I had a nice chat with Karen Walton, whose Ginger Snaps
is one of the best Canadian movies of the past decade or so. (A girl matures sexually just about when she's bitten by a werewolf. What's with the strange urges? And the body hair in odd places?)
We talked about adapting novels. Karen offers the Amazon technique. Check out what Amazon says about it. What reviewers -- both amateur and pro -- say about a book is probably what the book is essentially about, in plot, characters and theme. Certainly it's what readers are interested in the book for. Once you know the basic plot, characters and theme, the book itself can become something of a distraction. There are scenes you like that would be out of place in a movie, or fail to translate. You're not trying to faithfully replicate the experience of reading the novel; unless the novel is practically written for the screen, like those of Tom Clancy or John Grisham, that's not a good idea. Your mission is to re-imagine the story for the screen.
Hitchcock famously recommended reading a book once, then adapting it from there. Anything you can't remember from reading the book once probably doesn't belong in the script.
Obviously Karen reads the book, too, but I the Amazon technique is a nifty tool fo your adaptation toolbox.
Alex, I would like to see Crafty Screenwriting adapted for the screen, with you as an Obi Wan Kenobi type and one of us hapless blog followers as your Luke. You would instruct us on using our big red pencils to take on Hollywood's most dastardly war lords.
Seriously, though, as always, this is a great little writing tip. :-)
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