Converting a script into a book

RIP began life as a television pilot script.

It was a semifinalist in the 2011 PAGE International Screenwriting Contest in the TV Drama category and a finalist in the 2010 People’s Pilot Competition.

I ultimately decided this story was better suited for a novel — or, to be more precise, a series of novelettes that will eventually combine into one large novel. I’m essentially converting a season of television into a book.

I had already written about four and a half TV episodes, some more polished than others. The first episode, “Hi, I Kill Dead People,” became the first e-book, “Touch.”

Here’s an excerpt from that pilot script:

EXT. PUBLIC PARK – NIGHT

Rip walks down a sidewalk in front of a passive park: a wide-open grass field with some trees around the perimeter.  It’s dark except for a few street lights.  No one else is out.

A tiny orb floats behind him, then vanishes.  Rip stops and turns around, having felt something.  He resumes walking, but faster.

Several orbs appear before him.  Startled, he SHOUTS immediately as he sees them.

He runs onto to the grass and leans against a tree near a streetlight: a nice, safe, well-lit area.  He catches his breath.

RIP

(mumbling)

Okay.  Sugar.  That was sugar.  Ate too much…

He looks down and shakes his head.  Can’t deny it any longer.  He looks up.

RIP (CONT’D)

Let’s get this over with.

Serissa fades back into view.  She stands in front of Rip, invading his personal space.  She flails her arms.

SERISSA

–I’m not sugar!  Don’t be scared!  Don’t be scared!

*****

In the e-book, this turns into:

A midnight stroll never actually alleviated his insomnia, but he clung to the theory anyway. He opted for the usual, most convenient path. Near his apartment complex was a passive park—a wide-open grass field with evenly spaced trees dotting its perimeter. He walked down the sidewalk bordering the green, where streetlights provided sufficient illumination.

The park was vacant. It was late, after all—or early, depending on your perspective. But he still had that nagging feeling someone else was lurking around, peering over his shoulder.

Didn’t he conquer these fears years ago? There was reality and there was imagination. The latter may have enjoyed freedom from rules, but not the former. No, reality came with restrictions. Reality couldn’t break its own laws. There was no such thing as phantoms or ghosts or ghouls or anything of the sort!

A tickle on his neck compelled him to look back, but it was a misleading tickle, because there was still no one there.

Rip walked a bit faster.

His vision blurred with white spots—numerous tiny, circular spots. Was he going blind? Did he pick up a rare illness? He felt fine, though. Or did he?

The tiny white dots started glowing.

Instincts took over, and he ran out onto the grass. He dashed around a thick tree near a streetlight. He leaned against the trunk in the nice, safe, well-lit area, and he rationalized, like a good adult.

“Okay. Sugar,” he muttered. “That was sugar. Ate too much…” He lowered his head. He couldn’t deny it any longer. “Let’s get this over with.”

Rip looked across the field, dreading whatever might happen. So far, the park remained empty. Nothing strange…yet. Even the white spots had dispersed. He had to clamp a hand on his leg to keep it from quaking.

That leg quaked nevertheless, and the other soon joined in.

He squeezed his eyes shut and sucked in the cool, fresh air. Breathing out, he opened.

Arms flailed in his face. “I’m not sugar!” said the young woman from his dream. “Don’t be scared! Don’t be scared!”

******

And there you have it, a conversion from a television script to full prose.

Don’t forget to download your copy of RIP: Touch.

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