A Novel is Not a Screenplay

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To assist the modification from page to screen by meeting the market half-way, writers are chasing the more lucrative side of wordsmithing by hammering out books which have the actions, expressions and dialogue of movie characters.

If you are dreaming of seeing your work as a major motion picture, professional screenwriters can adapt existing books, hence the words ‘based on’ when you view a book-to-movie deal.

Read on for my thoughts on the situation…

Film Camera Lights Action Movie

Good news for the future of the film industry but what about the book industry?

Should a writer write a novel similar to a filmscript?  I guess if you are determined enough you can learn, but what are you sacrificing along the way?  Formatting is important; not too much, not too little.  Your characters will be noticeably shallower, the scenery will be sketchy and the action will be like every TV series you have ever watched.

Bend to a market whim?  What makes the difference is being different!  With or without a movie contract, if you write in a hybrid format, your novel has less chance of standing amongst the notables of your decade.  I’ve read several amalgams in the last month.  Believe me, it shows.

Film Cameraman Movie Camera

In my opinion, there is a market for the TV-ready book/screen blend of writing but it is light-weight and not the same as solid, descriptive, memorable words which feed a book reader’s imagination.

And herein lies the problem.  There are eager new readers just the same as in the past, but now they are looking for ‘movie action’ because they have grown up with on-demand screens.  Substance is not as favourable, skimming is the name of the game.

Again, I say this is a disservice to the reader as well as the book industry.

It’s a long haul and immediate gain for the primary writer is unlikely.  Say a director/producer likes your work, every page you have written means extra money is needed in production and, as we know, the financial aspect rules.  Gone are the days of blockbuster world success—think LOTR or J K Rowling’s Harry Potter.

Film Clapper Board Movie

Durability is the name of the game.  You can find countless info and advice on writing a screenplay or TV script and if you want to do it you will—bearing in mind that any formula has restrictions, your manuscript will not resemble the finished product.

Look closely at Michael Connelly and other writers who have made the transition, in particular their previous jobs.  They will have ‘connections’, they will move house ‘to be closer to their work’, they will have ‘legal advice’, an abundance of ‘good luck’, an ‘understanding family’ and other clichés but not the words ‘smooth sailing’.

Write with your heart, write something strong and original, write a standalone which shines with your own unique qualities.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Beach Boys and West Coast Girls

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Guest post from Maud Fitch who looks at 20th century male chauvinism, surfer culture and skin cancer.

Okay, she looks at one particular song––California Girls by The Beach Boys––with the observation that it reeks of male teen spirit.

Thanks for filling in, Maud.  “No problemo,” she writes “My comments relate to the inequality of the sexes and when males sang about women with such defining features, dare I say ‘personalities’, that a song could transcend the decades.  Whereas women sang about males who are leaving/arriving or causing tears/heartache and are not physically described, leaving nothing etched in the memory.” 

Maud’s musical hypothesis…

If you don’t know the song lyrics (lucky you) here they are:

California Girls
The Beach Boys
https://www.thebeachboys.com/

Well, East Coast girls are hip
I really dig those styles they wear
And the Southern girls with the way they talk
They knock me out when I’m down there
The Mid-West farmer’s daughters really make you feel alright
And the Northern girls with the way they kiss
They keep their boyfriends warm at night

I wish they all could be California girls
I wish they all could be California
I wish they all could be California girls

The West coast has the sunshine
And the girls all get so tanned
I dig a French bikini on Hawaiian island dolls
By a palm tree in the sand
I been all around this great big world
And I seen all kinds of girls
Yeah, but I couldn’t wait to get back in the States
Back to the cutest girls in the world

I wish they all could be California girls
I wish they all could be California
I wish they all could be California girls

I wish they all could be California girls
I wish they all could be California girls
I wish they all could be California girls
I wish they all could be California girls
etc, etc…

Songwriters: Brian Douglas Wilson / Michael Edward Love
California Girls lyrics 1965 © Universal Music Publishing Group

Location is not an issue here, the girls in question are prominently mentioned and The Beach Boys diplomatically reference various US regions so as not to offend by omission.

A catchy tune, they sing of the visual pleasure of one woman pitted against another until the type named ‘California Girls’ moves to the top of the lust list.

The objectifying of women does not translate well to 21st century sensitivities.  Although in 2010 Katy Perry sang a similarly shallow song California Gurls.

It can be argued that The Beach Boys were young and represented their gender and the world-wide surfing movement with what appealed to them at the time.  Their songs certainly represented the superficiality of youth and what was uppermost on the manly mind.  In contrast, The Supremes song of 1965 Surfer Boy shows an entirely different slant on surfing and a more emotional approach.

The Beach Boys skimming appraisal of the external woman brings me to the French bikini on a Hawaiian island girl.  I don’t know skin cancer statistics in other countries but at one stage Australia had the highest skin cancer rate in the world.  Most beach babes of the mid-to-late twentieth century now have a crusty epidermal layer of melanoma sores and spots which are regularly checked by their skin cancer specialist.

Are these bikini babes still loved?  Nobody of that beach culture vintage is cute now, unless Botox is involved.  Heck, everyone of that generation has aged and, depending on decrepitude, may wish they had that body again.

Allowing for variants, The Beach Boys and The Supremes are now older, wiser people who made a lot of money from their hard-working vocal chords and have moved into Music Legend status.  I wonder if they sit in comfy chairs, musing about their past lyrics?  Do they laugh, cringe or couldn’t care less?

The world may have moved on but surfers still surf, boys still ogle girls, and sex discrimination still remains.  And no matter how irksome, old songs never die.

Music Note 02


Maud Fitch – Guest blogger and east coast Queensland girl

Three Things #3


A snapshot of what’s happening in my world.
Reading…
Looking…
Thinking…

READING:  Two of my favourite genres tend to clash––crime and quirky.  Today’s quirky is “The Lucky Galah” by Tracy Sorensen.  Oh, and just maybe there’s a crime.

Reviews:  “Subtle, disarming and insightful” says author Rosalie Ham.
A fresh and surprising novel – thoroughly Australian, joyful and magnificently original” says novelist Charlotte Wood.
Blurb says “A magnificent novel about fate, Australia and what it means to be human…it just happens to be narrated by a galah called Lucky…this is one rare bird.

Title:  “The Lucky Galah” by Tracy Sorensen
Category:  Historical fiction / adult
Publication Date:  27-02-2018
Publisher:  Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Ltd
Pages:  304
Author:  http://squawkingalah.com.au/

Background:  A galah is a small pink and grey Australian native cockatoo with quite a piercing squawk.  If an Australian says “you’re a galah” it generally means you are silly.  If “you’re a lucky galah” it means you’ve won something.  In this novel, Lucky is an astute galah who receives transmissions from a satellite dish in Port Badminton, a remote coastal town in Western Australia, which beams messages between Apollo 11 and Houston, Texas.  Lucky also picks up revealing transference from radar technician Evan Johnson and his wife Linda, and domestic dissonance from the town’s anomalous inhabitants.

Evocatively set in 1969 prior to the moon landing and “one small step…” Lucky’s view of the human world and its minutiae makes absorbing reading.  I choked up, nodded wisely and laughed out loud throughout this book.  An original plot, cleverly conceived characters, tightly written, 5-Star rating from me.  GBW.


 

LOOKING:  “Curious Affection” Gallery Of Modern Art Exhibition by Patricia Piccinini from 24 March to 5 August 2018––Confronting work regarding genetic engineering, DNA modification and organ harvesting with ‘warm’ overtones.  Having read about this subject (and many will remember the real mouse which grew a human ear on its back) I was enticed into visiting GOMA on Brisbane’s South Bank on a fine winter’s day.

Sensory overload, yet not as creepy as I thought it would be, and like most art there is more to it than meets the eye.  Patricia Piccinini’s works are complex.  The guided tour, the perfect melding of lighting and sounds enhanced every display and took up a complete floor of the Gallery.

I can’t sufficiently convey the ambience nor startling ‘future’ creativity, but I’ve decided on a pictorial of my photographs in a future post.  Stay tuned!  GBW.

POSTSCRIPT: Here is my review https://thoughtsbecomewords.com/2018/07/22/curious-affection-hybrids-of-patricia-piccininis-biotechnology-art/


 

THINKING:

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VIEWS LIKES AND FALSEHOODS

Bloggers are so darn nice, offering advice and encouraging aspiring writers to do their best.

Here are my thoughts on the flip side of those Views and Likes.

When I hit Publish, my post is sent out into the world.

It appears at the top of the WordPress Reader until the northern hemisphere wakes up and starts typing.

I amuse myself by waiting to see who will Like my efforts without actually visiting my blog site.

First up, unless I've been Liked by the fastest human reader in the universe, I get a tiny square to say "..." likes my post.

As you may have experienced, it's a spammer.

If not, I give a sardonic laugh when someone clicks Like without viewing.

Sure, people do it - but do people know the stats reflect this deception?

What I don't understand is why a reader/blogger bothers when it breeds an equally dismissive response.

I know, twice I have returned the favour.

Forget about using the old "time poor" excuse, please.

Or harbour the misapprehension that my blogger sense of self needs constant validation.

Be firm, rise above that Like of self-promotion. 

My opinion is "Follow a blogger and genuinely read their posts".

Otherwise the Like gesture is hollow.

 Gretchen Bernet-Ward


 

One post with three acts READING, LOOKING, THINKING an idea started by Book Jotter, innovative blogger Paula Bardell-Hedley.  Her invitation to participate offers a slight change from ‘Thinking’ to ‘Doing’ if that suits your purpose but I’m sticking with the first format.  I can love, like or loathe in three short bursts!  GBW.

Postscript:  Every Saturday I change my Home page Photo Of The Week.

Inequality

“Until we get equality in education, we won’t have an equal society” – Sonia Sotomayor.

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