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Learning how to turn a novel into a screenplay requires understanding some ‘Do’s and Don’ts’. Often times, novel writers and screenwriters alike opt to change the class of literary composition because of various reasons of their own. Let us face it, writing a screenplay and having it converted into a movie is far more paying than writing a novel and getting it published. Therefore, aspiring writers, brimming with confidence and eyes fixed on the film industry, will go all out and master how to turn a novel into a screenplay.

Deciding early on whether your story will be written in the first or the third person will greatly influence your story. Writing in the third person as opposed to first person will give you more control over your story, as the viewpoint will be from many different characters and not just one character, as in the case of the first person.

Delving into the background of the victim, the detective was able to determine that he had dealing with organized crime. This led to the construction business and politics in Atlantic City. The detective soon found that government agencies were interested in the victim’s activities. Organized crime wasn’t interested in who shot the victim but they wanted the investigation stopped.

Because you have an outline, your blueprint for your novel, you know from the beginning how the remarried empress ends. Sometimes it helps to write the last chapter first — it focuses you on where your novel is heading. Of course, sometimes things change as you progress and you may have to revise your final chapter. But you have to edit and rewrite the entire book anyway.

Do the Twist. In film scripts it’s called a turning point. In my system it’s called a surprise. Whatever you call it, it’s a major, shocking story development that throws a whole new light on your lead’s situation and makes matters worse in terms of her reaching her goal. A surprise can be a discovery your lead makes; an action by another character that affects your lead; revelation of new information that is truly bad news for your lead; or an event that has a negative impact on your lead’s situation. The surprise should raise the stakes for your lead and thereby make your readers sit up and take notice.

Another way that will cost you a little is to order a course from someone who is already a successful writer. I raved from Thanksgiving till Christmas about Rob Parnell’s writing course until my husband finally took the hint and “surprised” me with a copy of it for Christmas. He told me it didn’t cost much more than taking me out to dinner so I guess he was happy about it.

With a plot, the emphasis is on events and the protagonist comes through relatively unchanged. However, there is a struggle between the protagonist and the obstacles he must overcome. The point of the whole novel is whether or not the protagonist’s objective will succeed. Once that point of recognition is revealed, the novel is near its end.