Sunday, October 28, 2018

Adapting Your Novel to a Screenplay

Hollywood loves Adaptations (See? I even capitalized the “A”.)

The number of Academy Award Winning movies that were once novels, memoirs, comic books, stage plays, etc. is staggering.

A studio executive in the movie industry is more likely to read an adaptation from a successful book than a screenplay with no history of fans and nothing to speak for it.
Even if your book isn't a NY Times Bestseller, it might translate well to screen.
Have you ever thought this?
Me too. 

A few years ago, I attended a Sisters In Crime event at Universal Studios Hollywood that brought together a group of Hollywood’s Who's Who to talk to a select group of crime writers about turning a book into a movie. It was highly inspirational, to say the least. I got to talk to the woman who wrote Batman Forever, the show runner (big shot writer) of Bones, the woman who negotiated Gone Girl for Gillian Flynn, Shari Smiley, and many other big wigs. I came home pumped and ready to find a screenwriter for my novel.
Cut to a year later and I still hadn't found someone to write the screenplay, but I was wondering about writing a script. I attended another conference, this one in my home state of Washington and it was there I met my book to film agent and shortly after that, was offered an option for my 3-book series. Luck had something to do with it, being at the right place at the right time, then having an agent with connections and vision and tenacity had something to do with it too, although the book is high concept.
Before I’d signed the option contract, which is a very thick bundling of legal papers talking about subsequent film deals, merchandising, payment, option length, consequences if the movie doesn’t get made, legal rights etc I was asked by my agent to write the screenplay.
And, because I didn’t want to tell this amazing angel from my dreams that I couldn’t write a screenplay, I started reading everything I could find about how to do such a thing. I read Save the Cat three times, I read the Screenwriters’ Bible twice, I read how to Adapt a Novel to Screen, and anything that was written online that suggested it was possible for a verbose novelist to reduce their 100,000-word book to a mere 100 pages of mostly white space. My agent reassured me that she just wanted to have a spec script in hand. It looked better than having a book in hand with no script.

It took 3 months to polish the script to a blinding shine, but I wrote the thing. I went through a lot of recipe cards. There were loads of rewrites, scenes were dropped or rewritten or combined until everyone thought my screenplay of 102 pages sounded marketable. The company who optioned the 3-book series, 5 x 5 Productions, liked the script and set about showing it around Hollywood to draw other producers in to the fold.

Films take a really long time to get made. Many optioned books, or screenplays never see the camera lens and although I know this, I am hopeful mine will. To help the project, I’ve begun looking for investors, actors, awards for the script. At this point, I'm trying to get a TV actor interested in the project. The production company is in pre-production for another book to film project and mine is next. They don’t object to me dabbling in producer-type activities and I’ve been looking for investors to help with the money needed. That’s what I’m working on in my spare time between writing books.
 And as far as awards are concerned, The Dream Jumper’s Promise screenplay won The Los Angeles Film Awards Best First Screenplay, semi-finaled in the Burbank International Film Festival Screenwriting Competition and won Best Feature Screenplay in the Royal Wolf Awards. There were other smaller wins, but these were the biggies, the ones I’m most proud of.

I wrote another script from a Christmas Romance novel (these are wildly popular!) and then wrote a TV one-hour pilot, then wrote the book from the pilot, something I don’t recommend. I found it hard to go back to write a big ole book after finishing the screenplay, but that could be just me. Then I wrote another script called Christmas in Crystal Creek about a country music singer stranded in Maine over Christmas. I wrote the novella to that one simultaneously with the script.
Writing both at the same time was confusing. It isn’t hard to confuse me.

These days, I speak on the subject of adapting your novel to a screenplay at writer conferences and promote the idea that novelists make fantastic screenwriters, especially of their own work. No one knows the story like you. You already know how to write. Boiling your story down to 45 key scenes that are visually pleasing to carry the story line to a satisfying end is all you have to do. Here's how to start:

Read Save the Cat.
Isolate those 45 scenes in your book that support the story and would translate visually. 
Buy screenwriting software like Final Draft and watch the tutorial.
Buy The Screenwriters Bible by Dave Trottier.
Start writing it scene by scene. 
Only write what the movie audience can see.
Enter scenes late, leave early.
Make all dialogue necessary to the story.
Polish it.
Send it out to a pro for "Coverage"
Register it with WGA
Join Screenwriter Support Groups like Blue Cat, ISA and local chapters of screenwriters.
Upload your screenplay to Film Freeway and enter contests!

Good luck everyone and be sure to keep in touch on Facebook at my private beach where everyone looks great in their bathing suit!

KIM HORNSBY is an Amazon Bestselling Author best known for The Dream Jumper Series, which is optioned for film, with over 400 reviews on Amazon at 4.5 stars.
Sign up for her newsletter to keep posted on news and freebies and contests or follow her on Amazon.


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Favorite Fall Pizza with Squash and Bacon!

Do you love comfort food as the weather gets cooler here in the Northern Hemisphere? Me too. And comfort food means carbs, a veggies, cheese and something I can eat with my hands. 


Squash, Cheese & Bacon Pizza!


1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 T honey
1 T olive oil
1/4 T salt

In a large bowl, combine water, yeast and honey. Mix with a spoon, then let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add in the flour and olive oil stirring with a spoon until the dough comes together but is still sticky. Using your hands, on a floured surface, form the dough into a ball and work the additional 1/2 cup flour into the dough if needed. All of the mixing and kneading can also be done in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Next, rub the same bowl with olive oil, then place the dough inside, turning to coat. Cover with a towel and place in a warm place to rise for about 1 1/2 hours.


1/3 cup olive oil
4 cups cubed squash or pumpkin
1 T honey
2 small sweet onions sliced thinly
1/4 tsp honey
1 T butter
1 cup apple cider
1/2 tsp cumin
1 small apple
salt and pepper
6 oz sharp cheddar
2-3 oz blue cheese
6 slices cooked bacon
1 large bunch fresh sage
pumpkin seeds if desired

About 40 minutes before the dough is done rising, start assembling the pizza. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.* In a small bowl whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil,  cinnamon, honey and a pinch of salt and pepper. 
Spread the veggies out in a single layer on one or two baking sheets. 
Drizzle  2 T olive oil mixture over the veggies and toss well to coat. 
Roast until vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes, stirring the veggies halfway through. Remove and set aside.
While the veggies roast, caramelize the onions. Heat a large skillet with high sides over medium  heat.Cook onions in butter for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened.
Slowly add the cider, let it cook into the onions, add more and let it cook. Do this until 1 cup of cider is gone or the onions are caramelized to your liking and the cider has evaporated.
In a bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil,  cumin and a good pinch of salt + pepper. Once the pizza dough is ready, lightly flour a counter.
Use your hands or a rolling pin to roll the dough out until you have a flattened disk. Place the pizzas on a greased baking sheet and then use your hands to gently tug, pull and push the pizza dough into your desired shape. Spread the olive oil mixture over the dough.
Add the caramelized onions and half the roasted butternut squash. Add the cheddar cheese and then the sliced apples and remaining butternut. Sprinkle with the blue cheese, sage and bacon.
Bake the pizza for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is all melty and gooey.
KIM HORNSBY is an Amazon Bestselling Author best known for The Dream Jumper Series, which is optioned for film, with over 400 reviews on Amazon at 4.5 stars.
Sign up for her newsletter to keep posted on news and freebies and contests or follow her on Amazon.