Screenwriting : Needing Some Feedback. by Michael Cantrell

Michael Cantrell

Needing Some Feedback.

I already posted this in the authoring lounge, but I want as many eyeballs and opinions as possible. Read on.

Hello, everyone. I'm in need of a little assistance. I just need a few folks to take a look at a sample of the novel I'm writing and give me some feedback on it. I'm trying to decide if this story should continue being a novel or if it should be a screenplay.

Screenplay writing comes more naturally to me it seems, but there aren't a lot of opportunities, so I decided to try my hand at novel prose. To be honest, I'm finding it a bit difficult. However, I'm my own worst critic, so I wanted to get the opinion of others.

You don't have to read the full 13 pages of the sample. This is a very, VERY rough first draft. The first page or two needs to be completely rewritten into traditional novel format, as I was attempting to try something different, but ended up hating it. The rest of the sample is in traditional novel format.

Do I have the chops to do novel prose, or should I stick with screenwriting?

If you'd be interested in helping me out with some feedback, add me to your network and send me a PM and I'll Copy/Paste the sample or send it as a file or something.

Eric Christopherson

Michael, I don't believe you're going to know whether you have the chops unless you actually write a complete novel and maybe not even then. Plus you'll know a lot more about whether you wish to continue with novels having written one. (I say this having written novels.)

Joleene Moody

I'm with Eric. You don't know until you keep going.

Also, how would someone reading your pages help you determine whether or not you should write a screenplay instead? I think only you know that. What if you tried to execute a few scenes of the same story on your own in screenplay format? Perhaps do that, and decide which one feels better. Then choose one and KEEP GOING.

I'm a published author, but all of my books are nonfiction. I've tried my hand at fiction, and I could never quite wrap myself around it. I think it's because I always knew I wanted to write for the screen. I just enjoy it so much more.

Michael Cantrell

Joleene Moody Well, the thing is, I really love the idea of doing both and I have written both. The screenwriting definitely feels more natural to me, but I also love being able to get inside my characters' heads and dig deep into who they are, which obviously is one of the benefits novels have over film.

The main reason I'm hesitant to do a screenplay is because I know that the chances are pretty minuscule that I'll actually get to see my script turned into a movie. Most folks will never read my story or know it exists. Even if I don't sell a million copies of my book, I know for a fact I'll sell a few. The finished product will be consumed by it's audience, and that seems very satisfying to me.

The reason I'm asking for feedback is because I'm unsure of whether or not I can write decent enough prose for a novel. To me it seems okay, but then again, I'm the writer. I basically just want eyes on it to help me sort through whether this something I should continue to pursue and develop. If the feedback seems largely negative, that indicates to me that my creative talents might be better served elsewhere.

Michael Cantrell

Eric Christopherson Which do you prefer? Novels or screenwriting?

Eric Christopherson

Michael it depends on the story which medium I prefer. Some story ideas ought to be novels and some screenplays. (I enjoy both forms equally, and I'm not even sure which I'm best at.) Writing a novel though is roughly the equivalent of writing 8 screenplays based on total words. So it's a huge undertaking. There are some excellent how-to books for novel writing. PM me and I'll recommend a few, if interested. That's how I began learning to write novels, by reading how to write novels. On the other hand, we all learn differently. Some people just write instead, or join writers' groups, or take classes, etc.

Tony McFadden

I've written 13 novels and 6 screenplays. I started working on screenplays after the 10th novel. I encourage you to do both. They exercise different parts of your brain, but they are complementary parts.

The novels taught me structure -- the transition from act 1 to act 2, the importance of the midpoint, how everything in act 3 needs to be introduced in act 1.

The screenplays forced my writing to be more concise -- every unnecessary word stripped out. As a result my novels have become tighter, averaging 90k words per before to 70k words after.

Michael Cantrell

Tony McFadden I do eventually want to do both, but I feel I need to pick a road and travel down it for a bit and see where it takes me, but I'm a very indecisive person at the moment and it's driving me batty. Which do you prefer? Screenplays or novels? Or do you truly enjoy writing both?

Tony McFadden

Merry Christmas, Michael. I truly enjoy both.

I am, right now, alternating between writing the first draft of novel number something (14 or 15) and adapting a screenplay to a TV series. (BTW, taking a 95 minute movie and building from it twenty 30-minute episodes is a challenge I've never had before.)

When the story is stuck on the novel I flip back to the TV adaptation. And when I'm struggling to figure out how a specific episode arc should play out, I pop back to the novel.

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