Novel Versus Screenplay: A Publication Day Guest Post by Love and Other Consolation Prizes Author, Jamie Ford

love and other consolation prizes

I can’t thank Emma Finnigan PR enough for my review copy of Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford that I will be reviewing soon. In the mean time, I’m thrilled to bring you a publication day guest post from Jamie who agreed to write something for me on the difference between writing a novel and writing a screenplay. I love what he’s come up with.

Love and Other Consolation Prizes is published by Allison and Busby today, 12th September 2017, and is available for purchase here.

Love and Other Consolation Prizes

love and other consolation prizes

1909, Seattle. For twelve-year-old Ernest Young, a charity student at a boarding school, the chance to go to the World’s Fair feels like a gift. But when he’s there amid the exotic exhibits, the half-Chinese orphan discovers that he will actually be a prize, raffled off to ‘a good home’. He is claimed as a servant by the flamboyant madam of a high-class brothel. There he forges new friendships and discovers a sense of family for the first time. Perhaps this is the home he’s always wanted?

On the eve of the new World’s Fair fifty years later, Ernest is juggling memories and the demands of his ailing wife as well as long-held family secrets which threaten to leak out.

A powerful new novel, inspired by a true story,from the bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.

Novel Versus Screenplay

A Guest Post by Jamie Ford


I asked Jamie to comment on the difference between writing a novel and writing a screenplay. I wonder what he’ll come up with?



Jamie sits at his desk. He sips a cup of coffee.

JAMIE (to camera)

Writing a novel is like building a house. You put on the roof, install the plumbing, hang the wallpaper, lay the carpet–you do everything.

Jamie opens a screenwriting program and begins writing this.


But a screenplay is more like a blueprint. It’s your design, but other people are going to finish the job–the director, the editor, the producers, the talent, etc. At first I hated the idea, but I’ve fallen in love with the concept of collaboration. Plus, I re-outlined HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, and actually (I think) made a more compelling story.

SFX: The doorbell rings.

Jamie looks outside and sees a FedEx truck. He goes to the door and signs for a package from Alison & Busby, which contains finished copies of his new novel, LOVE AND OTHER CONSOLATION PRIZES. He returns to his desk.


Where was I? Oh, yes: screenplays. I don’t feel like I’m compromising, I’m just translating my work to a different medium. The characters, interestingly enough, take on new life because I have the opportunity to add to their backstories.

But there are constraints. Like time. Instead of 350 pages I have 120 minutes. So some things may change in the final script.

SFX: Jamie’s iPhone rings. He answers.

DIRECTOR (on the phone)

Dude! I love this book! It’s got everything. But you know what would make it better? Zombies! I’m serious. HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF ZOMBIES AND APOCALYPSE. I’m talking to one of Tom Cruise’s people and he’d love to do a historical zombie flick. IT WOULD CRUSH AT THE BOX OFFICE. ALL WE HAVE TO DO…

Jamie hangs up.


You just have to make sure things don’t get out of hand.

SFX: Jamie’s phone rings again.


Yeah. I’m not going to answer that.

SFX: Jamie’s iPhone continues to ring.


About Jamie Ford

jamie ford

Jamie Ford is the great grandson of Nevada mining pioneer Min Chung, who emigrated from China to San Francisco in 1865, where he adopted the western name ‘Ford’, thus confusing countless generations. Jamie Ford’s debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is a New York Times bestseller, and has been awarded the 2010 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. It has been translated into twenty-nine languages. Having grown up near Seattle’s Chinatown, Ford now lives in Montana with his wife and children.

You can find out more about Jamie on his website and you can follow him on Twitter @JamieFord. You’ll also find him on Facebook.

4 thoughts on “Novel Versus Screenplay: A Publication Day Guest Post by Love and Other Consolation Prizes Author, Jamie Ford

  1. Tekoa says:

    This was just what I needed to read! HA! I was asked to do a creative edit on an authors first novel last week, as she has sold the screenplay and needs the novel cleaned up. I thought maybe we could swap some work, but I was given this definition below, and I must say I like Jamie Ford’s much better than this. . .

    Example of difference: The difference is a guy who hangs dry wall (editor) verses the Architect (screenwriter) who actually designed the building. Its very insulting to my level of education, and years in the industry writing.”

    Liked by 1 person

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