5 Tips for Adapting a Book into a Screenplay


Determine the Narrative Arc

Understandably, the narrative arc is one of the most fundamental parts of the book. As a matter of fact, it is the most memorable part that many people will relate with in the book. So this should be primary focus whenever you’re beginning to adapt a book into a script. This is something that you have to find and lift from the book in one piece by interpreting accurately into audio and visual descriptions. Determining the narrative arc of the book is crucial to its book to screen adaptation. Our book to screen services can help with this and the finer details of planning your adaptation.

 Avoid  voice overs

You’ll notice in this industry that most adaptations tend to rely on voice over. This could be as a result of lacking a way of externalizing the essence of the book they are adapting. Of course it makes sense for a voice over to allure you as a script writer. The truth however is that this is a crutch which can negate the authenticity and essence of the book when adapted into a screenplay. You should always aim to create a movie that can stand on its own and not necessarily a cinematic equivalent of a book-on-tape. Over reliance on voice over when adapting a book into film makes it feel like the screenplay is written.

Cut Unnecessary Scenes

This is an aspect which requires great skills and attention to details. It is something that has to happen in layers. Furthermore, it requires a brutal mindset to cut it judiciously. First, you must identify the theme as well as the outer motivation of the protagonist. Well, if you realize that the subplots do not necessarily support them don’t be afraid of cutting them along with any character you deem distracting. In other words, if the plot adds little or no value, cut it!

Omit Character’s Inner Thoughts

Oftentimes in books and novels, the lead characters tend to suffer and struggle  in their thoughts. The author explains how they are feeling and what they are thinking. That won’t work in the film adaptation. Instead, all thoughts, beliefs, and feelings must be shown in dialogue and action — what they say and what they do.

Seeing Over Hearing – Show, Don’t Tell

Films are about displaying everything on the sleeve. So the telling should be relatively minor. And that is the difference between watching the film version and reading the book. The essence here is to ensure that the visual information is concise but at the same time thrilling.