Celluloid Intentions

There are books written because the authors feel like they need to say something while some people write because they are basically story tellers and weavers. But ultimately it is the manner in which the book is written that appeals to a reader. Just black print on a white page can effectively transport one to a different place, climate, circumstance or time. It could be a dark and stormy night on a sunny day; Victorian London, with orphan boys asking ‘Please Sir, can I have some more?’, while drinking coffee in Starbucks. The reader can either be sent off to a galactic empire while sitting in the midst of a Bangalore traffic jam or to the shires of Middle Earth.
It however seems that it is becoming a trend for people to write as a marketing exercise, to get famous and have an excuse to put their mug on news sites or newspapers and make a tonne of money from optioning the movie rights. Those books are written with a view to being converted onto screen, the stories being crafted to adapt more easily to celluloid, as the writer works more towards creating a story line rather than actually telling the story. Consequently the narrative ends up lacking depth and the flow of language which is required to draw the reader in is non-existent.
PS: But I think that the bland books that are written with a view to the screen end up being turned into equally blah movies like the Nickolas Sparks ones. They are read or watched once and soon forgotten.
LL: It’s sometimes so bad that the reader is even able to detect the actress the writer has in mind to star in the movie version.
PS: Funnily enough the books which perhaps the writers never intended to be seen on the silver screen turn out to be fabulous movies or shows. I don’t think JRR Tolkien had ever thought that The Lord of the Rings could be adapted to a successful movie franchise! But his books were turned into great films.
LL: Then there was Harry Potter and now Game of Thrones. Surely George RR Martin never imagined that someone would be brave enough to even consider converting his Fire and Ice books, with a gazillion characters, into a TV series with a massive cast of principals and thousands of extras.
PS: But despite my reservations about his books, I was very pleased to see GRRM attending the Emmy Awards where Game of Thrones swept the highest number of awards ever for a drama series. Is this finally the mainstreaming of fantasy?
LL: Ummm, I don’t think most people see it as fantasy. Just some kind of a historical story with dragons, violence and incest.
PS: Whatever, but because the books are so layered, they are interesting to read and watch. But his fans must have been unhappy to see him wasting time at the Emmy’s instead of working on the long overdue next volume.
LL: And there is of course the thrill of never knowing what comes next as the writer is capable of killing off practically anyone. But yes, the books were not initially intended to be transformed to television viewing.

The moral of the story is for writers, always, to write books for reading and not for movies to be made.


2 thoughts on “Celluloid Intentions

    • Thank you! There have been some very successful movies made in the past from books like The Guns of Navarone, The Bridge on the River Kwai and To Kill a Mockingbird, to name a few. Those books were probably not written keeping movie rights in mind.

      Liked by 1 person

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