February 18…sixteen days since my last blog. I’m getting better. LOL Since my last post, I had a medium case of the flu, survived…gathered all the receipts and info for taxes, took them to our tax lady, survived…with a good refund coming(new fridge in a few days…can you feel my excitement?)…edited my first three chapters of my newest manuscript, and composed my query. I got everything ready to go only to discover the targeted publisher has changed the submission guidelines..again…third time in the last 2 months…and now they want the entire manuscript.
So, I have not met my GrapeMo goals to date. I have done a lot of punting these two weeks. But the sun is shining today, my husband was off for the holiday, my kids are home from classes and all is right with the world. Oh yeah, and chapter 4 is open and waiting. New GrapeMo goal..finish edits/rewrites of the last 15 chapters before the end of the month…and if not by the end of the month, before the 10th of March when I head to Charleston with the kids to play on the beach with one of my bestest friends.
So, all is good.
Okay, most things are okay. I have deliberated over this issue and wondered if I should blog about it or keep it to myself. Those of you who know me, understand why I’m doing so now. Those of you who don’t…well, I have a big mouth and I’m opinionated and well…here we are.
Do you have pet peeves that are reasonably nuts to everyone else, but when you come across an instance, it drives you nuts? Most writers I’ve spoken to over the years have mentioned one of their greatest dreams as authors would be to see their book made into a movie. I admit, I see words. I read, I see the scene played out in front of me. I write with a full cast and write the scenes as I see them. So, that said, sometimes I don’t always agree with the casting of a book I’ve read made into a movie, but that I can put up with. They didn’t call me for my opinion, after all, though I would have willingly given it to them for free.
For instance, one of my favorite books is Nora Roberts’ Carnal Innocence. While Gabrielle Anwar is a darling actress, thin, waif-like which fits the physical description of Caroline, anyone who watches her weekly in Burn Notice understands completely why they had to change the personality of the character from a broken-spirited, sickly musician into a strong, gun-toting character.
All readers know that there’s no way to take every scene of every beloved book and include them in a script. While there are those of us who are willing to sit for 4 hours in a theater if it means our favorite books end up unmolested, it’s not fiscally feasible, so my daughter just had to get over the scriptwriters leaving out Snape’s potions challenge in The Scorcer’s Stone. The Outsiders couldn’t do the book justice since it was basically a Stars of the Day Fest. Interview With a Vampire, much the same. Tom Cruise as Lestat??? Please.
But what about when they take a single book of a series, ignore the rest of the series, and make a movie that needs a disclaimer that reads: only the names remain the same?
So, okay, from here on in, spoiler alert. If you have read Beautiful Creatures and plan to see the movie, or if you’ve not read it and plan to see it, it’s been nice visiting with you. We’ll talk again in a few days…I hope. But right now, I’m going to ask you not to read any further because I’m going to give details that bug me, and I don’t want to hurt ticket sales. Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl have created a gorgeous series, rich and absorbing. It deserves to be read. And for those who haven’t read the series, you will enjoy the movie.
Now, since everyone has gone that needs to leave… For those of you who read the series and are planning to see the movie, be prepared. Obviously, neither the scriptwriter nor the director read anything beyond the first book in the series. Now we know why in all the promotion interviews, the actors state they weren’t allowed to read the rest of the series. While the movie is entertaining for what they ended up with, if you read the series, you’re going to find yourself sitting gape-mouthed asking…what the heck? The performances are brilliant, exaggerated southern accents aside. They needed comic relief, I guess. The casting of the main characters are fairly spot on. But the story only skims any resemblance of the story, and a lot of what was omitted was the richness of details…Lena driving an old yellow car instead of Uncle Macon’s hearse, omitting House and Kitchen and Boo Radley, for instance.
If this were the ONLY book, we could live with that, because, as I’ve said, the movie was entertaining if you weren’t looking for things that were crucial to ever making the other four books into films. Leaving out the way Ethan and Lena communicate by a sort of telepathy can easily be brought into the next movie, as can the omission of the Aunts, House, Kitchen and the dog. However, I can’t see how they will handle the problems they created by combining the characters of Amma, Ethan’s housekeeper and beloved mother figure, and Dr. Marion Ashcroft, Ethan’s late mother’s college friend who serves as not only the town’s library, but Keeper of Caster Library. Had the scriptwriter read the rest of the series, he would have realized that by combining these two characters, he were writing themselves into a corner, cheating the authors, the fans of the series, and the characters themselves. Amma and Marion are two separate and distinct characters, crucial to the ending that Garcia and Stohl created. Amma’s charms and crossword puzzles are a huge part of who she is, and meshing her with Marion’s job as keeper will likely make it necessary to omit a good portion of the third book, which will leave the screenwriter the daunting task of somehow trying to introduce a huge chunk of information vital to that ending.
So my question is this, when a book is a part of an ongoing series that tells a story that happens in a short span of time, why would a screenwriter not read the entire bit of the source material before beginning to pen the script? Movies Part One and Part Two, etc, are big, and have been since Friday the 13th part one…what are they on now? Friday the 13th part 215? Harry Potter, Twilight, LOR, etc have been popular for a reason. What was omitted, was done so without destroying the story. Too bad, the screenwriter of the Beautiful Creatures series didn’t realize that.
Now, I’m done grumbling. I donated my $15.oo to the cause, and I walk away with my disappointment, thanking the powers that be, that my daughter has the books and will allow me to read them whenever I wish.
Until next time, enjoy your February days. Spring’s coming.