10 Successful Authors Who Became Screenwriters

While some authors are bold enough to try out many aspects of writing, some others are low-key & scared to try out their hands at other things. The screenplay is one such aspect that probably has gone through most authors’ minds but either they aren’t motivated enough to do so or they have no idea where to start. 

Even if you are an amateur writer, self published author, I recommend you read some screenwriting books before you start your journey in writing screenplays

However, in other cases, it can be the format of a screenplay or the idea of not being successful that stops one from trying to write them. But creative people always find a way. A great many successful authors have tried their creative magic both on paper and in visuals. Some have proved their skills in both. 

Here’s a look at 10 such authors who presented us with good screenplays.

1. Gillian Flynn

10 Successful Authors Who Became Screenwriters

Although not all the successful authors on this list have made a success out of their screenwriting career, Gillian Flynn definitely has. Her third book Gone Girl was an enormous success, selling around 2 million copies in the release year alone. 

Flynn was hired to write the screenplay of her own book for film adaptation. Later, the film after release turned out to be what we can consider one of the best screenplays in the 21st century. Her screenplay won the Austin Film Critics Association award under the category Best Adapted Screenplay. 

Buy her Books on Amazon

Buy the Gone Girl DVD on Amazon

Also Read : Top 10 Free & Paid Screenwriting Software Tools

2. George R. R. Martin

10 Successful Authors Who Became Screenwriters

Most of the people reading this article would know George R. R. Martin, all thanks to HBO’s Game of Thrones. Looking at how amazingly he created the high-fantasy world of A Song of Ice and Fire, it seemed his forte was high fantasy. But that is clearly not the case, as he has excelled in sci-fi and horror genres as well.

George R. R. Martin has worked on screenplays of The Twilight Zone, Max Headroom, and Beauty and the Beast. 

Get his books on Amazon

Also Read : Is the Screenwriting MasterClass Really Worth it?

3. J.K. Rowling

10 Successful Authors Who Became Screenwriters

This is the story of rags to riches and very few are there, who don’t know about it. Rowling’s story is something that inspires us all, especially the writers who want to make it big someday. She has many other successful works, but the Harry Potter franchise is the one to have reached an astronomical height.

While her screenwriting career wasn’t with the film adaptations of the Harry Potter books, it, however, was related to the same franchise i.e. Harry Potter. She wrote a screenplay based on her own book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Buy the Harry Potter books on Amazon

4. Margaret Atwood

10 Successful Authors Who Became Screenwriters

With notable works like The Circle Game, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Blind Assassin, etc, Margaret Atwood is definitely one of the most famous and successful authors. 

Two of her notable works were adapted to screenplays, but Atwood had no hand on it. However, she worked as a screenwriter for another television series and a movie.

Buy her book on Amazon

Also Read : 7 Best Udemy Courses to Learn Screenwriting Online

6. Cormac McCarthy

10 Successful Authors Who Became Screenwriters

With ten award-winning novels, Cormac McCarthy is someone who is important in the literary world and known for his interesting writing style. His most successful novel All the Pretty Horses was a New York Times bestseller.

Just like his novels, his original screenplay named No Country for Old Men, too, won awards. His other screenplay, The Counselor, was made into a film which, however, was not critically acclaimed.

Buy his other books on Amazon

Also Read : 10 Best Writing Courses on Coursera (Screenwriting Included)

6. Mario Puzo

10 Successful Authors Who Became Screenwriters

Mario Puzo, the creator of timeless mafia crime drama The Godfather, was hired to write the script for his own work. After the tremendous success of the first Godfather film adaptation, Puzo wrote for the next two films in the series.

Apart from these, Mario Puzo also wrote screenplays for Earthquake, Richard Donner’s Superman, and a few more. With the success of both his books and screenplays, we are bound to believe that his writing skills are top notch.

Buy his books on Amazon

Also Read : 14 Best Screenwriting Websites to Learn Writing Screenplays

7. Raymond Chandler

10 Successful Authors Who Became Screenwriters

Raymond Chandler didn’t mean to be a writer, but circumstances threw him in such a position, where he had taken up writing and excelled at it as though he was almost born for it. 

Chandler’s first screenplay was Double Indemnity, which was a hit neo/crime thriller, despite his having no sense of camaraderie with the director Billy Wilder. His other works include The Blue Dahlia, Strangers on a Train which was directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

Buy his books on Amazon

8. F. Scott Fitzgerald

10 Successful Authors Who Became Screenwriters

Fitzgerald is another successful author who had some contribution to Hollywood screenplay. Fitzgerald was a lucky man to be successful and make a steady income from his writing passion. But later, he went on to suffered financial struggles.

During an exclusive writing contract with MGM, he worked on screenplays like Gone with the Wind, Madam Curie, and some other works. While Gone with the Wind made it to screen, he wasn’t credited for the others. Three Comrades and Winter Carnival are two of the screenplays which he was credited for, however.

Buy his books on Amazon

Also Read : 18 Best Screenwriting & Filmmaking YouTube Channels

9. Ray Bradbury

10 Successful Authors Who Became Screenwriters

Bradbury is a very familiar name in the sci-fi genre. Modern science fiction has made a place in the literary mainstream because of Bradbury’s great contributions.

Bradbury wrote the screenplay for Moby Dick, which didn’t do well at the box office. His other screenwriting works included adapted screenplays of his own work, The Halloween Tree, The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit.

Buy his books on Amazon

Also Read : 16 Best Screenwriting Contests to Submit Your Screenplay

10. Agatha Christie

10 Successful Authors Who Became Screenwriters

The Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie, is one of the most successful crime novelists of all time. Her works include over 60 detective novels and short story collections. One of her most successful novels is The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, which was released in 1926 and is still read by many.

Although it is well-known to many of her fans, she wasn’t quite a fan of her work getting adapted into a screenplay. She did, however, work on the adaptation of her work The Wasp’s Nest for a television play. Apart from this, she also worked on a screenplay adapted from the novel Bleak House by Charles Dickens

Buy her books on Amazon

Also Read : 36 of the World’s Best Screenwriting Academic Programs

As we have come to the end of this post, it is important to mention that although some have taken up screenwriting for riches and some for glory, there are other reasons why you, as a writer, should try screenwriting. 

One of those reasons is that screenwriting will help you understand the heart of your story, as in what makes your story strong. A screenplay which is shorter compared to a novel will force your narrative to be filled with the strongest elements of the story.

About the Author

Sarang Padhye

Being an avid film buff and a content marketer, I started this blog to provide the best information on screenwriting and filmmaking. Screenplays is certainly where it all begins. However, I also provide writing and advertising tips regularly through my articles.

View All Articles