Backward Adaptation

So, my latest writing project is a little goofy. It’s an adaptation of a screenplay I wrote for a movie currently in production. I guess, technically, it’s a novelization of a film, but since I’m writing both the source and the adapted work, the word novelization doesn’t really feel like the right word.

(These dudes are making the movie I wrote, soon to be a novel I wrote, right now!!!)

I always think of a novelization as a quick knock-off churned out by writers to make a quick buck. They go light on literary insight and generally stick to the script. Hired hands are not tied to the project in the same way a writer is devoted to his of her own material. I suppose that’s not really fair. There are some splendid novelizations out there. If somebody hired me to do one, I’d throw all I have into it. I’d try to find a way to connect to the material and give it my all. There’s no reason to think another writer wouldn’t feel the same. Maybe I need to read more novelizations.

I like to teach WEST SIDE STORY after finishing up Romeo & Juliet and we read from a novelization by this guy named Irving Shulman (he has a few original novels under his belt too). He does a nice job turning a musical into a straight-up gang drama, throwing in lots of flair, characterizing the mean streets, giving the characters little nuances not seen in the original source material.

(Like the play? Read the novelization. There’s no singing or dancing, but it’s still good!)

In my particular case, I plan on spicing things up. The movie should be cool (I like how the screenplay came out), but the book? Oh, the book will be grand. I’m gonna build upon everything I’ve all ready developed and make it as lyrically arresting as I possibly can. It’ll be a worthy companion to the film. It’ll be hard for me to pick a favorite, but as a general rule of thumb, the book is always better… With the folks working on ATHENA (the name of the book and film), I’ve got my work cut out for me though. They’re doing some wonderful things that may be hard to top!


2 Responses to “Backward Adaptation”

  1. […] Calvillo Must Be Destroyed obliterating the world one word at a time « The Nest Backward Adaptation […]

  2. Very cool. Can’t wait to read it.

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