Recently, I took a workshop on how to convert a novel to a
screenplay. It was a fascinating workshop that gave practical tips on how to deconstruct and then reconstruct a novel into a new format. Plot, structure and character development are all core elements of any story telling method and it was interesting to see how a different mode of storytelling could affect a story.
I chose to experiment on my 2018 Christmas novella Blue Christmas. Blue Christmas is about a down on her luck college student, Blue Jones, who is determined to do whatever it takes to pay off her grandmother’s medical bills – including burglary. So obviously it’s a romance and there are diamond thieves and a dog. Because… Christmas?
As I worked my way through my story, I saw several things that I would like to improve. And it was not so very long ago that I loved every bit of that story! What the heck happened to my perfect little morsel of criminal Christmas?! Why is it that an author / creative person can’t stop improving on a work? I mean, we all hate George Lucas for going back and adding special effects and scenes to Star Wars, don’t we? When are we, or should we, be forced to say walk away?
My personal feeling is that once a work is in the public, then except for correcting typos or other blatant errors, that an author should not make any “improvements”. People end up loving specific works and changing even a sentence or two can affect someone’s perception of a work.
But of course, none of that prevents me from making those changes in my screenplay.