Monthly Archives: March 2012

Books vs Movies: The Complementary Battle

Many avid book readers claim that novels are far better than the movies created in their wake. I’ll admit, they’re right. 99.999% of the time.

I’ve found very few movies that did the books justice, let alone were better. Particularly any of the classics. Pride and Prejudice, Ulysses, Jane Eyre. (no, the Twilight series is not considered a classic, nor will it ever)

Mainly because they can’t capture the inner minds of the epic characters we see in our heads as we read them on the page. Or is it perhaps our imaginations are far more brilliant than what’s depicted on screen? Or merely different, and then our expectations are let down.

One of the biggest examples of this is the Harry Potter series. There is so much detail of the witchcraft and wizardry world that the movies will never be able to capture, although they’ve done a fine job of attempting it, thanks to the advancements of computers and green screens. If the movies were able to depict every scene in the books, then each movie would be eight hours long. Particularly the last one; it would have been thirty hours. And who in their right minds would be able to sit in a chair and watch a movie that long?

Well, book lovers of course. And if they are going to sit in a chair that long, they’d rather be reading.

A few movies have come close to matching the same feelings I get from the book. Timeline by Michael Crichton. Here’s the odd thing: there were a few changes in the back-story of that film from the book of which I rather liked. It was a simpler explanation, more believable, and more poetic at the end. That, and I’m a sucker for Gerard Butler.

One movie changed it’s colors almost entirely from the book, and a classic one at that. If you’ve ever read The Count of Monte Cristo, you’ll know the movie is almost completely different. The prison break scene seems to be the only matching event. The ending is completely different. And the movie leaves out an entire set of characters that are so vibrant and alive in the book. I never would have known that had I not read the book. I’ll admit, I saw the movie first. But redeeming factor here, it compelled me to read the novel. Of which I liked much more than the movie.

Nevertheless, I will always watch the movies. I go into the theater (or plop onto my couch) knowing that the book will always have an advantage over the screen depiction.

What about you? Are there any movies that you liked as much as the novel? Or even better? I’m curious to see if there are any out there.

What’s In a Name? A Bunch of Letters

Recently I’ve been thinking about what name I should use as a writer. I’d never really given this much thought before. I always assumed I’d use my real last name. It’s unique, definitely makes people pause at it to figure out how to pronounce it. But a recent discussion with a friend and a few other observations made me realize that most writers have pen names.

The reasoning for a pen name (instead of using their real name) is different for every writer. The usual- you don’t want readers to know your real last name for security purposes. You know, those fanatical readers who’ll look up your home address and phone number and come knocking or ringing at 3am. (Who does that?)

At least, that’s the major reason that comes into my head as I ponder this conundrum.

Or, you don’t want close friends or family members to know what you write Example: you write erotica and your family is from the Land of Zion. Or you write Christian Fiction when your best friends are radical Muslims (if that’s the case, you have much bigger problems to worry about).

I’ve come across other reasons that are much more capitalistic in nature. They want a last name in the middle of the alphabet, because their books will be at eye

Eye-Level Shopping

level in the middle of the bookshelf at a bookstore. Thereby increasing their chances that a browsing reader will pick up one of their books first (goes into a lot of market research. Much like in a grocery store. Eye level products get purchased drastically more often).

I’d heard of another author who changed the last name of their ‘nom de plume’ to the middle name of a beloved family member. As an honorarium kind of thing. Very sweet.

Or perhaps their real last name is way too complicated. Mesostophilorgos

Readers would run from trying to pronounce that. And, how would that even fit on the front of a book cover?

All of these thoughts made me wonder perhaps I should consider writing under a different name. Yes, my last name is unique. But is it too unique? I’ve rarely encountered a person who pronounced it correctly the first time. Or second. Or fifth. (It’s become quite entertaining)

Sheehey

Pronounced ‘Shee-hee’

But more often I hear “Shay-hay”… “Shee-lee”… “Hee-shee”… “Shee-hay”. And then finally… “Hey-You”

Would being unsure of how to pronounce an author’s name deter readers from picking up their novel? Among the thousands of options around it?

I could use my maiden name. It’s in the middle of the alphabet.

Nicholson

But then would people assume I’m related to Jack Nicholsonand write horror

Crazy Uncle Jack

stories much like ‘The Shining?’ I’m sure we’re related somewhere down the line, but it’s not like I call him crazy Uncle Jack or anything.

Hmm… what’s that rule about using your old street name and a favorite pet’s name? Oh wait… that’s an entirely different industry.

Finished My Rough Draft

Major milestone, people!

After plotting for 2 months and writing for 5 months, my first draft is complete on novel #3.

*Commence happy-dance, ala Steve Carrell*

Happy Dance

Couldn’t be happier! And it’s about 3 weeks ahead of my goal I set earlier this year. That never happens. It’s about 70,000 words and I know I have several scenes I need to add/adjust (I’d like to be closer to 80,000 words), but I’ll take care of those during revisions. But how often do people reach this milestone?? I feel like I need to celebrate with a bottle of wine or something! Coffee isn’t enough of a celebratory drink.

Once I’m done with my hurrah cocktail,  I need to get back to work. I’ll set the first draft aside and work on my second novel’s revisions. That one needs a crap-load of fixing! Which means, I’ll need to pass that through my critique group. I love their ideas, and above all their honesty. I also need to write the query letter and synopsis for the second novel (which I’m sure I’ll also send through my friends). Hopefully I’ll be ready to query that one to agents and editors starting around May.

But weeks like this make me feel so justified. I accomplished something.