Screw Book Purists!

With the release of Shadow and Bone on Netflix, I got to thinking how huffy some readers get when a great book makes it to the screen. Book to TV or film adaptations are getting a bad rep with book purists. Well… great stories should NOT be limited to one medium.

I’m all for books. I love books. On my bookshelf. On my Kindle or Google Books. In audiobooks. I love all book formats. Reading or listening to books forces my imagination. I focus on visual words to lose myself or I listen to someone reading a story like meditation. 

So when a great book pops up in a series or film, I jump at the chance to see what it looks like. 

My mind adjusts and is more open to another version of the book. Because let’s face it, that’s all it is, another version, an adaptation, a director and screenwriter’s interpretation of the story. 

We have to separate the mediums of the written word and the theatrical adaptation. 

To huff and moan about these adaptations is futile because it is not always meant for the same people who read the original book. By adapting a book to another medium, it’s reaching out to new fans, new people to appreciate the greatness of the story.

To huff and moan that anyone had the audacity to turn the book into a visual adaptation is to deny people fantastic books that captured so many readers. Some people don’t have time to read or struggle with reading, or find it hard to turn the descriptions into something visual. 

We all deserve great stories in whatever form of media suits us best.

Let’s talk examples…

A Song of Fire and Ice was adapted to the TV series, Game of Thrones. I started reading the books after I saw the season 1 of the TV adaptation and wasn’t a fan of the books. I just didn’t enjoy the writing style, but I liked the story, so the TV version was more my thing.

I loved Netflix’s adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments. The TV series, Shadow Hunters, held the same amazing stories and characters with exciting variations for anyone who’d already read the books, which I had—all six if them. The TV series played on the same character challenges and personal issues while spicing things up so existing readers were teased with variations of the existing story. 

I read Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone a couple of years ago and quite liked it. Now there’s a Netflix serious of the books. I’m excited for it and have seen the first couple of episodes to find a fun balance of similarities and differences. And Ben Barnes pulls off another great fictional character after his portrayal of Dorian Gray and Prince Caspian from the Chronicles of Narnia, more classic stories brought to life. 

And let’s not forget Lord of the RIngs and The Hobbit. These were just as epic on screen as they were on the page. Releasing them as movies renewed many fans’ love for these fantastical and inspiring adventures.

Not everyone has the time or ability to read books. But a 2 hour film, or 40 minute TV show per week reaches an even bigger audience and may encourage people to read the book too, having found a story worth reading. 

TV or film is never a true representation of a good book, so we shouldn’t expect it to, and book purists should shut up and stick to their books only book club or whatever.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay 

Writing Has Ruined My Reading!

Warning: This gets ranty. But since this blog is about ranting…

Also, shout out to my writing buddy T-Rex who prompted this post. How he puts up with my rants, I’ll never know. 

As I mentioned in First Chapters Are the Worst, I’ve found more and more books go against what I’ve learned as a writer. Two of the books mentioned in that post were self-published (the two with the shorter lists) while two were traditionally published. All highly successful.

With the help of my CPs, I’ve honed my skills, taken the time to become what I thought was a good writer so that I could find an agent who’ll give me the best chance at becoming an author. I could self-publish, and I will if I get rejected by all the agents I’ve queried (It’s ben almost 5 weeks). But I want a good agent who can get me a great publisher, who knows the market, and can sell my book better than I could on my own. 

In theory, with the right marketing, anyone can sell a book. I follow a few successful self-published authors. And if you have just enough good elements to catch those hungry readers, then your success will only grow. As I said in my post on first chapters, success isn’t just down to us as writers. It’s down to agents, editors, publishers, and readers.

Many of the CPs I interact with warn against too much world-building, uninteresting protagonists, and character overload. But I’ve read so many bestselling books that go against this advice along with more specific prose issues. I skimmed some of my favourites from recent years and was surprised at the “writing donts” in them that I didn’t notice before. I was pretty shocked to see so many 5-star ratings and praising reviews compared to the low percentage of those who I agreed with in my new mindset. 

 One in particular was riddled with issues. The world-building was overdone by far, like multiple paragraphs of “what the fuck is this?.” As for the romance… It barely registered when it actually mattered. I mean, the protag slips into bed (sleeping only) with her “off-limits” bow,, who’s she’s kissed like twice. Like, lady, this guy risked a ton for you, is totally into you, and you deny both your feelings. Again, what the fuck?

I don’t mind when couples dance around one another for a reasonable length of time before things get physical. Or when things genuinely keep getting in their way. But when couples share feelings, have opportunities to be together, even if just for a fleeting moment, and don’t properly act in it until like book 4, that’s when I get annoyed. 

As for world-building… 🤬 It bugs me when my CPs tell me certain things are vague from what I’ve shown, because I REALLY like to show what I can and save the “telling” for emergencies. So I drop a short and sweet two or three-line explanation (selective telling) to clarify, and the next CPs deem it an info dump. THREE LINES??? And this is another confusing issue since my recent reading involves so many heavy info dumps from bestsellers. What is a girl to do?

New thought. I need to find a better balance for my work based on the books in my genre, especially those whose readers are my potential readers. Knowing the market is half the battle, and I realise I got my market a little off. That’s not to say I’m going to rewrite all my books to emulate these authors. I like my voice and how I can vary it for my different writing projects. That’s another thing that leaves me bored with authors is when all their narration sounds the same, even in different series.

Adapting is not the same as sacrificing. We all adapt as we learn and grow, or we get stuck in our ways, leading us nowhere. I choose to adapt.

Image by InstagramFOTOGRAFIN from Pixabay 

Unravelling Writing Advice – When to Hire and Editor!

Another installment from Unravelling Writing Advice series.

I’ve never hired an editor, and there’s a reason for that. Let me explain…

When it comes to hiring editors, I’ve discovered there are three types of writer.

  1. The writer who gets an editor before they’ve finished their WIP or pays an editor even though they plan to traditionally publish their work.
  2. The writer who thinks critique partners and beta readers substitute a professional editor.
  3. The writer who does all they can through CPs and beta readers before hiring an editor or waits for an agent/publishing house to arrange that for them.

Let’s look at number one. Hiring an editor too soon is a waste of money, if you ask me. Sure, you might get frustrated with feedback from fellow writers and want a professional opinion on your WIP. But I’d do as much as you can with your CPs and beta readers before shelling precious money. 

If your heart is still set on getting professional input, a developmental editor would be your best bet. They’re there to help with plot holes, character arcs, common prose fails, and other big picture issues. Think about what this would do short term and long term. Do you think one editor can do a better job than multiple CPs on your WIP? I’m not saying don’t hire one if you’re struggling. I’m saying consider carefully if it’s worth the cost. Multiple CPs can pick out a lot of big-picture issues between them, and it’s free. 

On the other hand, I would never suggest anyone skip a professional editor in favour of using CPs as editors. Not all writers have great editing skills and vice versa. Editor is its own profession for a reason. Whether you self-publish or go via an agent or publisher, you should always have at least a copy editor go through your work for spelling and grammar mistakes before you finalise your printable book.

In my opinion, the best time to hire an editor is when you’ve done all you can based on your skills and feedback. Either hire an editor yourself if you self-publish or let your agent/publisher handle this for you. Ideally, editing is the absolute last stage as far as writing your manuscript before it gets made into a pretty little book or ebook. 

The reason why I haven’t hired an editor is because I had great CPs and beta readers to develop my story. I also hope to traditionally publish my book, so I’m not going to pay for something when a possible agent will organise it and foot the bill for me. If I get rejected, then I’ll pay an editor to do a final polish of my MS before it’s publishable.

Money doesn’t grow on trees, so don’t spend it until you actually need that professional editing service. But you WILL need it to give your book a more professional look.

Image by Lorenzo Cafaro from Pixabay