books vs. movies
Supposedly, Americans watch 28 hours of TV per week. I find that slightly hard to believe, consider that I watch about six and think that is high and I should be watching less. Then again, I barely watched thirty minutes when I was a child.
Anyway, I don’t mind TV. One thing that’s really nice about TV is that I can do something while watching it. I like knitting but to sit on the couch and knit for forty-five minutes seems like a waste of time. However, sitting on the couch for forty-five minutes knitting and watching TV does not.
What I don’t like is when people decide to make books out of movies. Yes, there are some really good books to moves out there. Princess Bride is very good. (But what do you expect with the author, who had previous screen writing experience, writes the script?) Lord of the Rings is good. I’m sure if I thought harder, I could come up with other good ones. However, the fact is they aren’t all that common. (Well, neither are really good movies.)
Now, what I have seen happen is a really good movie is out there and I find out it’s a book as well. Never would have guessed and probably don’t even want to read it. It would ruin the movie. In all practicality, books and movies should never cross.
So why do I bring this up now? I was reading an article about “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” is going out to movie (never heard of the book to be honest) and it reminded me of all the really bad books to movies out there.
Ever read Eragon? I, will admit, was being hard on the book due to the negative reviews I’ve heard but it was not that wonderful. Maybe a 2 on a 5 star scale. The movie was worse. It didn’t even resemble the book and they felt like they had to add tension by showing what was going on with the bad guy, only, it came up lame and like an evil maniac.
Unfortunately, I can’t think of any more really bad book to movies right now besides Sense and Sensibility, and I have to take my sister’s word on that one.
The fact is though that books-to-movies don’t really come out. This becomes hard because sometimes, as i write, I can almost imagine my story as a movie form. Natlie’s there, in the pouring raining, trying to rebuild the crossbows and the dragon lands behind her. The poor little creature looks so miserable. She cautiously steps towards it. It would just be so perfect!
Never will happen though. Why? Because I’ve seen too many good books ruined by bad movies. Moreover, movie makers want to ruin your book. I’m convinced of it.
I heard a book intro from Orson Scott Card about trying to get Ender’s GAme made into a movie. Besides the problem of there isn’t enough children actors that are good, movie companies want to make Ender about 16, instead of the 12 he is in his book. Card is determined to have Ender be 12, because otherwise the story doesn’t work well and they want to have him have a love interest. A love interest in that book will not work.
So, from my position on my living room couch as an unpublished, unknown writer, I don’t think I’ll never agree to get my book turned into a movie, no matter what they say to me.
What I do think would be awesome to do, however, is take some of those older books that were writing in the 1800s, and make them into a TV show, one season for one book. Books by people like Charlotte Mary Yonge, that took my mom almost a month or two to read to use aloud every school day. (You can download a copy of one of her books there. Highly recommended, especially if you like Jane Austin.) If they were done well, there just might be enough people watching it.
i’ve never been much of a fan of Harry Potter. I’ve always said, however, that Rowlings should never write more after she finishes with the series. She should just finish with Harry Potter and never write a single story about that universe again.
I’ve also said that, no matter how famous of a series I was to write, I would never write more than I planned. It isn’t right. Just, finish with the universe and be done with it.
Why? Because I hate it when authors find a universe they feel comfortable in and just keep writing it, having everything tie back to the stories. (If you desire an example, Ted Dekker’s circle Trilogy. Pretty decent three books for mainline Christian. But he then writes a Paradise series that references it. (Horrid book, the first one BTW) And he writes two or three other series based off of that one. Ick, ick, ick, all of them. Will not read or recommend any of Ted Dekker’s series books again because of it.) It gets to the point that It’s like, give up already. Can’t you write something new and original by now?
Anyway, I finished watching Lord of the Rings today. (I’ve been watching all three over this Christmas break.) It’s strange. I started looking at it automatically from a literary point of view.
Just think of thinks. Tolkien designed a geographic location with such details as the plains, and those plains and cities and each city has its own history. My dad is explaining stuff the movie does not and it is amazing how much detail just goes into everything.
Then, he creates a language. At least one, where he has Elvish.
He creates each species of the people: men, dwarfs, elves, hobbits, orcs, the other ugly creatures, wizards, not to mention goblins, eagles, dead, mountain men, and anyone else I forgot. Each of these people have pretty much their own history developed as well, so example it is believable and awesome.
Now that Tolkien as created this world, he writes about it. And he doesn’t write about it for just one little story. He writes it in three, separate, huge novels, probably on a typewriter, so it isn’t as easy to change things as it it is now. He draws it together in such a way that the three novels, although, yes, they lag (i’ve only listened to Fellowship of the Rings.), but there is so much in them that it is stunning and beautiful and you can practically see it as you write and as you think about it.
Then it’s over. The maps go away. The dictionary guidelines you wrote get stored in the bottom drawer. The notes are useless now. And it’s over, just like that. Middle Earth slowly fades away.
But you still love it. Your home is back there amid the shire and the elves and hobbits and wizards. It’s like your special, magical place and the characters in the stories are your friends. You still think about them, even though the story is over.
As such, I understand now why authors go back to their masterpieces. Their masterpieces have their whole spirit inside of it. It’s like going home and writing about home. And even I did that with Kontyo. It’s the same universe; if anyone was to read Shad, they would see the similarities and they would recognize the story.
On another note, I’ve been thinking about creating my own Galaxy, since I write science fiction. The idea behind that is if I can create a believable enough galaxy, and have all my stories operate within this general area, I will eventually have such a complex universe that it is very believable, with all sorts of background and details and things. However, since it is as large as a certain area of the galaxy, the stories will never really overlap and become icky. Toss in different dates and things become even murkier, but just as awesome I would think.
I’m still playing with this idea, but I think it is something plausible. As much as I love creating worlds, eventually I’ll want to go back to something new I would think. Obviously, not everything would be. I still have a current world comedy I hope to write someday. But I think it would be interesting to pursue. (And I have the time too, to develop such a complex place, seeing as I have a good fifty years of writing ahead of me.)
I write because pen and paper are cheaper than heroin and needles.