Several people have mentioned to me that my novel The Marriage of True Minds reads like a play. I consider this a compliment. But in fact, the story started its fictional life years ago as a screenplay.
I wrote the first draft in about three weeks. Four years later, I was still polishing the screenplay. It had done well in a competition, which earned it some mild attention in Hollywood. But I wasn't satisfied with it. I had this idea for a way of telling a story in which the point of view doesn't just change, but evolves, mirroring the evolution of the relationship between the protagonists, which simultaneously mirrors the evolving consciousness of the narrator. I didn't know if I could do it. But I definitely didn't know how to do it as a film. I needed the story-telling range of the novel.
So I began the process of converting TMOTM into a novel. The formatting part was easy, again about three weeks. But the story conversion was far more difficult. As I learned, the novel required more depth and different elements than my simple screenplay. I imagine the process was like reverse engineering a novel to screen adaptation. But starting as a screenplay gave me an important base: a story that (in my mind anyway) worked. I had the beginning, middle and end. I had character and dialogue. Just add imagination.
Four years later, I was lucky enough to have the novel published by Unbridled Books. Now we're thinking of adapting the novel back into a screenplay. Then who knows-- maybe a musical. It's the Circle of Fictional Life.
I am tempted to start my next novel as a screenplay (if I attempt such again). It plays to my strengths (or perhaps weaknesses): humor and dialogue. But it also gives me what I think of as good bones for the story, and a sense that there is an end in sight. So what if it's years away. What else am I going to do? Go to the movies?