Following his Oscar nomination, announced last week, British screenwriter Ronald Harwood explains in The Times how he set about adapting Jean-Dominique Bauby's book, The Diving Bell And The Butterfly.
There is only one golden rule when writing a screenplay and that is: there is no golden rule. Every screenplay is different. Each one has its own imperative, dictating its own construction with the characters making their individual demands as if everything is preordained. I try to “learn” the book and absorb its contents. Only then am I able to define the story the book tells in the hope of translating it to the screenplay.