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The differences between writing a book and a screenplay

Taking on the crazy dream of writing a screenplay…

Can you successfully convert your book to a screenplay?


With the new year now coming to the end of its first month, my plans to finish my two books are coming to fruition. The pandemic and lockdown of 2020 truly determined me to stay safe (with my family, of course), set writing goals, set a writing timeline, and thankfully, so far so good.

With a natural ability (or folly as some would say) to take on writing and reading several stories at the same time, this writing business tends to take longer for me than other writers. Especially as I have a fulltime job to tackle too. So, I will honestly admit, it is sometimes frustrating when I’m unable to stick to one thing! Darting like a bumble bee from one genre to another on a daily basis because my head keeps generating different ideas for my different stories.

So, what’s next? What can I do to feed my typical Gemini urges of flitting from one idea to another? Why, take on a course to learn about writing screenplays of course!

But can anyone write a screenplay or script? Can anyone think they even have the right to attempt converting one of their books to a screenplay?

The answer is yes, anyone can — once you do the research, read a few, good books, do some courses on the subject and perhaps purchase some scriptwriting software — well, that’s what I’ve been told in my latest scriptwriting course. What garnered my interest in this course was a book I read — Write that script! And write it now! by Lindsay J. Sedgwick. As soon as I finished the book, I was like Claudia in Interview with a Vampire — “I want more!” Ok, so it wasn’t blood I wanted, but I was definitely hooked and hungry for more.

Writing a screenplay needs a very different skill compared to writing a book, and yes, both are learnable with practice and a lot of time. With the trend of adapting books into movies these days. It’s something a writer should look into; it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re interested and a bit of a gambler like me, well why not…



Lj Ryan

Working in Sales Admin but practiced life under many other careers. Proud member of The Independent Irish Authors Collective, writing is Lj’s life after family