So at my writers group about two weeks ago or so, our writing host who considers herself an expert (I’ve posted about her before) mentioned something about screenwriting. And I mentioned something that I personally heard and read online about traditionally published authors who are able to screenwrite or who are taking courses, etc.

I mentioned that I heard that authors who also are able to learn how to screenwrite CAN do their own screenplay should their story become optioned for film. She brushed off my statement and said, “Well I heard the exact opposite. They usually don’t care.”

Well, for one. What I heard is that they usually hire their own screenwriters because an author doesn’t know how to do it. That’s what I heard at least. The author has the right to offer themselves as a screenwriter, even if it’s really hard to get the ability to do so. I know it’s hard, but if the author has the ability to screenwrite, why not mention it?

I wonder if this is true or if the “expert” is correct? I was only saying what I read and heard from other people in the past. I really hate it when I get brushed off by people like that LOL.

If the novelist is a PROVEN screenwriter, then sure – unless the person optioning the book has a screenwriter in mind already – they would be foolish to turn them down. I expect, though, that the smarter approach would be for the author to write the screenplay BEFORE the book is optioned. Really hard to say “Oh, I don’t want a screenplay. I want to waste time waiting for someone else to write one!”

I just want to emphasize, though, that the writer needs to be a proven screenwriter in some way. I don’t care if they’re taking classes – if the screenplay for their book is their one-and-only “real” screenplay, they’re not going to be taken seriously.

My advice: Write the screenplay and submit to a major contest. Pay for feedback. A win or high placement in a major competition – like Nicholl – will be highly regarded, especially if the screenplay that did so well is the screenplay for the book.

Another option would be to work with a highly regarded pro (like That won’t get you any sort of industry regard, but it will help you create a decent screenplay.

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Of course yes. I meant people who are proven screenwriters on top of being authors as well. When I mentioned that to the group, I really meant learning how to be a screenwriter and making your name known in the craft is the way to become a screenwriter of your own books and the lady brushed me off as if I didn’t know what I was talking about because she heard otherwise and was insulted by my statement because she knows better than me. That’s why I came here to ask

So it is true. It is possible to write your own screenplay if you’re proven to write screenplays. That’s good to know that I heard correctly.