Books, Fancy, Movies/TV series, Writing

Adaptations: Every Reader’s Dream?

By Luke Parkes

It’s every reader’s dreams to see their favourite book on the big screen, but would it leave you disappointed?

The fact is the alterations made from novel to screen can be either a huge hit or an epic failure. It really depends on how filmmakers “translate” a full-length novel to the screen and how the reader responds to it. I will delve into the reasons behind changes and how readers can interpret the film adaptation as its own entity.

Tomorrow, When the War Began

Corrie says to Ellie in the film Tomorrow, When the War Began that her book is “better than the movie,” to which Ellie comments, “Yeah, books usually are.” I have to agree with Ellie there; books are usually better than the movie. Yet you’ll be surprised how many films are based on literature.

In the article Adaptation: From Novel to Film, it was estimated by John Harrington that if you include all the literary forms—such as novels, drama and short stories—the percentage of film adaptations might well be 65% (or possibly even more). It shows that most of the films are based on literature.

Most of the classic novels have been adapted to the screen at least more than once, such as Sherlock Holmes, which has over 200 adaptations. Some of the classic novels have been adapted to both a different time and setting, such as Cruel Intentions, an adaptation of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses, which is set among wealthy teenagers in modern New York. Filmmakers decide this so the film can be more appealing toward younger and older audiences, as well as for both sexes.

Many people in the world, including myself, rave about a favourite book being adapted into a TV series or movie. I am excitedly anticipating the film Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters (out February 14, 2014), which is based on the first book in the six-part series by Richelle Mead. If the author says the movie looks great, then it’s going to be great, right?

Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters

However, many other people fear that screen adaptations won’t do the book justice. All the omitted scenes, characters, dialogue, backstories and other details are the most troubling aspects in adapting from novel to screen. Changes, though, are made for several reasons. In the case of adapting a novel, the filmmakers have to cut scenes, characters, dialogue, backstories and other details to make a two hour long movie. Also, sometimes the filmmakers will make other changes to make it slightly—or possibly a great deal—different to the novel, so they get more than just the readers on board.

Some adaptations stick closely to the novel. I have seen many adaptations that only have very minor changes from the original novel, such as the film Tomorrow, When the War Began. None of the alterations made a difference to the plotline, like the omission of Ellie’s confused feelings for Homer in the film, which is “A-OK with me, as that was my least favourite part of the book,” says Aftran from Aftran’s YA Book Reviews.

Other changes can be major. I have seen many adaptations that divert from the book, like the television series The Vampire Diaries, based upon the novels by L.J. Smith. Excluding the first few episodes, it has developed in its own way, making it seem more like its own entity. Characters’ personalities and roles are different and the storyline takes on a completely different direction. One difference that anyone would notice is that in the show Elena has brunette hair and is really “sweet and caring and tough,” says Jenny from Forever Young Adult, while in the book she is blonde and “whiny and mean and snobby,” says Talya.

Cruel Intentions

Changes can have bad effects on movies, as well. Most reviews on the film Eragon, based upon Christopher Paolini’s debut fantasy novel, talked about the lacklustre acting, dialogue, and lack of pace, with a reviewer saying, “The only solid piece of real acting comes from the voice over work of Rachel Weisz.” An alteration from the book is when Eragon and Brom kill the Ra’zac, who aren’t actually killed until Brisingr, book three. Of course, not all reviews are negative; in fact, there are plenty of positive reviews, such as “It’s still a pretty good movie though.”

Always look to the positive side. When it comes to reading, you can visualise a movie playing in your head; whoever you’d cast in the movie, however the locations would look, that power is in your hands. For an adaptation, it allows everyone to see someone else’s interpretation, which gives readers an opportunity to compare and contrast to their own.

It’s true: every reader’s dream is to see his or her favourite book on the big screen. The question is: will it leave you disappointed? Yes, there will be disappointments, I admit, but you know what? Changes are inevitable, and it depends on how filmmakers “translate” a full-length novel to the screen and how the reader responds to it. Readers, like me, should enjoy the book and film for their own qualities.

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Fancy, Writing

Excellent Articles in my Pocket

Time zooms by when you’re having fun, May is gone and it is midyear already! One of the ways I manage my hectic schedule is by putting articles aside into the Pocket application on my phone and tablet for later reading (like when I am waiting for my brothers after school).

Below are some of the articles I have saved, read and loved lately:

Writing Novels Teens Want To Read, by Diane Lee Wilson at writingteennovels.com

Diane Lee Wilson imparts some tips for writing for the teen audience amid the context of the faced paced, social media-driven world.

Creating your one page business plan and path to profit, by Natalie at suitcaseentrepreneur.comsuitcase entrepreneur

This is a great post to take you through the creation of a one page business plan, Natalie has many amazing resources and posts on her site.

Writing the Kind of Novel You Want To Write, by Lish McBride at writingteennovels.com

This writer talks about choosing the genre of your story and how sometimes what you write isn’t the type of the novel you envisioned you’d write.

12 Reasons I’m a Minimalist, by Dan Garner at zenpresence.com

He presents 12 real reasons he is a minimalist. It’s a great post and I agree with his reasons.

Novelicious Chats To… Lucy Clark, by Debs Carr at novelicious.comTen books to read all about authors

This site has lots of great reviews and interviews with authors asking things like what is your writing day is like and what inspires them.

How to Push Your Characters to Their Limits, writersdigest.com

This site has many excellent articles that I get delivered to my inbox in newsletters and I always send them to Pocket to read later.

The Greatest Books of All Time as Voted by 125 Famous, by Maria Popova at brainpickings.org

I haven’t read all the books on their list, but including The Great Gatsby in the top ten works of the 20th century inclines me to read on. Anna Karenina is number one and Emma is number ten in the top ten works of the 19th century. Jane Austen is number four out of the top ten authors by number of books selected. I’m happy.

buffy summersHow Buffy Summers Made Me a Feminist, by a male reader at hellogiggles.comHello giggles

Articles like these are why I love Hello Giggles! Funny, irreverent and well written.

Fancy, Writing

Thanks for the Liebster Blogging Award and 11 More Blogs You Should Check Out

liebsterThanks so much to ATRAGER (Arielle) for nominating us for the Liebster Award! It’s an award passed on by bloggers to new blogs worth reading (blogs with less than 200 followers). It’s very exciting to be nominated, and in turn to nominate 11 others!

Recipients of the Liebster Award must:

  1. LIST 11 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT YOU.
  2. ANSWER THE QUESTIONS THAT WERE ASKED OF YOU (BY THE BLOGGER THAT NOMINATED YOU).
  3. NOMINATE 11 OTHER BLOGS FOR THE LIEBSTER BLOG AWARD AND LINK TO THEIR BLOGS.
  4. NOTIFY THE BLOGGERS OF THEIR AWARD.
  5. ASK THE AWARD WINNERS 11 QUESTIONS TO ANSWER ONCE THEY ACCEPT THE AWARD.

11 FACTS ABOUT US:

1. Melissa (M): I have just started my own business.
 Luke (L): I am a human encyclopedia in pop culture.
2. M: I adore all things Jane Austen.
L: I adore music—especially Demi Lovato (she’s inspiring and awesome).
3. M: My dog Coop is my favourite creature in the whole world.
L: I would love to be a singer!
4. M: My favourite colour is pink (I drive a pink car).
L: My favourite colour is turquoise.
5. M: I love Dolly Parton.
L: My favourite book genres are urban fantasy and dystopia
6. M: I’m proud to be a Kiwi (New Zealander).
L: I love to write (of course).
7. M: I haven’t yet travelled passed Australia.
L: I’d like to go to L.A. one day.
8. M: My dream is to make a living from my writing.
L: I’m a cat and dog lover!
9. M: My favourite style icon/fashionista is Jessica Alba.
L: Whitcoulls (book store) is my favourite store.
10. M: I’m always up for a Harry Potter marathon.
L: One of my most favourite TV shows is 
Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
11. M: Vin Diesel, Will Smith, and The Rock are my top three guys.
L: I have a huge crush on Delta Goodrem.

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS POSED BY ATRAGER:

  1. What’s the last song you listened to?
    M: “If That’s What it Takes,” Celine Dion. L: “Made in the USA,” Demi Lovato
  2. Why did you start your blog?
    M: I just wanted to write! 
    L: Me too!
  3. Chocolate or vanilla?
    Both: Vanilla
  4. What’s your favourite place that you’ve travelled to?
    M: Anywhere green, off-road in NZ. L: The Rotary Walkway in Auckland
  5. Advice for other bloggers?
    M: Write about what you love—reading and writing are prominent in my life, I think, breath and dream about these things—it makes it easy to put time into it. L: Couldn’t say it better.
  6. Never have I ever ____
    Both: Crossed over to the Northern Hemisphere.
  7. Do you always match you socks?
    M: Yes! I don’t think I could survive knowing they were unmatched. L: Of course!
  8. What’s one quote you really like? Inspiration or otherwise
    M: “What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.” ~Unknown L: “When I’m sad I stop being sad and be awesome instead.” ~Barney Stinson (played by Neil Patrick Harris) in How I Met Your Mother
  9. What do you want to be remembered by?
    M: Those who I loved and our relationship. L: Same!
  10. Do you believe in love?
    M: Yes! It is vital! L: Totally. How can I not?
  11. When was the last time you called someone on the phone?
    M: Yesterday. L: A couple of weeks ago.

11 QUESTIONS FOR OUR NOMINEES

  1. What is the last classic novel you’ve read?
  2. What is your best accomplishment so far?
  3. Sweet or savoury?
  4. Who is your favourite artist/singer?
  5. Which country have you always wanted to go to?
  6. What is your favourite book?
  7. What inspires your blog posts?
  8. How do you gather data to use on your blog?
  9. What’s your favourite social media tool?
  10. Cat or dog person?
  11. If you had to cast a scene entitled “Uncomfortable dinner party,” what three people would you cast?

OUR NOMINATIONS:

  1.  Honest Speaks 
  2. Her Cup of Tea
  3. Beautiful Again
  4. jessicaminiermabe 
  5. Growing Wild Farm
  6. Broken Strings and Pretty Things
  7. Booker Talk
  8. Life As We Know It
  9. 365 Stories in 365 Days
  10. Crissi Reads
  11. Abigale Robyn Brown
Books, Fancy, Writing

Digital Sabbatical and Fun Links

The Host – Movie Tie-in

After a few challenging weeks, it seemed like a good time to declare a time out. So…I am going to refuel my dwindling energy tank and ignore the internet for the weekend. Before I sign off, turn the connections off on the cell phone, and relax, I thought I would send a few fun links of articles I have come across this week:

We are finally going to see The Host, so this interview with the author might interest you.

This interview with Jodi Picoult is a good five-minute read.

What Being a Writer Taught Me—a post about the author-entrepreneur.

I am currently zooming through The Secret Circle: The Temptation, but not before finishing and reviewing The Indigo SpellThese are nice reprieves from the heavier non-fiction books I’m reading at the moment.

Ten Books…All About Writers on Novelicious.com.

Whatever you have to do this weekend, try to schedule some fun activities that refuel your tank, and then Monday will be exciting rather than dreaded.

http://typeaparent.com/
http://typeaparent.com/
Writing

The Quest for Writing Mentors

I have recently completed a Magazine Journalism course, and because of this, I have become very analytical in my magazine reading.

I have been visiting the library for old magazines, for examples, Vanity Fair, Good Reading and some of the fashion magazines. Buried behind pages of fashion are often polished examples of well-written articles in magazines like Harpers Bazaar.

Harper's Bazaar March 2012Harper’s Bazaar:

“It’s the penultimate night of London fashion week and the city is near hysterical with the accumulated buzz of non-stop shows and parties.” (p.143)

“Thirty seconds into a trip from a downtown Manhattan hotel to JFK Airport and my driver starts firing off questions.” (p180)

“Madonna lives behind high, spike-topped, black metal walls in three townhouses joined into one on New York’s Upper East Side. I had to manage my covetous feelings as I was ushered…” (p230)

Set the scene and hook them in, in one sentence that is hard work! But I was hooked and they were good articles. I didn’t even really care about the topics of the articles, but I enjoyed them!

I’ve become lately acquainted with the Australian Women’s Weekly New Zealand Edition. My age group (being pre-30s) is not their main concern, but the content is right up my alley. Thought-provoking articles on a wide array of topics from actors, to monarchs, to travel, architecture, books, movies, health—the list goes on. To summarise their celebrity interviews and articles in one word, “humane.”

Mindfood April 2013A long time favourite, that has just celebrated its fifth year in production, is MiNDFOOD magazine. A lot of the description for the AWW New Zealand Edition, above, applies to MiNDFOOD. And the April 2013 edition has taken them a step further ahead of the field, more content (to compliment their online offerings), sustainably produced paper, in-depth, excellent articles and a genuine passion for people, the world and environment.

Take the Story “A Life Well Lived” (April Edition, pp136-147) written by Editor-in-chief Michael McHugh. After nine full pages of delicious photos of designer Carol Sills’ home, we come to the opening words of the article: “Fashion designer, Caroline Sills, tells a good story. As we sit on her front verandah looking out over a reserve in Devonport, Auckland, with the Waitemata Harbour sparkling across road, she has me in fits of laughter as she recounts her travels through the Amazon and being chased by the local Romeo while catching piranhas.” This is just an example of what you’d find in MiNDFOOD, good pictures and good articles.

The course has finished, but the apprenticeship is in full swing.

Writing

On The Evolution Of Storytelling

The act of storytelling has evolved with the proliferation of new ways to share stories. Storytelling was once a personal tale, shared with intimate friends/family, now it is shared on the internet to unknown audiences worldwide. From verbal stories passed from generation to generation, to published books and magazines, to online open books and magazines, to blogging—we have charted a course from unstructured to rigidly structured and back again.

From http://www.clipartpal.com
From http://www.clipartpal.com

For my work, I have been learning about the use of storytelling in research and evaluation. More specifically, utilising Digital Storytelling to share the stories that aren’t being heard or are being covered in a less than empowering manner, in the mainstream media.

Wikipedia defines Digital Storytelling as, “a relatively new term which describes the new practice of ordinary people who use digital tools to tell their ‘story.’” It is being used in a multitude of ways, including being a mouthpiece for those who are usually ignored.

We have YouTube, blogs, vlogs, online magazines, Twitter, Facebook and many other avenues for sharing stories available to us and if one wants to make a career of writing, they must utilise most of these.

Sharing stories has become easier. Becoming a writer, for a career, has become much harder. A writer must not only write an excellent book, but they must also develop a platform of followers utilising social media, they must tour and actively promote their book. They must also produce a book a year and somehow squeeze in a few short stories.

It appears to be much more than a full time job. When one applies for a position, either they tend to apply for a full time position (40 hours) or, like me, they apply for a 30-hour position because they cannot physically bear any more than that if they are to go home and scribble some musings.

Is the only way to be a successful writer to load ourselves with the equivalent of 1.5-2 full time jobs? If so, are we then missing the stories that those who cannot stretch this far could contribute? With chronic illness on the rise, around 1 in 25 with Fibromyalgia (chronic pain & fatigue), are we contributing to this epidemic?

Is the paradox of modern storytelling that it is easier to share but harder to create?

I am immensely grateful that I have a platform on which I can write about my passions. It is certainly exciting to watch the unfolding of this evolution, but I want to be wary also. If we are spending hours on our computer for work and then for our reading (and more for writing, if we do), then when are we creating relationships? When are we moving and doing things that are natural for our bodies?

I suppose it is all about balance and this is what I am watching most keenly, the alternative streams opening up in which entrepreneurial people are utilising these changes and making a living as a writer, while keeping it balanced.

Four bloggers/writers that inspire me:

  1. I adore Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens who blogs (about “tiny homes, simple living, entrepreneurship, and more”), has written books, photographs, and offers online courses.
  2. One can hardly mention alternative living and online writing without mentioning Leo Babauta of Zen Habits, who has published a number of books, runs a few blogs, has simplified his life, and chronicled it online. On his site mnmlist.com he says, “You can make money as a writer or website creator without ads, without being a slimy marketer. Just build an audience by being useful and trustworthy, then help them with books, courses, software, a service, or whatever you can create that helps them even more deeply. Making money by helping people? Now that feels good.” I personally really identify with his messages.
  3. Courtney Carver of Be More With Less is also an inspiration to me. She has built a business out of her writing (about minimalism and a simple life) and also offers courses and has written a few books.
  4. I have just started Nina Amir’s How to Blog a Book, which she wrote through blogging a post at a time. This evolution of storytelling is something I can aspire to (one post at a time!).

We are in exciting times and I am looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.

Who else is inspiring you in their journey as a writer/blogger?

Fancy, Uncategorized, Writing

Blog Love

I have been meditating on my online travels lately and, as a result, I have created a new page “blog love” where I have begun a list of websites that I regularly read, check out their Facebook page and/or receive emails.

Given the hours I must sit at the computer for work, I am careful about my online time. So I only subscribe to websites I really love. I ‘like’ a lot more pages through Facebook and click through at my own leisure. There are some high quality blogs/websites/online magazines out there just waiting to be found. The world of reading is being wholly revolutionised before our eyes!

Below are three sites I can’t get enough of at the moment:

Movelifestyle

Today, I found Autumn Reeser’s online magazine, Move LifeStyle, and I am in love! It is a beautiful site with great articles. One of the first posts I saw was “My Love of Coffee”, so I was hooked.

Yourzenlife

Your Zen Life is a cute, girlie, wellbeing site run by Phoebe Tonkin and Teresa Palmer . I only found this recently and it has become a fast favourite.

Hello giggles

Hello Giggles is a gorgeous, off-centre site founded by Zooey Deschanel and friends, that has long been a favourite.

Are there any websites that you can’t get enough of?