But here’s the thing, now there is a real chance that the Sophie Katz Mystery series will become a television series (although it's FAR from definite) and I’m being asked to make some real changes. Turns out real changes are much more daunting than theoretical ones. Go figure. Every time I’m asked to make a change a little voice in my head starts stammering, “But, but, but, that’s not the way it goes!” Fortunately most of these suggestions are delivered via email so I can scream, stomp my feet and pout in the privacy of my own home before writing up a very calm and politic email response.
Of course not all the suggestions are bad. Sometimes (once I’ve finished screaming and pouting) I realize that the suggestion in question is really quite good. But of course as soon as I make peace with the change another, more drastic change is put before me and then I have to add throwing things to my screaming-stomping-pouting tantrum.
The reality is that an author’s books are sort of her children (although admittedly I do love my actual child significantly more than my books but you know what I mean). When someone tells you that in order to adapt your books they will need to be changed in significant ways it’s like they’re telling you that your daughter has just walked into the office of a nearby plastic surgeon where she plans on getting a new nose and boobs. And now your daughter doesn’t even look like you! She’s transformed and been given a totally new image! It’s like your daughter is Cher! And all you want to do is shake your child and say, “What the hell was wrong with the family nose? I have that nose, and if it’s good enough for me it’s good enough for basic cable!”
But you can’t approach it that way. Children (and Hollywood power players) don’t respond well to hysterics. So instead you say, “Hey, I understand your need for a new look, but why don’t we just start with a little bit of collagen and take it from there?”
That’s where I’m at with this thing. I’m sitting with my daughter during her consultation with the plastic surgeon trying to find ways to enhance her natural beauty without totally changing her look.
And every once in a while I remind myself that no matter what the plastic surgeon does, he won’t alter the essence that makes my child unique. An essence that I helped to foster and develop.
And when I can remember that I don’t have such a big problem with the nose job.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I’ve always said that if my books were adapted to television I wouldn’t make a big deal about the changes Hollywood would want to make to my stories. I’m not an “artiste” and I know that what I’m writing is commercial fiction rather than high-minded literature. So I figured that if I was ever lucky enough to get my work adapted I would be understanding, even encouraging, of decisions to tweak or even out right change things in order to make my work more TV-friendly.