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Thoughts on Writing

In 2020, I turned a screenplay into a novel: “Mamoribito - The One Who Protects."


Here’s what I learned – most of which will be obvious to more experienced writers, but for first-timers there might be something useful to discover.


1) Screenplays are easier to write than novels. For example, you can say “Epic sword fight” in an Action scene, but in a novel you have to come with a couple of pages to describe that. That said, you get a whole lot more story ideas when writing a novel: scenes get better, dialogue improves, plot holes get filled in (hopefully).

Lesson - writing a novel makes you a better writer.


2) I wrote the novel in the 1st person, having gone backwards and forwards from the 3rd person. That was fine until page 197, when I realized I needed to describe an event that was beyond sight of the protagonist. So, I created “The Void” for him to be able to do that, as if remote viewing the scene - otherwise he wouldn’t be able to describe what was happening. This was in keeping with his character, a modern-day Ninja, but at first it felt like I was cheating my way out of that little conundrum. It’s now going to be a thing for him in follow-up novels. In a screenplay, of course, you won’t have that kind of issue.

Lesson - 1st person novels from screenplays may require work-arounds, but these can become happy accidents, or even significant character traits.


3) Rewriting: my goodness that’s a thing. No matter how many times you print, read, re-read, change, re-print, re-read, you will always find something that needs changing. In fact, you won’t believe how bad your writing and subsequent re-writing can be until you’ve completed that cycle numerous times.

One useful trick was to output from Word to PDF, then upload the PDF to my Kindle Reader. That way I could sit on the train and mark areas for editing using the Kindle.

Lesson - you’re never truly finished, but at some stage you have to hit the ‘publish’ key.


Finally - I have other screenplays, but I wanted to do Mamoribito first, and am now on my third novel. Note: The Girl Who Fell Through Time also started as a screenplay.

Anyway - I hope this was at least somewhat helpful for other writers!

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