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
THE YEAR OF GOODBYES by Debbie Levy