Years ago, I went through a screenwriting phase. Disgusted with my descriptive prose, I bought a few books, studied the technique and was determined to be the next Richard Price. But when it came to writing the screenplay, I felt suffocated and kept getting the urge to describe, describe, describe, which made me feel even worse, since, as I mentioned, I had been disgusted with my descriptive prose.
Around this time, I was working as a journalist in the trades, and I remember going on a business trip to Cleveland and interviewing a furniture store executive who told me that if I wanted to write a screenplay that I was better off writing a novel first and then a screenplay of that novel.
At the time, I thought it seemed like a pretty dopey, roundabout way to write a screenplay.
Yesterday, as I was revising Baby Grand, I was reminded of my screenwriter aspirations. I found myself cutting out some unnecessary seques, such as “Jamie walked over and…” It reminded me of the editing of a movie, where we see folks getting out of a car and in the next scene entering an office and how we know how they got there, without having to see them push the elevator button, wait in the lobby, ride up, etc. It occurred to me that as I write my novels I see them as movies playing out in my mind, and all those little unnecessary scraps of prose are on the cutting room floor of my brain.
I do think a screenplay is in my future, and I think about that dude from Cleveland from time to time and wonder whatever became of him. He too was a writer and had just self-published a book at a time when no one was self-publishing books. Little does he know that, some fifteen years later, I would be heeding his advice.