Monday, 22 July 2013

A book, a film – or both?

I didn’t think I was a fan of vampire fiction but I did enjoy reading The Radleys by Matt Haig. It’s about Peter and Helen, abstaining vampires who are so desperate to be accepted as a respectable, middle-class couple that they have kept their true nature secret even from their teenage children.

When I started reading the book I was a bit puzzled by the author's writing style. The whole story is told in the present tense and the chapters are very short, most only two or three pages long. At first, I thought this might be a ploy to entice younger readers – the book was originally written for adults but there is also a Young Adult edition - but then I discovered that The Radleys is being made into a film and suddenly the style made perfect sense. I don’t know if Matt Haig was looking ahead and thinking about film rights as he wrote the novel, but any filmmaker reading this book would be struck by how easily it could be rewritten as a screenplay. The chapters are really scenes and the present tense (he says, she walks, they sit down …) enables the reader to instantly ‘see’ the action as you do when watching a film.

I suppose the next step I should be aiming for – after the little matters of actually finishing my novel and getting it published – would be to have it turned into a film. But I’ve just realised that:
  •  my chapters all contain several scenes
  •  a lot of the ‘action’ takes place in character’s heads
  •  there are flashbacks with different characters having different memories of the same past events
  •  some of the ‘dialogue’ is in the form of thoughts
  •  none of my characters look remotely like any famous actors or actresses 

I could start rewriting the whole thing again …
But do I really want to commit to all that extra time?
No, I think I’ll just stick with what I’ve started – that’s difficult enough!

Do you have your sights set on Hollywood?


Friko said...

A blockbuster at the very least, that is after the book won the Booker . . . .

Patsy said...

Of course I'd be happy for someone to make one of my books into a film, but I don't write with that in mind.

Linda D said...

... but it's nice to dream!