October 9th, 2011 / 2:55 pmAlissa Nutting
John Sayles on Screenwriting vs. Fiction Writing
“A script is to a movie as a blueprint is to a building,” he said. “So many of the things that will later be major, visceral aspects of the storytelling — cinematography, music, sound effects, costume, performance, the rhythm of the editing — are only just indicated or assumed, and will be realized by a team of talented collaborators. The fiction writer has to serve all those functions alone, with his prose, selecting information so a handful of notes let readers hear the symphony. A screenwriter creates potential — a novelist has to fulfill it.” –from Up Front
Tags: fiction, John Sayles, screenwriting, writing
Working on a screen adaption of my novel is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It has felt like killing it. When I thought I’d worked over the book so many times and knew it so well, I was shown how much I depended on exposition and narrative control. I have an enormous respect for screenwriters, for telling it in 100 pages, for capturing the essence, for knowing how to throw so much away.
I am having such a hard time writing my fiction short stories! I don’t know how you can add so much detail. I also have had a problem writing in the proper tenses. Writing screenplays are so much easier for me. All I have to focus on is the dialogue and short sentences of descriptions. I have all the respect for you that you write novels.