A Screenwriter Creates Potential, a Novelist Has to Fulfill It

A script is to a movie as a blueprint is to a building. So many of the things that will later be major, visceral aspects of the storytelling— cinematography, music, sound effects, costume, performance, the rhythm of the editing—are only just indicated or assumed, and will be realized by a team of talented collaborators. The fiction writer has to serve all those functions alone, with his prose, selecting information so a handful of notes let readers hear the symphony. A screenwriter creates potential—a novelist has to fulfill it.