People & Inspiration

The Six Fix: Steps to Shift from Book Writing to Scriptwriting, According to Jennifer Niven

The Six Fix: Steps to Shift from Book Writing to Scriptwriting, According to Jennifer Niven

Movies inspired by popular books are becoming a trend nowadays, and as more and more books are getting published, the more we can surely expect stories from our favorite fiction authors come to life.

Needless to say, your story being translated to the big screen is such a big feat.

For All the Bright Places author Jennifer Niven, it’s a similar yet different story at the same time. From her screenwriting background, it was when she had this conversation with her mom (who’s also an author; it runs in the blood you see) that she decided to sit down and write a book. [related: The Six Fix: Lessons Adults Can Learn from Children's Books]



“I told my mom that I want to write this certain story for film but she told me, ‘you could (write it as a movie), but it’s better if you write the book first,” Jennifer shares. And upon her attempt, she realized she truly enjoyed it, after all. “I like the freedom of writing the book and I love it when you really immerse yourself in that world. Then you come out with it and show it when you’re ready.” And fast-forward to present, her book was a success; now a movie is in the works. [related: In Focus: What's In A Book Design?]



Dreaming of the same fate as she has now? Be guided by these tips which Jennifer has learned throughout her whole book-turned-movie-writing stage:


1. Get a sense of what has and not has to be there. “You have to go through, first and foremost, what has to be there and what not has to be there. Just so everything counts on the screen, and there can’t be too many scenes.”


2. Turn a realistic tone. “The dialogue in the book is different from the dialogue in the film. Luckily, because I have my training in screenwriting, I think my dialgue is pretty realistic so it translated very well.”


3. Create your playlist to turn your mood on. “One thing that I did with the script that helped me is listen to playlist songs that I have, songs that made me think of an emotional moment, whether it’s happy or surprising or sad.”


4. Master the art of collaborating. “With script, you have to adjust to the collaboration all throughout. You may not be ready to collaborate but you need to. I find it wonderful to work with the director and the producers and having that kind of creative expression. You’re all sharing that one project and there’s a wonderful energy to that.”


5. Figure out what’s important. “I wanted to find out what things and what lines were important to the readers; it helps in cutting things out. Like I did a Twitter thing and asked my readers what scenes they want to include. The responses were very useful.”


6. Think of your audience. “At the end of the day, I just want you (readers) to be happy.”



ALSO READ: The Six Fix: Bestselling Author Victoria Aveyard's Tips on Making It As A Writer


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