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Talk it over: Lights, camera... action?

A reader wants to add a string to her bow and turn her novel manuscript into a screenplay. Jane Wenham Jones consults an expert to offer advice

I have completed a novel which I am sending out to agents. In the meantime, several people who’ve read it have commented that it would make a good film. So I am thinking of adapting the manuscript into a screenplay while I’m waiting to see if I can sell the book, on the basis that it will give me two strings to my writing bow. The only small problem with this plan is that I haven’t got a clue how to start. I know you have to lay a script out in a certain way, and there needs to be lots of action. But when I found out that a screenplay is usually about 20,000 words I felt totally daunted. My novel is 110,000 words. How in the world do you decide what to put in and what to leave out? I need help!

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Handling heroes: Learn from the Bard New series: An insider's view of publishing Written your book? We'll help you sell it! How to: • Write better features • Sell and re-sell your writing overseas • Create a screenplay from your novel Pen pushers: Ideas and exercises to inspire your writing Star interview: Scandalous historian Halle Rubenhold WIN! A 6-day Arvon writer's retreat worth £600

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