Today I have the pleasure to share Chouett with author David Gilman, creator of the Master of War series.
David Gilman is not only a published auhor but also a screenwriter and he will have some insights in the “book to screen” transformation and what is needed to bring all those novel to life on our TV screens, and I will let him tell us a little more about it.
Have television and films made novelists change their style of writing?
I often speak to other authors about this and some agree that their sentences have become shorter and punchier. I believe it depends on the particular kind of book. Writing in a genre such as Thriller, Crime or Historical Fiction might necessitate a taut prose that grabs the reader, thrusting them into the tension. But romantic novels or works of literary endeavour have more leeway.
So how defined are we by what we watch?
A picture can be worth a thousand words – or at least a few paragraphs. Film has the luxury of establishing a sense of place even as the credits roll. By the time the characters appear we already know where we are and, by the look of the character as he or she steps into frame, what they are about. Such mood must still be employed by the novelist.
Authors trust their readers to stay the course and readers must have faith that although there might be minimal exposition at the beginning of a novel, if they stay with the story it will unfold.
Genre writers know their audience and create their stories without sentimentality; there’s no scholarly attempt to impress. They practise concise, generous prose that creates the desired imagery in the reader’s mind. They disguise their skill, or technique, by carrying the story forward through the characters, their actions and their emotions; and they don’t forget the minor characters who inhabit their story. We empathise with the cast of characters as the author exposes their foibles and strengths to us, sharing an intimacy that uncovers hidden desires and fears that film often cannot.
The written word’s intimacy, the absolute desire of the author to embrace the reader, evokes the moving images in the reader’s mind, so that there is a deep sense of disappointment when the novel comes to an end.
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