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'So much control'

3 May 2010

'A screenplay is really just a set of instructions, it doesn't actually have any value of itself. You can read a screenplay and be entertained by it but unless it's made, it's worthless. You're always thinking: 'How can we get this made? Is it as funny or dramatic or engaging as it can be? Will people pay to see it? Is someone else going to pay the money to make it? A screenplay is written entirely for other people; consequently, decisions you make with a screenplay are for technical, practical or financial reasons...

Writing fiction is inevitably much more personal. Not necessarily autobiographical, but much closer to your way of seeing the world, and much more demanding. I find it much harder. But that's also its great pleasure, that you have so much control. It's a personal form of expression as opposed to a screenplay where I think you're second-guessing the director or the producer or the audience.'

David Nicholls, author of One Day and many TV scripts, in the Bookseller