How to adapt a novel ?

Comment adapter un roman ?

Novel adapted to the cinema: Introduction to adaptation

Understand how to adapt : a novel, a comic, a new…

Hello all, I have to remind you that during the holidays the articles will appear every two weeks ;o) Their publication will resume its normal course as soon as September. This week, I want to talk to you about a topic that interests you a lot and which I have not yet answered, namely: How to adapt a novel, a video game, a theatre play or a bd to make it a scenario.

I’m not going back on the fact that it is necessary that you have the rights to the story you want to adapt before you start writing. Otherwise, you run the risk of working for nothing. Here is the link to the article in which I speak of rights of adaptation.

A last reminder: I know that some of you will not click on the link. This is THE advice to follow: this is a producer to put an option (pay the fee) to the author of the piece or the novel you want to adapt and not to you to pay this sum.

I know that you are apprentice writers and that your goal is to get a producer with a scenario that you have adapted but it is taking several risks:

– that the producer does not want to pay the rights of adaptation

– that the author or his successors in title do not want adaptation

– that rights are too high

The novel was adapted for the cinema: the psychology

As a general rule, when you want to adapt a story you have read or that you have written under the form of a novel, it is because it is to your liking. You liked the plot, the theme, the characters, their way of thinking, …in short, everything that makes that you have decided to adapt it.

Besides this last point, the psychological aspect of the characters and the way they function, that is to say, the choices they make, you cause problems. Indeed, it is quite difficult for you to transcribe what is that fact that the characters are what they are. The only way that you have found, most of the time, it is to put a voice-off, that is to say, to allow the viewer to hear the thoughts of your hero.

This is not a bad process itself, but it is an easy solution, that most is, a solution a little heavy ! The voice-over has the effect of a good understanding of what makes your character, it is true, but mainly the tendency to slow down the action ! And the viewer came to it, that the film advance. It is there to show him a story and not to be told why such and such character did this or that !

In addition to this, such as you confortez in the distillation information with the voice off, you have the impression to be clear, you fall into the trap of wanting to put it everywhere and at any end of the field.

Adaptation: the trick !

Starting today, I will free you from all this by providing you with the ultimate solution that you should use ;o) The best way to succeed in understanding what a character is and by the same occasion toremove the voice over, it is time to show what he is doing ! Stop telling what the characters, show ! In this way, you’ll definitely start to write a screenplay because you’ll be in the action.

You pass the word to the image !

You just pass in the : “He says that “” he does It ! ”

Your story will be revitalized. Don’t forget that your heroes or your characters are going to have to act and it is in the consistency of their actions that they will define, whether you will set.

Let’s be clear, you can’t do this work : moving from word to image, word to the action if you do not know your characters. This is why you need to work and get to know your characters and define their profile via a character sheet. I refer you, via such links, to articles that deal with this topic ;o)

Adapting a book, yes, but with what to begin ?

First of all, it is necessary that you make a plan or rather that you extrairiez the structure of the story. Basically, you need to identify the key steps, and then for each key moment, you must identify the important characters. But also set the quest, the goal of your or heroes. You’ll like this, already have a general idea of the story and what is important.

The error should not commit when it starts in an adaptation, it is to want to adapt anything and everything that is in the novel, the novel or the comic. Adapt does not mean to do a copy/ paste of the story and keep everything and then just change the presentation for this looks like a scenario, Not ! Adapt it is appropriating the story, the characters and the elements that make the flavor. It is to propose a new form, your vision if you prefer. By doing this you will be able to use all the power that provides the adaptation, but it is also the difficulty. In addition, a novel is often very long. It is therefore necessary that you know where and what to condense in order for the scenario to make the final a maximum of 120 pages of continuity conversed.

I come back quickly on what I said a little earlier, when I advised to extract the structure and the important elements of the story…Your work as a screenwriter it is best to use the ” material “ that the author of the novel has given you and then use it to “improve” the passage from the novel to the scenario. This means, once again, that you can remove or add items so that everything is more fluid. You don’t have to be invented because the author has already done.

ATTENTION : All the novels, all the parts or the comics, have different levels of difficulty ! Before you throw in the adaptation, ask yourself the question of whether it is a carrier and possible.

Let me explain quickly. Sometimes the universe or the narrative makes it hardly possible or feasible, technically, fiscally and structurally, adaptation. Don’t start in an attempt to adapt too hard or you might crash and be frustrated.

That’s it for this first part devoted to the novel was adapted for the cinema. I hope that you enjoyed it.

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