First, please accept my apologies for not producing anything for over a month. Life got away from me and needed to be netted. Okay, there were butterfly nets involved. That’s what they told me.
As I mentioned before, I particpated in the National Novel Writing Month. To add to the challenge of writing a novel of at least 50 000 words, I decided to create a story that took in the lessons of Lost in Translation. That is, I wanted to write something that could be easily adapted without worrying too much that there would be much to be altered. Those who want to read Beaver Flight can download it from Google Drive. It is currently unfinished, unpolished, and low on my writing priority list, but will work as an example here.
My first consideration was cast size. While a novel can have a huge cast consisting of main, supporting, and incidental characters, often for adaptations they will get combined and even cut to save on the costs of hiring actors. Thus, my core cast was kept to four characters; Darcy, Renée, Victoria, and Dominique. The story had a Canadian slant to it, in part because I am Canadian and in part to make it easier for the adaptation to get grants from the Canadian government. Cynical, but funding needs to be a concern, especially with an adaptation that requires special effects.
Next, setting. The core idea is a gender-flipping of the classic B-movie trope of Mars Needs Women! However, I wanted to keep the fighting away from Earth itself and possibly the populace kept in the dark. This builds off the limited cast idea above. With an isolated base, replacement characters would take time to arrive. The pilot episode (if Beaver Flight was a TV series) could show the difficulties of getting to the lunar base with its higher budget with later episodes helping to ameliorate the cost of the setting. The moon’s low-gravity is still an issue, though, even in the unfinished manuscript.
Props are going to be an interesting element. Each of the main characters pilots powered armour; something larger than Iron Man‘s suit but far smaller than the traditional Japanese mecha as seen in the various Gundam series or Patlabor. Each suit will be distinctive; Dominique’s needs to be taller since she herself is the tallest character in the story. However, and only implied in the story, the base design of the powered armour is common to all suits, with only the paint and the markings by nation and pilot being the main visual differences.*
Key sets are minimized. The main ones on the lunar base includes the mecha hangar bay, the pilots’ briefing room, Beaver Flight’s shared bedroom, and the cafeteria. Other locations can come up, but aren’t as key. The area outside the hangar bay doors needs to be created, as will lunar landscapes. Fortunately, reuse of graphics and settings will be common.
As mentioned, I’m placing Beaver Flight low on my priority list. I feel that the story doesn’t really fit a novel format. The original concept, I feel, would work better in a more serialized manner, whether it’s a webcomic, TV series, or even a series of short stories. As I neared the 50 000th word of the story, I started adding elements that were meant to appear later, such as the breaking of the secrecy and the appearance of the alien invaders. However, with the manuscript, I can go back, turn the work into something that fits it better, and then polish it up.
In the end, getting the story to a point where it can be adapted without too many problems is extra work. Consideration has to be taken for the more expensive budget elements to try to keep costs in hand. Casts need to be limited; few movies and TV series have a core cast larger than seven. However, getting these elements worked in should make adapting the work easier, keeping the adaptation closer to the original.
Next week, urban fantasy renewal.
* Not used in the manuscript but completely acceptable by my standards – cutie marks on each suit of powered armour to add to the distinctions.