How Screenwriting Helped My Novel
When I first started writing screenplays, I was pretty sure I was going to Hollywood. It took me three scripts and a near miss with selling one of them to finally accept that perhaps it wasn’t going to happen. But I don’t regret one single, delusional minute of those years. What I learned from all the hours writing and editing my scripts are skills I use in my work as a journalist and also with writing my novel. The first skill is brevity. The last thing a busy producer wants is to wade through your adjectives. Another skill is dialogue. And, of course, plot. Screenplays are all dialogue, with bursts of action. Bad dialogue kills you right away, and all the clever dialogue in the world can not save a plot that drags.
So, if you are a novelist who thinks you might want to sit out February’s Writing Show on the 28th, please reconsider. Filmmakers have a lot to teach you. The Richmond International Film Festival is kindly loaning JRW a diverse selection of screenwriters, directors and producers. We will deconstruct what makes a good plot, and examine the craft of dialogue. We will hear stories of how people made their way through one of the toughest businesses on the planet. Brent Martz, producer of “Not Today,” a feature film shot in India about human trafficking, says of his experience, “Every day, I wanted to quit.” And now his film is opening in select theaters in April
For more information, including a schedule, see themixshorts.com.