easily as a fish breathes in water.

Ed owns the motel with his wife, Martha.

“Jenny!” Ed calls out again.  “Swear sometimes that woman…”  Ed goes into a coughing fit and stumbles out of the closet.  He takes out a handkerchief, and hacks into it.  There’s a bit of blood in his spit.

Ed recovers, then turns and kicks stuff back into the closet.  As he tries to shut the door, junk just keeps tumbling out.

“Why you calling Jenny?”  An irritated voice from behind Ed interrupts his early morning exercise in futility.

Ed quickly stuffs the hanky back in his pocket.

Martha Hanson, Ed’s beloved has come in.  She is the smile motel customers are greeted with.

“The mop.”  Ed grumbles.  “Gotta clean seven.  Mud everywhere.”  Ed stops to take a draw on his cigar.  “Knew them folks were pigs with all them kids.”

Martha goes past Ed to get to her work behind the “Welcome Desk”. 

“Jenny don’t come in ‘til seven-thirty on Fridays,” Martha informs him as she begins sorting through the receipts.  Then she adds, “Those pigs with kids were in two.  Left spotless.  Sweet woman even offered to wash the towels and sheets.” 

 Ed has gone over to the coffee pot to pour himself a cup of Martha’s finest.  “Hmmph” Ed growls, not buying it.

Now no one knew Ed better than Martha.  And no one knew Martha better than Ed.  After all, they’d been married longer than Lipton made tea.  And no day was complete without a bit of verbal pecking between these forever lovebirds.

“Probably left the mop in eight where you was fixin’ the sink.”  Then Martha, well practiced in the art of pushing Ed’s buttons, fires her next question with all the deft of a professional attorney fully knowing she is stoking an already roaring fire. 

Before Ed can even take a sip of his caffeine juice, Martha puts on her best innocent expression like powdering her face to go to church.   

“Get the sink fixed?” Martha asks sweetly.

To tell the truth, Ed is a good handy man, and you have to be, especially when you own a motel out in the middle of nowhere.  Getting a service guy of any kind out here is a chore in itself.  So Ed has done an admirable job of keeping the place intact with duct tape and number 10D size nails. 

But a leaking pipe can challenge the best of handy men, and Ed has been wrestling with this particular pipe for weeks.  Seems like every time he’s got the leak plugged it springs up somewhere else.  So when Martha dares to ask did he ‘get it fixed?’  Well, Ed could have boiled that coffee in the pot without a stove.

Ed slams the cup down, throws on a hat, and opens the front door.  A little bell attached to the top of the door frame rings when the door hits it.

Ed doesn’t stop to look back, just barks, “Jenny gets here, keep eight sopped ‘til I get back.  Other rooms probably muddy too.”

Ed trudges out through a stale puff of smoke.  As he pounds away, Martha can still here the grumbling, “Thing I hate more’n rain.  Mud.”

Button pushed.