Idle Musings About #Writing A #Novel You Want To Turn Into A #Screenplay One Day

by Shelton Bumgarner

I’ve finally gotten passed the passionate part of writing a novel and I’m just…writing a novel. It’s kind of, by definition, a labor of love. You aren’t getting paid and you know you have just the barest possibility of writing anything eventually that at some point someone you don’t know might read and actually like.

Having said all that, these cold hard facts don’t stop you from thinking — as you write the novel — who would play different characters in it should it ever be turned into a movie. You also find yourself daydreaming about what kind of movie it would be if it was one. As it stands, this scifi novel I’m writing might be described as, “Contact meets Colony meets…”


While this novel definitely has elements of Contact, and Colony and Under The Dome and upcoming movie Captive State, there are some pretty big aspects of this story that defy ready comparisons. The basic conceit of the story is pretty unique. And one element of the story that I don’t know how comfortable movie producers would be with is its naming of names when it comes to politics. In fact, as I imagine it going into this story (I’ve barely gotten into the second chapter at this point) the story is going to wallow in contemporary American politics to such an extent that it might be a turn off to some people.

Maybe a lot of people.

But the interesting thing is I’m well aware that if I’m not careful that this story is going to come off as something of a liberal globalist fever dream. So, I’m working hard to try to make at least one sympathetic character center-Right. In fact, as of right now, the romantic female lead is going to be that center-Right character. One of the things I’m learning as I write this novel is if you have one character you pretty much have to have another character floating around for them to talk to. It’s difficult to have any conflict if all that happens is you have a character look around in awe at all the cool stuff happening to them.

One element of this story which — if it somehow miraculously becomes a movie — would set it apart, is the space aliens are not 2001 ethereal types. They’re well versed in the human condition and rather matter a fact about working with humans to save their sorry asses. I don’t know how easy it would be to describe that in a movie, given how conditioned mainstream audiences are to space aliens who are completely clueless about humans and how they operate.

Regardless, I love movie and as I write I do find myself thinking about who might play this or that character. It’s interesting how the original Star Wars has such a young protagonist and how that plays into the Hero’s Journey. When you actually sit down to write a story — be it a novel or a movie — basic things like your Hero’s age begin to really play a lot into how you construct your character.

I haven’t done squat of the heavy backend lifting when it comes to writing this novel, but this first draft is just to try to get the story down, to understand what I’m trying to say. One element of this is the novel, if I’m able to pull it off successfully, could easily be an allegory for the Trump Era. But that’s something to think about in the second draft, I suspect. This first draft is just to settle on the basics of what is happening.

Writing this novel, I have Mission: Impossible — Fallout in the back of my head a lot. This I’m writing starts off a lot more dramatically than I first imagined. I know the general macro story fairly well, it’s the micro elements — the nitty gritty elements of having characters walk around in this expansive universe I’ve constructed that I am enjoying processing. Anyway, I need to actually get the hard work done of writing the novel first and foremost. I can’t screw around writing about writing forever and expect to actually finish anything.

But sometimes I find myself feeling like taking a little break, to process things before diving back in.

Author: Shelton Bumgarner

I am the Editor & Publisher of The Trumplandia Report

Leave a Reply