I’m sure I am not the first writer to face this dilemma; Is it a screenplay? Is it a Novel? Can it be both?
For the most part, I tend to let an idea percolate for about a year before I write anything. By that time, it has usually become apparent what format the story will take, script, novel, or, as occasionally happens, I adapt a short script from a short work of prose.
The first script I ever wrote, and blessings on the heads of the friends whom read it in all its over-written glory, was a vampiric horror script, ARKYNE. It was a labour of love, still is, and in tandem, I was also writing a very rough draft of the novel. Having received some encouraging feedback on the script, however, I all but abandoned the novel version, filing it, a weeping half-developed project, into the back of my brain.
This year, I gave the script another pass, and completed the third draft, but during the process, I retained a nagging doubt that I really should be paying attention to that other life of the story, the novel version. I am a member of a screenwriters group, and having wrecked their rather clever heads by presenting draft three of the script for feedback, I found myself answering their questions about plot and character motivation that, although I knew the detailed answers to, were not, on reflection, very clear in the script.
The experience cemented my unease; I was putting the cart before the horse on this one… I, as the creator of the story, had enough backstory and character arcs here to create a prequel and a sequel to the present story. I was trying, and failing, to contain an epic saga into the margins and limited structure of a script format.
I’m not saying that ARKYNE, the script will not be revisited, or cannot work…I’m still in love enough with the characters to wish them a larger than life materialization of flesh and bone…and blood…and the process of paring down the story to the sparseness required for visual storytelling will surely be of great benefit to me at the self-editing stage. For now though, I will work on the novel, THE VAMPIRE OF ARKYNE, and let fate take care of the rest.
The Vampire of Arkyne…coming soon…
While here entombed beneath his namesake, the dark-winged harvester forever is bound, a lineage ad libitum, the dark days endeth…
Caroline Farrell.2011. All Rights Reserved.
Photograph is the copyright of Errol Farrell. 2011