Writing characters that can be adapted for the screen

In a previous role I was lucky enough to meet with one of the CEOs of a pretty major animation studio.

They were looking for children’s fiction with non-human protagonists who, rather than being children, were childlike.

Think Shrek and Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey.

As an aspiring writer I also know that the prevailing advice when writing for children is to make the protagonists the same age or slightly older that your target reader.


Of course, not all producers are looking for the same thing. Plenty of rights are still being acquired in children led chapter books, like Jen Storer’s Truly Tan series or the Alice Miranda movie based on the series by Jacqueline Harvey.

So, who should you be writing for. The publishers? The producers?

With the optioning frenzy and adaptation boom we’ve seen in recent years I wouldn’t be surprised if publishers are already skewing their acquisitions towards what they’re being asked for from producers anyway.

Scouts from networks and streaming services are talking more and more with publishers about big- and small-screen options at earlier stages of negotiations, in many cases before the ink on a book deal is even dry.

– The Atlantic

Ultimately, we all know we can’t game the market and the best bet is to write for ourselves.

And if you’re a producer, start spreading the word about what you’re after. It might just give writers the permission they need to break out of the industry mold.

As for me, I’ll keep plugging along at my chapter book series and hope, when the time comes to submit, it’s exactly what everyone is looking for.

Leave a Reply