"It'd Make a Great Movie" = "I Have Unrealistic Expectations"

This has been bugging me for a while. I see it happen a lot. An author will be interviewed on a book blog or review site, and the author will say, "...And I think my novel would make a terrific movie or television show."

A lot of authors might feel this way. That's fine. But don't put it out there. They may as well say, "...And I have unrealistic expectations" or "...And I think my novel would make a terrific plaque to put up on the moon."

Movies shouldn't even be on your radar. You need to develop a following through your writing. That's how novels are converted to the screen. If they're going to happen, they'll happen. But until then, you need to stop being preoccupied with something that very likely will never happen.

You make novels, not movies. You don't see a lot of directors out there saying how their movies would make great novels.

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I stand corrected. Yes, now that you mention it---I probably did hear that at some time and forgot it. The book definitely read like a screenplay---and his earlier novels did not. No wonder it adapted so well.
It's a strange thing, but since I've watched the Frost series, I will always see the Jason character when I'm reading the books. It is true, that Wingfield's Frost is a good deal more disreputable that the character played by Jason, but I have no problem translating that man into the books. Jason strongly played the human side of Frost, and that counts for more than the disreputable one.

Some novels, because of their structure or dialogue or the premise, make excellent movies.  A lot depends on the director, screenwriter, actors, and the others working on the project.

A writer-turned screenwriter would have no control over anything, even the final version of their own screenplay, unless they were already very powerful like the case of J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter books. She had control and she didn't even write the screenplays.

Nothing wrong with an author wanting their book turned into a film or tv mini series.  I wonder how many screenwriters dream of their movie being turned into a book? 

Probably very few, which speaks to something about authors needing validation for their work. Why isn't print good enough? Why is a movie the be all and end all of success? For me, the ultimate validation would be to have my novel be considered a classic or required reading.
Frankly, I think many writers write with the thought in mind of making a movie. Each chapter is a 'scene' from a movie. I haven't met a writer of fiction yet who doesn't believe he tells a better story than most writers of movie scripts.
If envisioning chapters as scenes from movies leads to a more economical handling of dialogue and description, then it's not such a bad thing, really. :) After all, when I read any novel, it plays out in my mind's eye like a movie---I "see" the characters, the places, hear the dialogue. I would guess this occurs with most writers. Part of all writing is visualizing---then you bring that to life with language.
And sometimes a movie can bring a new dimension too.
Frankly, I thought the film of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" was absolutely gripping. I'd read the book, but didn't miss much of what the movie chose to leave out! I had my own image of Salander---but now it's Noomi Rapace, entirely. Maybe because she fit the template so perfectly.
After all, when I read any novel, it plays out in my mind's eye like a movie---I "see" the characters, the places, hear the dialogue. I would guess this occurs with most writers. Part of all writing is visualizing---then you bring that to life with language.

When I read a book I never visualize the scenes like a movie - I hear the story being told by the voice of the book. I prefer it to be the voice of a character (or a number of characters) and I sometimes accept it if it's the writer's voice (but not often ;)

But this is all just a matter of taste.
I hear the story being told by the voice of the book.

I hear that too. The "voice" of the book is part of what forms the images, I think. But what happens in my head is nothing conscious---it just happens, without any effort on my part---it starts as soon as I start to read. I'd say the book is generating the images, though sometimes scenes are filled in from places I've seen, but not always, and it's actually the same scenario if I re-read a book.

But this is all just a matter of taste.

Taste only directs my choices. It has nothing to do with how I visualize a book, because if I start reading a "bad" novel, I'll still see it. I might just stop if the "voice" doesn't grab me, or starts grating. . But this envisioning is congruent with the language and voices---there's no disjunction. Don't know how else to describe it. I seem to experience the language, or the books' voice, and my own "movie" simultaneously. This is what reading is for me. Maybe I "see" books unreel as movies because I'm a visual artist---but I've heard other people say the same thing happens with them. Maybe it's not accurate to say that I visualize a book as though it were a movie---but movies are the closest parallel, and my visualizations are like movies in that they never change, no matter how many times I read the book.

If I were writing, I'd probably start visualizing as I wrote. I assumed this was common among writers. But maybe not!
Caroline,

Usually when I read a book and then see the movie adaptation, I'm very disappointed. However, I totally agree with your assessment of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo." I thought the movie was much better and more focused than the book. And Noomi Rapace was absolutely terrific! I find it hard to believe that the upcoming Hollywood version will be any better.
I find it hard to believe that the upcoming Hollywood version will be any better.

I am sure it won't be, and I can't for the life of me figure out WHY they want to do it, unless it's the old Annie Oakley syndrome...."Anything you can do I can do better..." Or think that most Americans can't handle subtitles, so they have to make on in English. Or maybe get more cosmetically perfect actors. Where are they proposing to set the American version? And what on earth is the point? The original movie is topnotch, and Noomi Rapace is part of what makes it so.

I am sure there are plenty of Hollywood actresses who would kill to play Lisbeth Salander, but unfavorable comparison will surely be INEVITABLE. Or do they hope to find a prodigiously talented unknown who is also petite, skinny as a rail and flat-chested?

It's one thing to do a remake of a very "old" movie, or a classic (those usually fall flat too), but why would they do this with a film that's just come out? I have to wonder about the legality of it, but maybe it has something to do with the fact that the original movie is Swedish? They still have to use the same title, so how do they get the rights?
Never wasted a thought on making a movie out of one of my books. Still don't. It's tricky business unless you get a really topnotch production.
I do write scenes that I visualize.
unless you get a really topnotch production.

"No Country for Old Men" was a Coen Brothers film, and of course "The Shining" came from the great Stanley Kubrick. So it really does help to have gifted filmmakers, writers and directors.

I do write scenes that I visualize.

I would have guessed that, reading your books, because they ARE very visual. I think they would probably make very interesting movies.

Although there could be pitfalls. :) "Memoirs of a Geisha" was a fascinating novel, and got me very interested in the whole geisha culture, but the movie was an unqualified disaster. They used Chinese actresses, for Pete's sake, as if people couldn't tell the difference between one Asian and another, and that wasn't all....the dance performance was absolutely and totally WRONG---traditional geisha dancers were NOT doing flips and cartwheels, and they didn't take down their hair, either.
But you wouldn't expect the average American audience to know THAT.

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