This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
By Anna Bell
We’ve all read about it, the thing not to put in your cover letter to agents is that your book would make a great film. But even though your book is a book, I’m sure that there aren’t many authors, or aspiring authors, alive that haven’t fantasised about seeing their books come to life on the screen.
I remember editing a section of my novel Millie and the American Wedding, where the main character was standing alone on the dance floor, having had her heart broken from a life changing revelation, and I could imagine it clearly as a film scene. Millie would be standing there, battling back the tears and the song ‘Dancing On My Own’ by Robyn would be playing in the background. It was such a vivid scene in my head it was like I was watching it on film.
I know really I should worry about my books getting published before I start worrying about seeing my book adapted, or practising my acceptance speech for when I win an Oscar for best adapted screenplay (after I’ve written that too). But I sometimes just find myself in this little day dream.
I know I’m not the only one. I was at an event with an author shortly after they’d sold their film rights for one of their books. The author was, understandably, quite giddy with excitement that a massive Hollywood studio was potentially going to make her book into a film. Talk soon turned around the table as to who would play the characters in the film version.
But there are some authors who don’t want to see their books on the big screen. I know – I can’t believe it either. I recently watched the Channel 4 adaption of the wonderful Kate Mosse book, The Labyrinth. Apparently she didn’t want it to be made into a film as she felt too much of the story would be changed, and instead she wanted it to be a television drama. Firstly, it must be an amazing position to be in, to be able to turn down a movie, but for me if I had the choice of the two, would I really turn down the big screen?
Then there’s Audrey Niffenegger who wrote The Time Traveller’s Wife. That was a huge Hollywood adaption with Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams, a writers’ dream, right? I remember seeing an interview with Audrey Niffenegger and she said she hadn’t watched the film. Could you imagine having a film made of your book and not watching it?
But sometimes, the more I think about books versus the film adaptions, the more I wonder if the films are ever as a good as the book? The only one in my head that wins hands down is Captain Correlli’s Mandolin (but that’s more to do with me wanting a different ending in the book). But other than that… Maybe the Harry Potter films captured the essence of the books, but I’m struggling to think of a rom-com where the film is better than a book. Can you think of any?
Maybe Audrery Niffenegger and Kate Mosse are on to something, maybe Hollywood beckoning for my book is not what I should secretly day dream about. Although, I can’t quite help practising my acceptance speech for that Oscar in the shower…
What about you? Do you dream of seeing your book on the big screen? Or would you rather preserve the integrity of your book?