Just finished the screenplay version of Ichabod. The first draft, at any rate. It clocked in at 106 pages, and it’s by far the most unique thing I’ve done in a long time. I have no idea if it’s any good or not. With books, I have a lot of experience–not just writing them, but reading them. With screenplays . . . not so much. I have tons of experience watching movies, but I have only read a few screenplays cover to cover. That puts me at a big disadvantage when it comes to making one. Ideally, I should have taken some time to read fifty or so before I started this thing. But I didn’t.
What did I learn in the process?
Well, one thing is that I think my writing will be better because of this. There were times when my dialogue didn’t do a whole lot, and it wasn’t until I pictured two people actually acting out that dialogue that I realized how little it was doing. For some reason, being forced to think of each scene the way I think of a movie scene made things different. It’s as if when I read books, I have different expectations of what can and can’t happen. I’m not saying that from now on I’m going to write my books the way I wrote this screenplay, but . . . I think I’ll approach it differently, is all.
I learned that Ichabod is a mystery. That’s the essence of what it is. Before this, I hadn’t really been sure. Was it fantasy? Literary fiction? Mystery? It’s the latter. The rest is just dressing. So it needs to succeed as a mystery, which I think it does. If/when I do another round of queries for the book, I have a better idea of how I want to spin it. That’s a good thing.
I learned that I enjoy writing screenplays. I would do this again, if the opportunity presented itself. Adapting was a ton of fun, and trying to figure out how to have scenes play out on screen when they really were written to be completely literary . . . that was a kick. There’s one scene, for example, where Ichabod is reading, and it’s important that we know what he’s reading. How to portray that? I didn’t want to just have him narrate out loud or in his head–especially not when the text he’s reading is Beowulf. I finally settled on going split screen (or maybe using a thought bubble) and portraying what he’s reading in an animated side window. Is this a good idea? I have no clue. But I like it.
Anyway–glad to have another thing done. It took two months, but that’s just because I don’t have as much time these days to work on writing as I used to. I get about a half hour each day, if I want to keep my sanity. At least, that’s all I could do on this screenplay. Maybe now that I’ll be back to regular writing, I’ll be able to do it a bit longer. Or maybe it’s that I can’t diet and write a ton at the same time. (Current weight, BTW: 208.4. That’s 17.6 pounds lost, baby!)
That’s all I have time for this evening. I’ll no doubt revisit this again. First drafts are never final drafts, after all. If any of you crazy cats out there would like to read the draft, I have it in an RTF file, if you promise to be very careful with the digital copy. Email or leave a comment. TTFN!