From Screenplay to Book Adaptations

Just about everyone is familiar with the coined phrase ‘from book to screen;‘ it’s platered in every Box Office marque; it’s your Blockbuster VOD, and the endless fairytale remakes about how kindness will get you a second chance and a prince.

What does it take to GREENLIGHT A PROJECT?

Kindness is certainly recompensed by source and its merits are compounded through true egolessness, (UTOPIA/HYBRID) but it won’t get your script greenlighted for a big studio production unless they find you as you reach out to them.  “They” include actors, production companies, writers, investors, and fans you follow and engage with who may notice the buzz around a book or a film on social media outlets and search.

Not that reaching out to any production company’s development contacts available through third party networks, won’t reveal some surprises. In any case, it is crucial and essential to have your film package ready for presenting and pitching, if you’re serious about filmmaking.

Opportunity calls at any turn, but you must have set your compass and be pitch-ready.

What is The Screenplay to Book Writing Process?

Being an authopreneur-filmmaker will allow you to present your story in different angles and formats attracting audiences in diverse universes such as an e-book in digital media form or in on-demand print on Amazon.  Once you’ve attracted the right influencers in a given niche, your portal opens to opportunity and you are then in possession of the key of karma that turns your course home.

If you think about it, it makes sense to publish your content in more ways than one, if possible.  Not only will you have the opportunity to see which medium works best for that specific content, but you’ll also see format generates more engagement with its audience, but you may also draw enough attention to boost sales.

Here are the guidelines for adapting a screenplay into a book:


  • Read the screenplay from beginning to end without taking notes.
  • Read the screenplay again and write a one paragraph summary.  Briefly explain the onset, the main plot, the climactic moment, and the end of the story.
  • List the characters in order of appearance and describe them physically and psychologically.
  • List the settings in order of appearance- list the mood attached to each setting.
  • Describe the inciting incident. Use the 5 W’s.
  • List the story problems in order of appearance.
  • What does the protagonist want, what are the obstacles he/she must overcome, who are its enemies and allies?


Divide the plot into acts:

Every story Act is a mini-story within the story and ends in a turning point for the main character’s quest. The entire arc is how the plot moves along with the characters’ arcs.

  1. Act 1– Write a step by step outline of the First Act‘s plot.  Make sure it has a beginning middle and end.  Every act is a mini-story within the big story and should move the story plot on to the next step bringing it closer or taking it farther away from its goal. Highlight the Inciting Incident and Turning point 1
  2. Act 2- Write a step by step outline of the Second Act. The Second Act is the longest.  It can contain two turning points two and three, and it also contains the midpoint of the story.
  3.  The end of the second act leads to the climactic moment during the Third Act which contains the last turning point in the story,  the falling action is when everything falls into place in a sensible way, not out of the blue, just because it is convenient for the story.
  4. At the end of the second act and the beginning of the Third Act, there is a climactic moment or point that sets the falling action into motion and ends in the resolution. 
  5. Now that you have analyzed and followed the screenplays structure, the characters, the plot, it is your job as a writer to decide whether you want to follow these same outline or create a new one.  In some cases writers divert from the original format due to the ability of resources the storyline gives you to imagine its occurrence happening in a different sequence, more in people’s heads, using more lines of dialogue and dream sequences.
  6. Special effects can be used in books sparingly if no one is taking into account the cost of producing the story as a film.  Therefore, writers can let their imagination run free in a book.

Finally, sit and write the novel.  Choose your voice and how much descriptive imagery you want to use.  It will increase the size of your book. Look for metaphors for your keywords, and check that your reading level is not higher than 10th grade for adults, 7th grade for middle school, 4th grade for intermediate, and 2nd grade for primary grades.  Rewrite as needed. Have someone else proofread it and make the corrections.  Rewrite as needed can’t be stressed enough.

Book Publishing: Submission or Self-Publishing

Your novel is ready for publication.  Write a pitch that includes comparisons and launch it into the publishing universe whether you land a deal or go the self-publishing route as an authopreneur.  Consult with an editor, someone skilled in the art and technique of writing. Look for editors that charge a reasonable fee for giving you a few pointers that they see could make the book better.

If you would like to learn more about adapting literary productions, the writing process,  and reading levels contact the author at

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