The Creation of The United as a Screenplay

The Creation of The United as a Screenplay

As I have shared many, many times, I was given the challenge of creating a 1st draft of a 90 minute screenplay for my novel, The United, The Realm of the Light Book 1.  It was a task which I finished at the end of August this year.

It was monumental task for me, mostly because I built it up a challenge I could not complete in mind. So the first thing I needed to do was believe I could create a screenplay.  Next, I needed to learn how to craft a screenplay. So I found a free course on-line, watched a few different You-Tube videos on how to create a screenplay, and subscribed to a Screenwriter newsletter.

Once I had a feel for how to craft a screenplay, all that was left was to do it. So I bought a screenwriting software, Final Draft. I learned how to use the software, and was ready to actually write it out.

I started with the start of The United. I copied, pasted, and edited the text to fit the formatting necessary for a screenplay in Final Note for the first section, Year The First, of The United.  When I completed that, my screenplay was already at 70 minutes. So I cut stuff out until I was about 30 minutes. That done, I moved on to Year the Next, and when I was done with Year the Next, I was closer to 100 minutes. I could not figure out how to condense The United into so short a screenplay, so I talked with a few author friends. The best suggestion I got back was what did I want my screenplay to focus on, because I obviously could not focus on the story as a whole.  I selected my topic, the relationships between characters and healing from traumatic experiences.  Then I cut content until I was at 60 minutes. By this point I had a good feel for what I wanted to do with my time, and I finished the story at 88 pages (or 88 minutes, 1 page per minute).

It is a horrible 1st draft, and will not make a good film.  It is too condensed to really engage the interest of the viewers, in my opinion.  However, it is done.  And I am pleased with my effort.

My next screenwriting challenge is to create a screenplay for Cross of Roses, my Fantasy Thriller book about a serial killing priest that takes place about 4 years after the conclusion of The United.

In the end, what really mattered was that I believed I could not write a screenplay. I shifted my belief, to accept that I could attempt it. I learned how to do it, though I admit, imperfectly. And finally I wrote it.  Now, I am excited to try again, with a story idea that I believe will be more marketable as a screenplay than The United.

By James Quinlan Meservy

I am James Quinlan Meservy
Fantasy Author Extraordinaire,
Embellisher of Events,
Creator of Creatures,
And Firebrand
“Stories that Kindle Imagination"