My experiences with television and fan fiction are, admittedly, limited. I did write a Sherlock fan fiction (which I will write a prequel for), but it exists somewhat outside of the series, in that it is not dependent upon the episodes to create the drama in the story.
I’ve begun to dabble a bit more into this realm, however, with my Merlin Fan Fiction, Krysia & Gwaine.
This is the first of probably several shows I’ll be doing fan fiction for, and probably the most involved piece where actual episodes are concerned. I found a good set of online transcripts, and I’m re-watching every episode. When you’ve got shows with followings like Merlin and Doctor Who, you can’t afford to screw up the details.
The really key thing about screenwriting that sets it apart from prose is the absolute emphasis on dialogue. That’s really just about all the writer of a film or show has control over. They had some control over essential and important action, place, time of day, etc, but only at the most basic level. Their job is to write dialogue.
I keep this very much in mind as I write, particularly because I don’t stick to the screenwriting format as my own skill as a screenwriter is limited at best. It’s something I want to polish and expand before I share it with people, and I’m not willing to wait for that long process to finish to write these fan fiction pieces. So Merlin is going from screenwriting to prose! I’m very careful to keep the dialogue the primary focus, which isn’t difficult, as that is also my best feature as a writer. However, I can’t just have dialogue. This is prose, after all.
This is where re-watching comes in, trying to spice up that dialogue with descriptive transitions, poignant moments of narration. The narrative can’t overpower the dialogue, but like good eye makeup, is a complement to the overall quality of the interaction. It’s a fine balance, one I’m still working on perfecting, and I would love any reader insights for people who’ve checked out my Merlin fan fic, as well as people who’ve taken on similar projects and how they struck that balance. Let’s share our insights to make this adaption process just a little more fluid for everyone!