There are some serious connections between good movies and good fiction. That's why so many novels get made into films. Screenplay writers cultivate the ability to pull the best and most visual elements from a story and translate them into 100 pages of script.
If you're a novelist, learning to write a screenplay is important for two reasons. One, the skills you learn will help you write a better book. The second, though less likely is this. If your book is published, and gets optioned for film, you may have the opportunity to write the screenplay yourself.
The month of April is the perfect time for a screenplay education. The same folks that bring you NaNoWriMo every November also offer ScriptFrenzy each April.
The goal is to write a script of 100 pages during the month of April. Besides screenplays, writers are welcome to work on stage plays, TV shows, short films, and graphic novels. Also included are novel adaptations and radio scripts. Sign up is free.
Like NaNoWriMo, the ScriptFrenzy site offers tons of support. You'll set up a profile, and can message back and forth with those you meet. There's an active forum, where participants can discuss the particular genre of script they're working on, get questions answered, and find help when they're stuck.
The best part of the free site, which can be accessed even if you don't sign up, is the Writer's Resource page. Once you scroll through the long list of resources, you'll be as impressed as I was. Even if you never write a screenplay, the resources can help you in outlining, figuring plot twists, and creating realistic dialogue, just to name a few. Jump over there and at least bookmark the page. It's full of invaluable tools for writers of any type. And if you've never written a screenplay before and want to learn, all the info is in the resource section.
Though I'm not planning to write a script in April, I'm still considering a personal challenge to write 100 more pages on my manuscript. Three pages a day doesn't sound like much, but it would bring me to the end of my current novel. Anyone else up for the challenge?