Saylor's Goodreads Bookshelf

Saylor's books

Animal Farm
Where the Sidewalk Ends
The Great Gatsby
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Catcher in the Rye
Of Mice and Men
The Alchemist
Slaughterhouse-Five
Me Talk Pretty One Day
Lord of the Flies
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Little Women
Frankenstein
A Tale of Two Cities
The Count of Monte Cristo
Les Misérables
Moby-Dick or, The Whale
The Joy Luck Club
Middlesex
The Memory Keeper's Daughter


Saylor's favorite books »
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THE O LINE MYSTERY PODCAST

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On the right hand side are the links to purchasing both the eBooks and paperbacks of The O Line Mystery Book Series.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

From Script to Novel

I wrote about 52 half-hour audio scripts.  After the first 4 they got easy. 
After the first 28 it got hard. 
After the first 35 it got easy again. 
And the last 4, #49-52 were torture.
The thing I love about doing audio is the texture sound brings to a script.   I write:  DAY-ANNIE and LORNA walking downtown.  Then my scene setting is done.  The rest gets added through sound:  Cars pass by, people talking, footsteps are added after the voices read the script.  I get the pleasure of knowing where a scene is supposed to end and let the characters take me there through dialogue.   Once I got to know the lead characters that is when everything got easy.  It only got hard again when I tried to force a script or motivation that wasn’t natural for their nature.  What wasn’t easy doing the scripts was feeling very limited.  How do you convey a “look”?  How do you convey smell (you have to say corny things like “Gee, it sure stinks in here.  Mmm, those brownies sure smell good.)?  It’s the opposite of show don’t tell.  You have to tell everything.  However, I wish I could give a gift I was given to all scriptwriters when I first started doing the shows.  After about the fourth show I found someone to read Lorna’s character for me.  I sat in the sound booth and just listened to the work being read and it was fantastic.  They made the writing better, if that makes sense.  It was a gift that freed me to write better.

Now turning the scripts into novels has been easy in the planning stages and more difficult in the execution – because there is no one there to make the writing better, except for the editor.  I wasn’t starting from scratch.  I “lived” with these character’s for a year and a half during the podcast and I know them well.  But there in lies the rub.  How to make them sound fresh?  Well, I had to start fresh.  Look into there past, make them more multi-dimensional, and put them on a path that was different than the podcast.  A lot of novelists talk about the freedom and control you have with writing a novel.  I was not ready for that much freedom and control.  But you learn quick with these things.  You write yourself into a corner after 3 days of writing and have to throw out the work.  But you don’t make that mistake again…or you do.  I think the first draft of the first book of the series was a mere 100 pages.  Which is fine if that tells the story but after reading it I thought, uh oh I may be in some trouble here.  I didn’t paint the settings with words, I didn’t describe very much.  I used the words – he said, she said, and she thought. A lot.  I left out complete scenes and didn’t trust the reader enough.  The Lorna character came off like a neurotic pit bull.  The bones of the story was there but it was a rooouuuggghhhh draft.  

I didn’t want the novels to simply be a written account of the podcast so I took a little here and a little there from the various plots and then made an overall story arc for the series.  One of the books to be release is a short story series from the first season of the podcast.  Those are going to be more like written accounts of the shows whose plots are not used in the book series.  I don’t want to give away anything but after plotting out the series story line it does look like there could be a spin off or even a sequel.  We’ll see.

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