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A Post About Movies and Books

Today’s post can be found at http://magicalwords.net, the group blog on the business and craft of writing fantasy that I maintain with fellow authors Faith Hunter, Misty Massey, A.J. Hartley, and Stuart Jaffe, among others. The post is called “Of Movies and Novels,” and it compares the storytelling techniques used in books with those used in creating films. I hope you enjoy it.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 17th, 2010 01:58 pm (UTC)
Magical Words told me I had to be logged in, and I didn't know what that meant, so I'm commenting here.

I liked your take on books vs. movies. I have a friend who holds that the best movizations (what is the verb for the opposite of a novelization?) are movies that come from short stories. He says that a movie really doesn't need much more than a long short story to fly...the problem with most books is that they are just way too long for what our current market allows in a movie (ie. basically 3 hours.)

I keep hoping that some TV station will take up the idea of long mini-series again. There are quite a few fantasy/sf books that could come closer to a good treatment if given ten or 22 episodes. The points you make about the differences would still stand, of course, but they could be truer to the original material than they are.
May. 17th, 2010 03:45 pm (UTC)
Hi Jagi,

Yes, you have to register now at MW in order to comment. We had troll issues..... I hope you'll take the time to register at some point; we love having your comments at the site.

I totally agree about short stories and films. Stand by Me, A River Runs Through it, 2001, Field of Dreams -- just a few of the terrific films based not on novels but on short fiction. I'd love to see TV go back to miniseries, too. The SciFi Channel's DUNE series was phenomenal. But miniseries cost a lot, as opposed to reality shows....
May. 17th, 2010 05:03 pm (UTC)
I'll register next time. Sorry about the trolls.

The movies made from Phillip K. Dick stories are the ones that got my friend thinking about this. He thought they did a good job.

Some of these serial TV shows are a lot like mini-series. What they need is a station that goes "Friday night at nine, we do a book. We take as many episodes per book as it takes, then we do a new book." Basically a f/sf version of something like Masterpiece Theatre.

Edited at 2010-05-17 05:03 pm (UTC)
May. 17th, 2010 10:39 pm (UTC)
You used "the studio" and "resaoned" in the same sentence. That's hilarious!

Well, if the story was an original idea, even though you wrote the novelization for it, then reading the book first would be my choice. And thus, more than likely mean that the movie came up short. Could see the movie first, but it would still work out the same. However, I'm thinking, that since the story is so well-known, generally, that this might be a unique instance where the book and movie can be seen as counter parts rather than poor adaptations of one or the other?

Number of characters. Yes, in a visual medium like TV or movies, there is a more limited number of characters that can be featured over that time span before it becomes too complicated. Hey, if Tom Clancy can have that many places and characters...books are much less limited there. A cast of 1,000's doesn't mean 1,000 story lines...

Nice post.

May. 18th, 2010 01:19 am (UTC)
I have to say that this Robin Hood story is not that well-known. This is not the traditional Robin Hood, which is part of why I think the script was so interesting. Unfortunately, I think it's also why the movie reviews haven't been so great. People are going in to the theaters with expectations and finding that they're not seeing the movie they thought they were paying to see. I think it's a more interesting story, but others seems to disagree. Anyway, thanks for the comment.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


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