Admin again: We don’t usually do writing articles, but Dennis is incandescent at the moment after reading some stuff that really set him off. In this second (and we kind of hope final) installment, he discusses why a book is not a movie and why this matters to him as a reader.
Writing is fighting, people. And a terrible sickness stalks the land. Moonlighting movie folks writing ‘novels’ as they like to think of them. This we got to stop.
I recently read the first three pages or so of a thriller. Which turned out to be written by an indie movie maker (spoiler alerts follow — of my reading adventure). I didn’t know this until afterwards, when I looked up the author. Before that I gave up on page 4 or 5. The reading went as follows:
page 1 started the book with an interesting and thrilling scenario, the viewpoint character stumbles on wartime invasion. Promising start, I was hooked. Page 2, not so good, events jump around. But the viewpoint character is an injured recently invalided soldier with PTSD and so maybe it’s meant to be incoherent. Page 3 hmmm view point character is killed by an enemy in very unlikely if not impossible circumstance.
Page 4. the Protagonist introduced as “Brad, early forties …” At this point I was so astonished I addressed the author directly over my e-reader: You don’t know what age the guy is, and you’re the author? Get real man!
Page 5. Old flame of protagonist is introduced, she fills in back story “Brad, as you know we both married other people…blah blah blah for a page” It wasn’t quite that badly written but close.
Me to author — how about you stop using dialogue to pretend you are showing and not telling and just bloody well *tell* us, you writing as the damn narrator and leave the poor characters without this embarrassing clunky fake dialogue? Ruining my evening of reading man!
When I discovered that Nameless Author is actually a movie guy, all was explained — the Brad, early forties leaves the casting open — except this is a novel not a screenplay proposal — he is maybe under the impression that a novel is a rough draft of a screen play, with a bit of narrative and description in place of screen directions. Now I’ve only read a couple of extracts of screen-plays and they are very definitely not * not* novels or anything remotely like a novel.
Please for the love of John Malkovich, would movie people stop trying to pass off failed movie scripts as novels? Pretty please?