Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite
Screenwriting for Storytellers: How to Take Your Story from Idea to Script by SherLann D. Moore is a must-read manual for anyone who wants to convert their novel, novella, or short story to the silver screen. If you think this transformation is a simple process, you have a surprise in store. Moore provides a step-by-step guide to margins, page numbers, fonts, camera directions and moves on to character development, sluglines, dialogue, transitions, fade-ins and outs, dissolves, cut-tos, dissolve tos, montages, flashbacks - everything you need to know about the format of a screenplay. She moves on to the hard part, converting your story into a film, which usually requires significant word-cutting to make it “lean, simple, and relevant.” To make her point she provides many examples, including her prize-winning screenplay in its entirety: Stronger When She’s Broken.
As someone who has attempted to convert several of my novels to script form, I wish I had found Moore’s book before I started. I thought, oh, this should be simple enough. But it’s a whole new ballgame. She provides some important advice such as investing in a software program that formats your script automatically, reading lots of scripts in your genre, and how to overcome writer’s block (she includes physical exercises) - all useful to any writer. She gives you an actual assignment of writing a screenplay with you as the main character, and - hugely important - she tells you how to pitch your book in what is called a “pitch deck.” She even gives you quizzes to see if you are paying attention! There is space for notetaking too. Before you try going it alone to convert your novel to a movie, be sure to pick up a copy of Screenwriting for Storytellers by SherLann D. Moore. I sure wish I had.