October, 2015: Adapting Fiction for Film

Category: October 2015


Instructor:  Susan McCauley

October 1 - 30;  Fee: $50

Have you ever wanted to learn how to write a screenplay? Or, better yet, adapt your novel for the screen?  

If so, then join screen and fiction writer, Susie McCauley, and learn to adapt your fiction for the silver screen.

You will:

  • Learn screenwriting formatting
  • Learn basic screenwriting terminology
  • Study excerpts from two famous novels and one short story and their accompanying screenplay adaptations
  • Look in depth at Act I, Act II, and Act III of the excerpts to discover how each piece was adapted and how you can apply these techniques to your own work
  • Adapt portions of your own fiction and receive feedback that will help you adapt your novel for the screen

In this four week course, an abundance of learning opportunities will promote discussion and give you plenty of opportunity to learn from each other. Submitting work will allow you to put the theory to work and benefit from feedback from classmates and instructor.


I'm a multi-Margie grad with a masters in writing from the University of Southern California. I'll dig in to your examples and help make your work shine!

Susie McCauley:

I love writing. I wrote my first screenplay when I was eight years old, and shot it on a camcorder with my cousins. That was just the beginning of a long, exciting journey that led to three fine arts degrees, studying and working across the world. 

I have a B.A. in Radio-Television with a minor in Theater from the University of Houston, an M.F.A. in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California, and an M.A. in Text & Performance from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and King’s College in London.

I studied professional acting for two years with Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic ParkIndependence Day) in Los Angeles.

While living in Los Angeles, I worked as a writer, actress, producer, and college English instructor. During that time, I wrote the story for and produced a short film, which later won awards at the Houston International Film Festival and the Seabrook Film Festival. In 2002, I moved to London. My stage adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s “The Nose” was performed in London, as well as scenes from my play “The Prisoner: Princess Elizabeth.”

I returned to the U.S. in 2005. In 2007, I was the line producer of the Emmy Award nominated Civil War short film Now & Forever Yours: Letters to an Old Soldier.

I’m currently working on my third middle grade novel. My short story "The Nest" was published in an anthology in 2014, and my next short story, "The Cask", will be released in 2015. The film adaptation for "The Cask" is moving into production this fall.

I'm a writer for Writers Who Love Readers website: www.Readerlicious.com

I am a panelist for the Horror Writers Association (on topics related to YA and MG horror). My next discussion will be live on the web as part of the WHA's Roundtable on September 13 to discuss putting age appropriate horror in the hands of young readers: http://horror.org/horror-roundtable/

I also teach Screenwriting Strategies for Fiction Writers for Lawson Writer’s Academy and several writing courses for the University of Houston, Clear Lake.

Start Date:  Thursday, 01 October 2015
Cost: 50(USD)
Topics: 8