In this enlightening post, Karyn Lawrence has kindly agreed to share her knowledge of screenwriting and how it has shaped her as an author.
Transitioning from fifteen years of screenwriting into novel writing was quite an experience. Screenwriting has both its advantages and disadvantages. First, advantages:
You learn to make every sentence count, both dialogue and description. The standard running length of a feature movie is 100 minutes, and one page of screenplay equals one minute of screen time. (Dialogue eats pages, but action sequences don’t and it typically balances out in the end.)
So I tend to start every scene at the last possible moment and get out of it as quickly as I can. I’m not going to waste a precious half page on small talk in a script, and not in my novel, either. I’m efficient, and I take it as a huge compliment if a reviewer mentions that the book was “fast paced.”
It’s unlikely I will overdo it with internal dialogue since I’m unfamiliar writing it. (That’s not something that can be seen on screen and doesn’t exist in professional screenplays.)
I do not have characters talk in monologues, because real people don’t do that. In screenwriting, a character’s dialogue block should never be more than 4 lines deep. That’s lines on the page, not sentences, and the dialogue blocks are indented so it’s even less than you think. It keeps the conversation/argument tight and moving between characters.
Structure is king in screenwriting, so I feel like I have a decent handle on Three Act Structure, the Hero’s Journey, and GOS. (Goals, Obstacles, Stakes)
There are plenty of unintended bad habits screenwriting brings to the table. I still am working to improve descriptions, especially character description. In a script, when you introduce a character you only give generic details such as: “KARA, 30s and magazine pretty, leans against a desk.” That’s all you get, so casting can send it out to a variety of actresses. I tend to describe locations all at once, because the camera lens sees it all, but in a novel it’s better if the reader’s eye can wander through and pick out details along the way.
I also forget about everything outside of sight and sound. I have to go back in and inject taste, touch, and smell to help make the scenes feel alive. When I write a script, I imagine it on a screen. Sometimes as I’m writing my novels, I slip out of the moment and into a theater, watching it play out.
Conquering dual POV isn’t easy for anyone the first time, but I felt like I was starting in a massive hole on my first novel “Stay.” That very first horrible draft, the one that no one saw but me? It was head-hopping all over the place.
Now that I’ve been writing fiction for a while, it’s getting harder for me to compare it to screenwriting. The sheer volume of work that goes into a novel is insane, but the reward is far greater: You get to share your story with many readers instead of a select few.
Happy reading & writing!
Available from Amazon
Billionaire CEO Shawn Dunn has plenty of sex, power, and money. A woman turning down his advances? Unfathomable. Yet that’s what she does, again and again.
Kara Hayward is supposed to be off limits. Her sister is hiding from the dangerous assassin she escaped from, and it’s best for everyone if Shawn keeps his distance. Certainly as far as Kara is concerned. Shawn’s only after one thing and then he’ll walk away, just like her ex-husband.
But Shawn has larger desires and he’s used to getting what he wants. He doesn’t care if being together is dangerous. He doesn’t believe that threat to him, or his empire, is real. Right up to the night he has everything taken away.
If she weren’t so emotionally and physically exhausted, she’d be immune to him. Maybe immune wasn't the right word. Resistant, perhaps.
They hadn't taken their clothes off. Shawn had barely touched her. And still, the encounter left her desperate and shaky. Filled with need for him. Wanting him. It had easily been the hottest twenty minutes of her life.
Good-looking, her sister had warned her once about Shawn. Not even close. Jason was good-looking in a rough and tough sort of way. Her sister had always liked the bad boys and while Jason, the head of security, looked more conventionally dangerous, Kara knew better. That the taller brother in the suit was cunning and manipulative, making him far, far more dangerous than the one that carried a gun.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Karyn Lawrence is an author, graphic designer, and screenwriter. She published a nonfiction book about color guard after an editor discovered her blog, way back in the infancy of the Internet and long before blogging was really a thing.
She has been a screenwriter for more than fifteen years, with rather mild success, and grew tired of her stories only reaching a handful of readers. The decision was made to try fiction in early 2013 and once she figured out how to write internal dialogue again, the prose came fast and furious. She most enjoys writing smexy (smart-sexy) books featuring a lovable SOB hero and a tough-as-nails heroine.
Karyn is a Chicago native who lives in Kentucky with her epic husband and two adorable sons.
Karyn will be awarding a $25 gift card to Amazon, a signed paperback copy of both "Keep" and the first book in the stand-alone series, "Stay", bookmarks from "Stay" and a can kozie with the logo from the fictional beer company that the hero owns in "Keep" (Swag and print book are US only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.