Tag Archives: novels

Words turn into pictures, when does it work?

Greetings again faithful readers,

(What can I say? I like old-fashioned phrases) I thought about what to say this month for a while. There are some big changes coming here at Distinguished Press but I ultimately decided this is neither the time nor the place. As for me, like everyone else I’m working on Xmas shopping (I buy what I can online), hoping snow doesn’t show up for a while (I lie, we’ve already had some here but thankfully it melted) and of course anxiously awaiting the new Star Wars movie (which I’ve had tickets for since October). Aside from all that I’m editing, doing blog posts, interviews and of course writing to you now.


Which brings me back on point. With all the comic-book movies and TV shows I got to thinking, what is the successful formula for turning a book/comic book into a movie/TV show? I’ve seen hundreds of movies, my wife and I usually go at least 2 a month (often more) and I watch lots more on Netflix. If there’s a book I love, I often check to see if it was or will be made into a movie or TV show. I’m also a huge comic book fan, so the past 14 years it’s been a steady flow of comic book movie/TV shows/novelization movies, so I’ve had plenty of opportunities to compare, admire and contrast.


There are so many I can’t go through them all but I think I have to start with Lord of the Rings. This is perhaps the most well known fantasy novel series ever, they have been around for almost 80 years and have inspired countless writers, other stories, toys, authors and also an enduring (and immensely fun) game called Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve read and loved them since I was a child and studied them in high school and university. Suffice it to say I was very pleased to see them turned into movies.

When I watched them I knew I couldn’t help but compare them to the books, there were differences and changes I didn’t like. Overall though Peter Jackson did a marvelous job, I fell in love with the story all over again as I saw the people, creatures and stories I loved so much brought to life. Then there came the plan that the Hobbit (the prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy) would be made into not one, not two but three movies!?!? For those that don’t know the Hobbit was written for Tolkien’s children, it was the shortest of the novels and certainly did not have enough material for three films.

Of course they said they would invent new material, take stuff from other Tolkien material and the appendices at the back the Hobbit, but really I knew the truth, 3 movies means a hell of a lot more money than 1. Don’t get me wrong I watched all three of them and I enjoyed them but I knew the truth, Jackson wanted get paid to do 3 movies and forced the story to fit. Sure the story of the Hobbit is there but it could have be easily told in 3-3.5 hours, not 8.


Let’s take a different example where (at least so far) it wasn’t stretched out and an obvious example of Hollywood greed. I dearly love Batman (as you may know if you’re read my books The Newfoundland Vampire and Killer on the Road, both are on sale now for 99 cents!) and I was thrilled when my favorite comic-book story of his (well Frank Miller but you know what I mean) The Dark Knight Returns, would be made into an animated movie (I’m also very excited for the upcoming Batman VS Superman movie, which is also supposed to be loosely based on the comic). I loved this comic, I’ve read it many times and I think the movie (which was split into two parts as the comic is that long) was a masterpiece. I wouldn’t dare spoil the story if you’re unfamiliar with it, if you want to see story converted right into film, this animated movie is the one to see.


I had a big discussion on this with a friend of mine. What’s the best thing for a director/producer/movie company to do? Be extremely faithful to the source material or due your own interpretation? I think being too slavish to the book/comic can be a determent (though as a fan I love it when that actually happens). Some things are just not able to be filmed and I know that a movie is supposed to make money, in many cases the general public hasn’t read the book/comic and they don’t care how faithful it is. Then there are the big fans who will scrutinize the movie for not being close enough to the source (and I know I do that sometimes).  I think ultimately it’s a compromise between what is in the source material and what will work/be successful on screen.

To bring it home, what do you think about movies based on your favorite stories? Do you clamor for more or think enough is enough? I’m always willing to give them a chance and always want more. And I can dream, I know it would be a dream come true if one of my books was ever made into a movie/TV show/play. I know there would be changes but as long as the important parts stayed I’d be happy, well that is as long as I was getting paid…kidding! The struggle between creativity/integrity/money is a topic for another time, until then I’ll eagerly await Batman and catch up on a really good show based on a comic called Jessica Jones (which is on Netflix now, don’t let your young children see it though!). Until then I bid you all good night.

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Paper or digital?

Hi all,

So it’s me, Charles, back for my monthly installment.  I’ve been around a while (I’m 39) and I thought the other day of how much technology has affected what way we ingest our favorite writers. When I was young (up until I was 17), the only way to read was with paper (at least for me, PDFs did exist in 1993 but were only used then for academic papers). Aside from novels (which I have been obsessed with, even now I only have about one-hundred) I had a huge collection of comic books, probably around 3000 of them. I love comics (I still read them) and I thought my collection would be worth something someday . . . well it was worth something but not nearly as much as I hoped. Around 15 years later I started to sell it off piece by piece but I digress. My point here is that whether it was a comic book, a magazine (I used to collection Dungeons and Dragons magazines) or a novel, it was paper and it usually meant just carrying 1 or 2 with you.


That changed back in 1996 when the first Palm Pilot came out and since I’ve always loved gadgets, I had one that year. With a palm pilot I was able to read books, e-mails and do some other convenient things whenever I wanted to. PDFs were only just gaining popularity any virtually any you found were ones you created yourself or looked high and low for on the Internet. Still though the idea that I could carry around more than one or two things to read and I was intrigued. Sure the display was crappy (it was not even in color but this weird monochrome LCD screen. It was a touch screen though and the ability to tab it with a stylus pen was neat, I had one with me 5 days a week for years, I found them reliable and fairly easy to use (though I went through two in four years).


Before we go further I know that Laptops were available in 1981 and those with color screens were around by 1991 but they were expensive then and I didn’t carry one around me most of the time. I will add though while comic book subscriptions (or the Comixology app) weren’t around, there were many PDF and CBR (comic book reader) versions to be found, so by 1997 I was reading comics and PDFs on my laptop as well. By the way if you ever think about buying a laptop on Ebay with no warranty (and it’s as strange brand name) don’t do it! I had constant trouble with mine and in the end had to give to my friend for spare parts.


For me I reached the point when I found that I was still printing stuff off of the internet and buying novels (though I found I could save a ton of cash by never buying hardcover and waiting for sales/going to used book stores). I used to go on binges and once while on vacation in Florida I bought 15 Star Trek books and read them all (most of them were crap if you’re curious. There is something about holding a book in your hands, no matter how cheap/convenient/easy eBooks get, I’ll never be able to give up print entirely.

Move forward some more, this time to April of 2010. My first book was released, “The Newfoundland Vampire” (you knew I was getting a plug in here somewhere! 😉 Oh it’s currently available from the great folks at Distinguished Press and is better than ever with a new cover and touched-up story. I gained a new perspective on books, comics, ebooks and audio books. I could see then that it hurt me when someone downloaded my book for free and I made a point to pay for everything I got from the internet. More relevant to this post, however, is that I got an iPad (it still works fine too!).


The iPad changed a lot for me. Now I could carry around hundreds of books, the ability to download any comic I had purchased and of course with the internet purchase any book (that was available as an ebook) I liked and read it instantly. With this lightweight, handy device I found myself buy paper books much less, the same went for comics. I did also (just for completeness sake) also buy a Kindle. The reasoning is lost on me (I suppose it was an impulse buy) but I was impressed by the devotion of this device to books and it’s simple connection to Amazon (for free at the time as well) was a great piece of marketing.


Now let’s bring it up to present day. I find that I listen to an audio book and I’m reading a novel on my iPad but yet I still buy my D&D books in print format and I have a good dozen print books waiting to be read on my bookshelf. For comics I still buy them at Flea Markets/conventions/comic book stores when I see a good deal (or something I can’t get in digital format) and I’m subscribed to four digital titles. So I would say I’m about 60% digital and 40% print. There’s something about the feel of paper and the ease of flipping through pages that I haven’t found a digital book able to replicate, until that day I’ll continue to support both.

How about you, do you think ebooks have print on the ropes? Is there room for both? Which one will win? Is it even a contest? I’m getting tired! Talk to you all next month.

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