Sunday, January 30, 2011

Books vs. Movies by Diane Kelly

As a novelist, perhaps it shouldn’t have been so surprising to me to have the recent epiphany that, hey, I’m now part of the “entertainment industry.” Duh, huh? Although I’ve been writing for years (and years and years!), it wasn’t until my first sale last July that I began to foray into the business side of writing.

I’m working on a book trailer for my debut novel now and it’s been both fun and eye opening. Unfortunately, I’m not the most technically savvy gal. I don’t mind using technology, as long as it works right, but I don’t want to have to understand how it does what it does or why. But, fortunately, I have a son who thinks computers rock and is more literate in computer language than English. He’s agreed to help me - for ten bucks an hour. Never mind that I’ve yet to charge him for laundry, cooking, and taxi services! Grrr… But he knows he holds all the cards and I’d be lost without him. Having a smart kid stinks sometimes.

A book trailer, like a movie trailer, is a short encapsulation of the story, and is designed to make readers want to rush out and buy the book. It’s been fun searching online for stock photos to use in the trailer, and developing a “script.” But one thing that has struck me is how difficult it is to find character photos that match up precisely to the mental images I’ve created in my mind of my novel’s cast. Which got me to thinking how movies provide a direct image, while with books the reader is given the task of creating their own mental picture - with the author’s guidance, of course.

Both books and movies can make the consumer feel and/or think, but a book provides much more mental exercise because a reader must form mental images. Surely this extra exercise is good for the brain. Too bad it doesn’t burn calories!

When a book is made into a movie, the result can be either spot on with the mental image the book provided or not. Have you had any experiences where a movie developed from a book has been surprising in some way? Grab a cup of coffee and let’s chat about it.


Christie Craig said...


Some books if I love them a whole lot, I don't want to see the movie. I'm afraid it will disappointment me. And I have seen one movie that I loved and then when someone told me an aspect that was in the book, that didn't happen it the movie, I was shocked. And I didn't want to read the book. LOL.

I think we get things in our heads and when people try to change them we rebell.

I was once told by someone who had read my book and then saw my book video that she did not understand why I chose that model. "That wasn't your hero," she said.

It didn't even matter that I had created him. She saw him in her mind.

Great post.


catslady said...

I prefer books. And I always want to read the book first and never the other way around. Once in a while they get it right but there is usually a lot missing but at least I can understand the movie better after having read the book. The last one I can think of was Wicked where they totally changed the ending - I hate it when they actually make major changes.

Mo said...

Ditto what catslady said. I have to read the book before I go see a movie. I dislike it when they make significant changes in a character like they have in Maura Isles in the Rizzolli and Isles television series from Tess Gerritson's books.

TerriOsburn said...

I can watch a movie based on a book provided I haven't read the book. With the exception of The DeVinci Code, all other book-to-film transitions are off for me.

I can't watch even a second of what Lifetime did to Nora's books. Irritates me just thinking about them.

Making a trailer for a book sounds like fun. I don't know who makes hers, but Toni Maggie Causey has the best ones I've ever seen.

Kima said...

I agree with everything said so far, especially the Nora Roberts movies and Rizzoli and Isles. I don't care for Bones, but since it supposedly takes place before the Kathy Reichs' books start, I guess that's just a personal preference.

The only movie I ever liked that was based on a book was The Pelican Brief, but I understand that Grisham wrote the book to be made as a movie with Julia Roberts in mind. Don't know if it's true or not, but that would explain how the movie is so close to the book.

Estella said...

I prefer books. Hardly ever watch a movie.

Diane Kelly said...

Thanks for stopping by! And I agree - I like to read a book before seeing the movie to know all the stuff the movie leaves out. It's like knowing an inside secret.

Michele L. said...

Ok, I am with the majority here that I love the books but the movies suck sometimes. I haven't seen a whole lot of movies that were from an actual book though. Now the Harry Potter books and movies were pretty good on the whole so they are the exception.

Amanda Brice said...

I absolutely have to read the book first. It's kind of fun to figure out what they've left out or changed. Sometimes it makes me mad, sometimes it actually improves the story. But usually the book is way better.