This week I’ve been looking at novels compared to their screenplays. It’s been really interesting to read a chapter of the book and then read the equivalent bit of the screenplay. Sometimes 5,000 words is replace with two pages of talking, or a paragraph, or it is cut completely! The strange thing is that the screenplay does not seem to suffer for this loss.

It makes you realise how much of a novel is asides, superfluous back-story, world building, scene setting and description, none of which is needed in a screenplay. The thing is, it is these extra bits that make me love the novel. I like knowing that the lead character has been fighting a battle with mint Aero for most of his adult life, or that the heroine still blushes in her 30’s when she remembers embarrassing dating episodes from her early 20s. It is these little things that make us know the characters and feel like they are friends.

I do barrack for the lead character in a movie, they are written that way after all, but would I feel like they should know me if we passed on the street? No, they are just actors. Characters in books really move into your brain for a while, if we passed on a literary street I would expect them to at least look at me with a hint of recognition after all we have shared.

Having said all that, I do still love movies. I even love movies of books that I have loved. Some movies I even like more than the books, but they are very different beasts and my expectations are very different. I think I’d like to have a go at writing a movie of a book. Maybe one of my own 🙂

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