Differences between writing novels & movies

In
InklingBooks
Posts: 504
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 11:16 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Auburn, AL USA
Contact:

Mon Jul 04, 2011 3:38 pm Post

David Hewson has been chosen to turn the internationally popular, multi-production TV series "The Killing" into novels. On his blog, he has some helpful comments on how writing a novel is different from writing a movie or TV script.

http://www.davidhewson.com/blog/2011/7/ ... logue.html

Here's one example:

Dialogue in a book needs more substance than lines in a movie or TV play. The context needs to be created quite consciously, through the passages preceding and following the speech. Actors can fill holes through the way they act, speak, respond to other players in the scene. An author has to manage the same trick the only way he can: with words. As few as possible, but they have to be there.


He's an excellent writer, so his blog is well worth following.

User avatar
Siren
Posts: 758
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 11:29 am
Platform: Mac + iOS
Location: U.K.

Mon Jul 04, 2011 4:19 pm Post

Wow! That is an assignment and a half! I missed the original BBC4 screening, so had to buy The Killing on DVD - and promptly got sucked in, unable to leave the television for hours on end, and forced to ration my viewing to retain some sort of shadowy vestige of normal life.

No end of quandaries to solve in adapting something like this... for example, how much prominence do you give to The Jumper? :D

Best of luck to David with this exciting venture.
Literature & Latte support team

User avatar
vic-k
Posts: 7135
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2007 8:23 am
Platform: Mac + Windows
Location: Protesting in the nude, outside ex Red Lion TESCO Store

Mon Jul 04, 2011 9:16 pm Post

Siren wrote:unable to leave the television for hours on end,
Bloody 'ell! :shock: How did y' go on for your substance abuse. I'll bet your better 'arf, 'n', kids gave you a wide berth.

I found a copy of, Alien, at work, donkey's years ago. It's my all time favourite read...it's as scary as hell! The book is the novelization of the screenplay. The movie, not surprisingly, is my all time favourite movie. Scary as hell. Novelization of a screen play does work, but I have to qualify that by saying, in certain circumstances.

The Americans have just released their version of The Killing. With the best will in the world, I couldn't sit through it, knowing, 'WHO DONE IT!'. What would be the point? I may as well be watching, 'Corry', or, 'Eastenders'.

I'm becoming a Hewson/Costa junkie, only tonight, have I downloaded and read, Dave's, 'Dead Men's Socks', on my kindle, and ordered five Nic Costa novels from Amazon. But, I can't for the life of me, see me reading, The Killing, even if it is written by David.

It's a mammoth task, and if anyone's up to it, I imagine David is. And, if there is a sizable potential market out there of readers who haven't seen the TV production, then it's a no-brainer, and it'll be a real treat for them.

I wish Dave all the luck in the world, with the project, and if he pulls it off it'll be one hell of an achievement, with or without the, woolly pullies. :shock:
Take care
Vic
As a professional, you, are your one and only asset. Without integrity you are worthless, but with it, you are priceless.

In
InklingBooks
Posts: 504
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 11:16 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Auburn, AL USA
Contact:

Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:53 am Post

You're fortunate. The "Official" Danish version of The Killing has yet to appear in the only source of such things for me, my local PBS channel. I can't really complain. Right now I'm getting the excellent Foyle's War on Thursday evenings and Agatha Christie on Sunday evening's Masterpiece Mystery. A marvelous feast. But my viewing really would be perfect if my fare including the Danish "The Killing" and more of the modern Holmes that we got as a teaser last year.

Interestingly, while the US version of "The Killing" is being filmed in Vancouver, B.C., the story is situated very near where I live in Seattle. In fact, in a description I read, the murder takes place at Green Lake, which I can see down the hill from my apartment's porch.

Unfortunately, they screw up the geography, putting Green Lake in south Seattle rather than where it is in north Seattle. Perhaps the script writers were influenced by a horrible 1980s-1990s serial killer, Gary Ridgway, who left many of the bodies of his victims along the Green River, which is south of Seattle. But the Green River does not flow out of or into Green Lake. In fact, Green Lake no longer has any surface outlet.

Now, I'm in a dilemma. Since the plots are apparently very similar, should I somehow manage to watch the Danish original before seeing the adaptations? I suspect I should.

User avatar
pigfender
Posts: 2810
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:25 am
Platform: Mac, Win + iOS
Location: I share a head with a great many personalities
Contact:

Tue Jul 05, 2011 7:40 am Post

Hmm, I have not seen (or indeed heard of) "The Killing". One for me to look out for then? Sounds like high praise so far.
http://www.pigfender.com | http://www.novelinaday.com
"Some dice only have sixes." nom, 19 Oct 2013
Image Image

User avatar
vic-k
Posts: 7135
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2007 8:23 am
Platform: Mac + Windows
Location: Protesting in the nude, outside ex Red Lion TESCO Store

Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:15 am Post

IB, Rog,
If you can cope with sub-titles, go for the Danish original. It's a, 'Who done it', with oodles of: possible!s; nhahh!s; definately!s; it's him!s; it's her!s.

The victim's mum and dad, are brilliantly portrayed. It's worth watching the whole 20hrs, just for them.

Political intrigue galore and sub plots by the bucket full! However, whether or not it would all hold together without the, 'Who done it', element, I'm not too sure.

Just like that old debauchee, Siren, I too was hooked by it, but I couldn't watch it again, knowing the outcome.

I suspect I'll buy Dave's book, just to see how good a job he does. Who knows, I could get hooked again.

Take care
Vic
As a professional, you, are your one and only asset. Without integrity you are worthless, but with it, you are priceless.

st
stillman
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2011 1:51 pm
Platform: Mac
Contact:

Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:27 pm Post

I think the biggest difference between writing a movie compared to writing a novel is that there is little scope in a screenplay for revealing the interior life of a character. Novels deal mainly with thoughts and feelings - in other words with the internal lives of characters.

Most novels also rely on descriptions of the world in some detail, and readers will respond to the author’s ability to describe a world through words. That’s not really the purpose of a screenplay. A film script has to tell a story through the actions of its characters.

In a screenplay, character is revealed through actions and decisions as characters go on a journey. This applies to all genres of film narrative. We observe the journey of a character or a group of characters and through their actions we come to know them. And that’s quite different, it seems to me, to how a novel works.