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Sunday Reading

It being Sunday, I am combining my daily routine of writing with the frenzied hunted air of a hamster taped to a laptop with thinking thinky thoughts about books.

Spinning off of same, here is a guest blog on Books Sarah Rees Brennan Would Like to See As Movies. In which I mainly complain about movies I do not like, because that is the way I roll. But really - who adds an evil twin in a snowglobe? It is never a good idea.

Karen Healey, whose excellent book Guardian of the Dead I will be reviewing shortly, along with several other very fine books just as soon as I have finished writing my own book (Can't sleep! Deadline will get me!) has a very interesting post on YA Fantasy: Full of Miscreants. Which sprang from a conversation we had in which she blackened one of my characters' names and I defended said character valiantly.

It occurred to me only after reading her blog post that she mostly discusses the Bad Boy Heroes of young adult fantasy, whereas the guy she discusses for my book is the (comparatively) good guy sidekick. So not only is my bad boy a little too bad for the tastes of some, but so's my nice guy. Oh, self. Get a commercial instinct someday. Put it on your shopping list along with ginger biscuits!

I was also thinking about this less-recent post Justine Larbalestier wrote about, among other things, readers who only read one of an author's serieses...es and I was thinking about that also! I mean, I know it happens all the time, no matter how successful a writer is. A whoooooole lot of people read Stephenie Meyer's The Host, for instance. But about a zillionty more people read Twilight.

And this of course makes sense: for one thing, some readers don't think about the writer - they are super into these specific characters, and wish to be with them! But some people seem to actively resent the other books an author writes as if, had they not got the idea for this New Thing, they would have written more of the Old Thing. And again, that makes sense: much nicer to go 'Mmm, I like this thing. Where is more of it? Oh, here it is! Yay!' than 'I will try it and I hope I will like it...' I've seen people on the internet upset about George R.R. Martin's new novella because what they want is a new Song of Ice and Fire book - though wanting the next book in a series is obviously a lovely and flattering thing, and waiting is hard, they do seem very upset.

As someone not-crazy-famous, plus a baby author with only one book out, it's not something I have had to address myself, but as someone finishing the third book of her trilogy and thinking about writing other things, it is a Topic of Interest to me! I have thus been scouting the internet looking at people's thoughts on the matter: two writers I know are starting new serieseseses this year, and it is all most interesting.

So, any thoughts on awful or excellent movie adaptations you have seen, or excellent ones you would like to see? Any thoughts on the badly behaved characters in fiction? Books you have resented because they are not That Thing You Want? Hit me!


( 143 comments — Leave a comment )
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Mar. 14th, 2010 05:39 pm (UTC)
I think people feel differently if a new book comes out by an author they love after the series they previously loved has finished - if it's still ongoing is when they get all... odd about it.
Mar. 14th, 2010 05:44 pm (UTC)
Yeeees, and yet I have seen people be sad about Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan though his Uglies series is finished, and Holly Black's White Cat though her Modern Faerie Tales series is finished. So I think definitely the-series-not-being-finished-yet-OH-GOSH-please-don't-abandon it is a factor, but not a deciding one!

It must be very very strange to be a writer and look at your crazy-popular series and worry about your other books. I am not really surprised J.K. Rowling hasn't come out with any new books. Holy intimidating, Batman.
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Mar. 14th, 2010 05:42 pm (UTC)
Oh, I totally understand only liking one of an author's series! I do that all the time. There's one author who writes brilliant and somewhat insane science fiction, but I refuse to read his Dungeons and Dragons-type series. Sometimes I only like to read one book from an author again and again rather than reading his or her books that don't hold up.
Mar. 14th, 2010 05:47 pm (UTC)
Yes: I love Lois McMaster Bujold's (who I love) sci-fi Miles series and her high fantasy Chalion books, but liked the first book of her fantasy-Western romance books much less. But that was after reading the first book: I guess I am trying to understand the 'No not that, thank you' mindset.
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Mar. 14th, 2010 05:47 pm (UTC)
The recent-ish BBC adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's North & South is one of my all-time favorite screen versions of a book. They changed a lot from the book to the miniseries -- John Thornton doesn't beat anybody up in the book -- but I think the changes were thoughtful ones and not necessarily to make it "sexier" or anything. Even though it is pretty sexy. The end! :D

I like the Winona Ryder version of Little Women a lot, too, but I understand that has its detractors.
Mar. 14th, 2010 05:49 pm (UTC)
My friend loved it. She said she was thinking in her fangirly hindbrain that they would totally just make out on the train the whole way back... and then they actually did :D
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Mar. 14th, 2010 05:50 pm (UTC)
I would like an adaptation of Howl's Moving Castle that was more consistent with how I saw Sophie, I think. I would also like a Good Omens mini series or something.

As for excellent ones that do exist, I really love what they did with The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. I mean, it's a TV series, not a movie, but it's sort of a similar deal. I think it's a great example of adjusting to a different medium AND adapting the story to today's society in ways that don't feel forced.
Mar. 14th, 2010 05:54 pm (UTC)
Seconded. I would like a more faithful adaptoon of Howl's Moving Castle in all points. I was really disappointed in the movie as a book fan.
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Mar. 14th, 2010 05:51 pm (UTC)
Hmmmm. I'm trying and I'm not sure I've ever thought about this! There are a lot of excellent movie adaptations so I tend to be very pro-that. But, of course, for every good one you've got 5 by-the-numbers movies just churned out with no thought, and even worse, evil twins in Sno-globes. Nothing's worse than seeing a story you love gutted by somebody who Doesn't Get It.

On badly behaved characters, I never think of myself as a bad boy fan but I think it's because I'm just kind of amoral in many ways. I don't care if they'er badly behaved if they make sense. Like...Alan is completely awesome and so is Nick. Sure they have to kill people sometimes, but I can totally roll with that. I remember by the time I finished working on the Wishbone series my favorite character was the quasi-bully Damont.

So. Books I've resented...hmmm, have I? You know, here's the thing with me is taht if I like a book in a series I often just fear the next book because what if it Ruins Everything that I liked? Not that I always have the problem--there are series that I love. The Dark is Rising, for instance, obviously--though that did have that horrible idea at the end. But I'm not somebody who usually craves more of the same characters. I don't *dislike* books that are in a series at all, but just because they're all good books in themselves. But I don't like hanging on to find out what will happen next, exactly.
Mar. 14th, 2010 07:10 pm (UTC)
You know, here's the thing with me is that if I like a book in a series I often just fear the next book because what if it Ruins Everything that I liked?

YES. This goes for all story-driven mediums, really, because there's so much potential for WRONG, it's terrifying. I like it when Diana Wynne Jones writes sequels to things or Gail Simone writes a new issue of anything, because I know they won't commit any travesties, but generally getting the new book in a series is a scary, scary business.

Edited at 2010-03-14 07:10 pm (UTC)
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Mar. 14th, 2010 05:51 pm (UTC)
I'd really love to see an adaptation of Jim Butcher's Codex Alera. However, I've yet to figure out a way where you could write a screenplay for "Furies of Calderon" that would actually work for movie-length. There are no snippable subplots! You'd have to replot large portions of the book to make things come together properly at the end!

So I think they should do a mini-series. (I kind of love Jim Butcher's books, okay?)

Trying new serieses by authors I like is also complicated by the fact that my to-be-read "stack" is measured in square feet. >_>

Edited at 2010-03-14 05:52 pm (UTC)
Mar. 16th, 2010 08:53 pm (UTC)
This! or his Dresden Files...as a movie...not a tv series (been there, done that, then SCI-Fi channel canceled it). Though Paul Blackthorne (in the series) as Harry Dresden was great!
Mar. 14th, 2010 05:53 pm (UTC)
PERCY JACKSON movie adaptation was awesome. Loved it! Slightly different from the book but mostly stuck to the original plot. I am in love with that movie. =D

By the way, the giveaway is for DEMON'S LEXICON is up. Woo hoo!!

Mar. 14th, 2010 05:53 pm (UTC)
Well it depends. There are of course authors who can write stories about totally different topics and they appeal to me because I always liked the author's writing style. And then there are authors who wrote one series that I found interesting but I don't care for the rest of the work.

I must say I used to like the Twilight series but I don't anymore but I still like The Host. I felt like the writing style was much better even though it's hard to get into at the begining when you know nothing about the characters except that it has something to do with aliens. No matter what people think about the author I think more people should at least try to read The Host. I was never into Sci-Fi and I liked it just fine. Well I guess if they really do make a movie out of it a lot of people will read it anyway.

Having said that I must say that if I really love an author's work I can't get enough and I may be a bit sad if they don't continue a series I really loved but anything new the write is also good. But at the moment I can't think of any author whose books I all liked. Unless they only wrote on series. I like almost everything Meg Cabot wrote but there are still exceptions.
Mar. 14th, 2010 05:58 pm (UTC)
I personally am very annoyed with Jim Hines. Because he now has TWO serieseses about vastly different characters...which have or will shortly hit natural stopping points....and ACTUALLY STOP.

It's bad enough every time I find a good thing and have to admit sulkily that the author must be admired for not beating a dead horse...now I've found an author who does it CONSISTENTLY and that means that every single time he starts writing a new series I'm going to have to fall in love and then be left forever wanting more because it never started sucking.

I will be complaining just as voraciously when your trilogy stops and is still good, so just you wait. And then I'll get whatever you do next, and do it AGAIN. Because when I like an author, I read everything they write, even if I don't expect to enjoy it. Usually I end up enjoying it very much, even if I'm not as invested in the storyline, because if I like them because they're funny/good at dialogue/good at setting/etc/whatever, that part will be enjoyable even if (like SOME of my friends) they insist on writing urban fantasy which I am SO OVER and why isn't it September yet because I finished your March book, MS. McGuire.

Maybe I would end up reading more books I flat out adored on all aspects of measurements if I went purely by my narrative kinks? But I'm outnumbered like whoa by those bookshop shelves, so I tend to trust the authors I find that are good, as a starting point.
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Mar. 14th, 2010 06:26 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you like the parodies! I always hope to get the urge to parody a movie, for it generally means I love it.

Oh, I was talking about the books being commercial, not the movie - me worrying about the movie being commercial would be a tad premature. ;) Heh.

I always pictured it like a kind of Supernatural (the tv series)

Alas, you are not the only one! Sad for me, as I am not the world's biggest Supernatural fan, but poor The Vampire Diaries gets called a knockoff Twilight all the time, and it's fifteen years older, so I am not so badly off.

I would love to see either of those Gaiman books made into a movie, I agree. I would be there first thing! I also love Sense and Sensibility, though I persist in thinking the best ever Austen adaptation is Clueless...
Mar. 14th, 2010 06:03 pm (UTC)
I attend Bouchercon semi-regularly, which is a great convention for meeting and nattering to authors (in this case, mystery authors). I know several who had long standing and successful series. And then one author (I think it was Denis Lehane?) had a blow out success with a stand alone book. And all of a sudden, many authors were either ditching their series or interspersing series books with standalones.

Two things I noted from this - these authors were FAR more successful with their standalones then they had been with their series. They also tended to win their first major awards for their standalones.

So it sucks from a fan's point of view (where a series is abandoned completely), but it's good for the author. Those I've heard speak about this reckon writing the series taught them so much but they were constrained by the demands of the series and couldn't really experiment. Therefore, if they wanted to break out and try something new, they had to write something completely different. In most cases, its seemed to have a positive effect on the series, where the author's continued to write them. Like they get to flex different muscles with each book and it's a more enjoyable exercise because of it. Also in most cases, it's seemed to help their careers. Two names that spring to mind are Harlan Coben and Laura Lipman.
Mar. 14th, 2010 06:09 pm (UTC)
I love it when there is more than one series (ha! avoided using the crazy plural :D) by an author I like because chances are that I will like the other series too. The weird thing is probably the getting used to new characters in a (mostly) similar writing style; sometimes that happens throughout a series as well (we're going to have to adjust to Mae POV in your style, for example), but I guess it's harder when you've read, what, three books from a certain POV and then another character comes along with his series and is all "oh hey, that's MY POV now".

It could of course be that you're totally not interested in a new genre the author is experimenting with or something. And then there's the fact that some authors just don't seem to be able to create new characters and just do the old ones all over again with different names, so that everything always seems to be a spin-off of the series you loved. I guess it's totally normal to have a kind of betrayed/bitter feeling about this kind of thing. But these all aren't reasons not to give the author's other serieseseses a try. Assuming they're not good- well, it's a way to kill some time too, thinking to yourself, I will not buy this series, it is probably horrible compared to the other one I read, blathering on about how it doesn't even have to try and compare. But I think there is a serious chance of missing out on something good because there are many, many authors who write more than one fabulous series. They probably won't even have the possibility, though, if they die of starvation after the first. (Clearly, I am not speaking of J. K. Rowling or Stephenie Meyer here. :D)

BTW, I would totally read anything you write, baby author. :)


1. I'm rooting for Alan. He's a redhead. He's awesome. And as I said before, he raised Nick. He's super awesome.

2. I love movies! I want a Demon's Lexicon movie! There are some movies based on books I love truly and forevermore, but there are also some... I like to forget I've ever watched. But I think that it is basically awesome (I seem to use that word a lot) to see how other people interpret a book and its characters, having awesome dialogue on screen, actual people to drool at- uh, well, you know. :) All books should be made into movies! Preferably without adding evil twins in snowglobes.

Edited at 2010-03-14 06:37 pm (UTC)
Mar. 14th, 2010 07:23 pm (UTC)
Yes, people's urge for the familiar is a strong thing! A writer friend recently told me 'When you said you were writing the second book from a different POV, I thought you were STONE COLD CRAZY.' I'm glad she didn't tell me at the time, I would've had conniptions. ;)

Yes, seeing adaptations is so much fun, like seeing inside someone's head while they read a book. I maintain the best Austen adaptation of all time? Clueless.

(Also, why thank you. ;))
(no subject) - branquignole - Mar. 14th, 2010 07:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 14th, 2010 06:12 pm (UTC)
I just discovered that there is a miniseries of Archer's Goon, though I have only been able to watch episodes 1-3 and cannot judge it as a whole. Still, it sticks pretty close to the book up to that point, and is quite good as well, despite being low-budget. I would love to see such an... am I looking for the word authentic here? I can't remember. But that sort of sticking close to the book treatment of some of Diana Wynne Jones' other books, particularly Hexwood (though I'm not sure how well that would work) and Deep Secret and Dark Lord of Derkholm.

I actually would really like to see a movie of The Demon's Lexicon, because I suspect I would have enjoyed the book a lot more had we not been in Nick's head for most of it. It is really hard, at least for me as a reader, to be in Nick's head.

I found the previews for The Seeker so distressing that I did not even bother to watch it. I adore both the old BBC version and newer Disney version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but I think I adore the newer version much more because I adore Tilda Swinton.
Mar. 14th, 2010 06:31 pm (UTC)
Sorry you didn't enjoy! Maybe being in other characters' heads will be nicer for you.

Not watching the Seeker, an excellent thing. And I agree with you on liking both Narnia films, but the newer ones more: I think that most of the new Narnia actors are very impressive.
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Mar. 14th, 2010 06:21 pm (UTC)
I usually find, actually, that if I like an author I read everything they have written, unless I really do not like that individual book due to characters or plotline. Even then I usually finish it, I just don't like it as much as their other books. I'm really picky about writing styles, and if I like an author's...? Doesn't matter too much what they're writing about, unless the point of the book/series is to significantly change the style they usually use.


Book(s) I am desperate to see made into a movie(s)... anything by Tamora Pierce. God damn do we need some kickass heroines in movies. I personally think the ones that would be easiest to adapt would be the Trickster ones. You don't actually need that much backstory for those, the family situation is pretty universal. Those would be two good movies, most of the others would need to be miniseries, I think.

I also feel Robin McKinley's Sunshine would be a very good movie, though I'm not too sure how they would deal with the narration/voice over.

Adaptions I like... I actually have enjoyed all the Discworld ones I've seen, even the animated Soul Music!
Mar. 14th, 2010 06:31 pm (UTC)
OH MAN I would pay all of the money I own to see the Alanna books as movies.
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Mar. 14th, 2010 06:29 pm (UTC)
By far the worst movie adaptation I've ever seen was the adaptation of Ella Enchanted. It was abysmal and it still pains me to think about it.

A few books I think could make great movies, if adapted well of course: Sabriel by Garth Nix, Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer, A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray, Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Black and White by Caitlin Kittredge and Jackie Kessler, and (speaking of), The Host by smeyer. I also think The Mediator series by Meg Cabot could make a fun tv series. :)

Edited at 2010-03-14 06:30 pm (UTC)
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