Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


Learning a New Genre

During my summer break from the "One Potato...Ten" blog, my writing has focused on something new for me--screenwriting--and I love it! I'm drawing near the end of an enrichment semester in Film Adaptation/Screenwriting through the Spalding University MFA program. My faculty mentor is screenwriter/ playwright Charlie Schulman, and I have to say I've learned more in this semester than any other. I started from scratch (no experience whatsoever), and I feel as if I now have a decent first draft of a film adaptation of my middle grade novel, ROAD TO TATER Hill. I still have time for another revision before the semester is up. I have a feeling I'll be doing a lot of slashing.

Here are a few tips I learned:
1. Think visually.
2. Avoid description and introspection.
3. Dialogue is secondary.
4. Show, don't tell.
5. Less is better.
6. Keep a metronome beating in my head as I write.
7. Be open to adding some new scenes that help tell the story more visually.
8. Be open to removing some scenes from the book that won't work in a film.

I did find some time for reading and started with some screenplays, three by Horton Foote: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL, and TENDER MERCIES.

Books I highly recommend are:

LEAVING GEE'S BEND by Irene Latham

THE GARDENER by our own Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen

EYES ON THE GOAL by our own John Coy

FAITHFUL by Janet Fox

COMFORT by Joyce Moyer Hostetter



Christy said...

I love that you can write your own screenplay. Thanks for the list of screenwriting tips and more titles to add to my reading list.

Edie said...

Thanks, Christy! I just went back and added a couple more tips that came to mind. It's nice to be able to edit the post.

David LaRochelle said...

Bravo to you, Edie, for tackling a new genre. And what a great way to extend the reach of your book. Many of your screenwriting tips could be applied to good writing in general. Several of them reminded me of things I heard Sid Fleischman say, who was a very successful screenwriter before he began writing for young people.

Stephanie said...

I would definitely like to try that at some point:)

Lauren said...

What a rich and productive summer you had Edie! Thanks for the writing tips. I agree with David-- these same tips ring true for all writing. And your book recommendations will be added to my reading list!

Edie said...

Thanks, David, Stephanie, and Lauren! Yes, the more I look at these tips, the more I realize I can apply these to all my writing. I've just been told I need to cut 30 pages from my latest draft of the screenplay, so back to work...

Mark said...

Great to get an update from you, Edie. Sounds like you had a fun and productive summer. Thanks for the writing and reading tips, and good luck on your script revision(s)!!