Book Into A Movie – How To Adapt Your Book Into A Screenplay

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By Danek S. Kaus


Danek-S.-Kaus_40117Okay, you’ve finished your novel or true storybook and you’d like to have it made into a movie.

Maybe you’ve taken some classes on screenwriting or read some books and you’re thinking about writing the screenplay based on your book.

Here is something to keep in mind. You will have to cut much of the content of your book that took you months, perhaps years to write. You may balk at the notion but you must do it.

A book can average 200 – 500 pages and contain 60,000 – 200,000 words. An average screenplay runs 90 – 120 pages, much of it white space, and has about 20,000 – 25,000 words. That’s quite a vast difference.

How do you manage to get all of your stories into a screenplay? In most cases, you don’t. It’s a sad but true fact.

So what do you cut out?

One approach is to keep most of the major scenes and cut out those smaller, less important ones. Study your book and look at it with an eye to what is critical and what is not.

Do the same thing with dialogue. Keep only what moves the story forward.

You can eliminate subplots and stick to the main story.

You can eliminate some characters or combine several of them into one and let that person serve in the role of what those varying characters did in your book.

And while you’re at it, get rid of any lengthy character descriptions. In a screenplay they are not only unnecessary, they are counterproductive. In screenplays, character descriptions should be purposely vague to give more casting options.

Do not describe height, unless it is critical to the story, hair color, eye color, flesh tones, etc. The more specific your description is in the screenplay, the harder it will be to find a leading actor to play the role.

And finally, don’t tell us the race of the character, unless it is an essential part of the story. For example, a police detective can be of any race, unless the detective’s race is an essential part of the story. For true stories, of course, we need to know the race of each person to make it closer to reality.

About Danek S. Kaus

If you want to turn a book into a movie, these ideas will get your off to a great start.

Danek S. Kaus is a produced writer of an award-winning feature film. A movie production company recently hired him to adapt a book for them. The film is now in development. Two of his other screenplays have been optioned by producers. If you would like to have him adapt your book into a movie or have a professional analysis of your script visit [] or write


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