Should You Write a Novel or a Screenplay?

We admit it. We’re not big fans of Huffpo since Adriana sold out. But this thoughtful piece is definitely worth reading. And hell, we’d like it to be seen by as many peeps as possible cuz we’re pretty sure the writer didn’t make a dime:

by Priyanka Kumar


Over a decade ago, as a graduate student at the University of Southern California School of Cinema-TV, I was living a double life. By day, I attended my screenwriting classes, took notes, and asked thoughtful questions; by night, I worked on a literary novel. Actually, I was so wrapped up in this novel that I was hoping to sequester myself during Christmas break and get a chunk of the book written then.

I confessed my doppelgänger work ethic to a screenwriting professor, the youngest of the lot, who smoked prodigiously and wore a skeptical look. Did it make sense to be interested in screenwriting and novel writing at the same time? Was my interest in the rhythms of sentences and paragraphs detrimental to the visual sensibility I needed to develop as a filmmaker? Had I chosen the wrong path?

The professor shook his head. “Some stories lend themselves better to novels, others to screenplays,” he said.

At the time, this remark wasn’t entirely satisfactory. In the intervening decade, I’ve had the opportunity to grapple with this issue.

Take, for instance, a recent conference call I had with a team of producers who were attached to a feature script I’d written. I’d given them a new draft based on their feedback, and we were discussing it. Or so I thought.

“Could you make it more political-thrillery?” the producer asked.

His question jarred me.

“It’s not a political thriller,” I said. “It is a drama with some elements of a political thriller.”

A pause.

“Have you read the latest script?” I asked.

“No,” the producer said. Another pause, which I imagined was sheepish. “But my producing partner read it.”

How could he presume to give notes on a draft he hadn’t even read?

“That’s stunning,” I said.

Read it all

Yo, Priyanka! Get in touch with us, willya? You’re a great writer, and although TVWriter™ can’t pay you either, at least we won’t be making any money off your talent. (Cuz we so don’t generate income….)