“What are the chances of my novel getting adapted for screen?”
ASK ME ANYTHING
This is a timely question as this week there’s been some exciting news for me which I am so thrilled to finally be sharing. The TV and film rights for my debut novel, What a Shame have sold in a three-way auction (if you haven’t read the book it has just been published in paperback). It’s been optioned by Severn Productions and for me there was something poetic about working with a Welsh production company. Being a Welsh writer, it very much felt like the material was coming home. It’s probably been one of the biggest pinch-me moments of my life. I’m excited to be developing it into a returnable series, but in truth it feels a little strange to be returning to this project because the material feels so far away from what I’ve been working on this past year.
This particular question has been submitted by quite a few Something to Say readers working on their novels and contemplating if one day it might be made into a TV show or film. I am going to share some information on the process, the toplines of how it all works and the level of expectations you should have. Information is power; it’s one of the biggest thorns in the side of accessibility within the publishing industry. It’s that much easier when you know how: if we understand the way it works and know a little about the process and its stages, we’re more likely to be able to navigate ourselves into that space or towards that goal. So these are the things you should know if you’re thinking about your novel hitting the big screen one day.
(And remember, if you’d like your publishing question answered you can submit it in the comment section below!)
Don’t Write with Screen in Mind
I really don’t think it serves authors to write their book thinking about it as a show and visualising it that way. A book is very different from a screen adaptation and I can always tell when writers have screen adaptation in mind. It effects the writing. And, to put it plainly, more often than not it doesn’t serve the book. It would be my advice that you don’t think about how it might work on screen at the same time you’re plotting and developing characters. Stay true to the story and to the motivations on the page. Not every book is right for screen and if yours is, a development producer will be able to make that leap for themselves.
Just Because You’ve Written the Book Doesn’t Mean You’ll Write the Script
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