Tag Archives: harry potter

Changes …

I suppose I should have probably put this in the ‘Inane Thoughts’ category, but it really does have … something … to do with writing. Obviously, I’ve been making a lot of changes to this place recently, and I’ve been through a lot of changes in the past nine months or so as well.  I don’t really know how relevant any of that is. But the more I look back at old pieces, the more I’m starting to consider whether these changes in my life have actually been reflected in my writing.

I’ll start with style and tense, though, because to me, this is the most obvious change. Upon looking back at things written pre-2012 I’ve noticed mostly that it was almost impossible to tear me away from third person past tense. I wrote everything in third, I guess because it was comfortable, because it was what I had been used to reading and it was comfortable enough for me to write in.

Now, I just can’t stand it.

I don’t mean for this to be insulting to anyone who writes in third person past, because I don’t mean I hate this type of narration. I’m just not comfortable writing in it anymore. And for me, this is more than a little strange because it’s all I wrote in for nearly a decade. Like I said, it was comfortable. It was straightforward. I liked that as much as anything else.

Really, I couldn’t tell you what my issue with it is now. I feel slightly out of my comfort zone when I try to revert to it, not that I wouldn’t like to try, and as though there’s something missing. There’s a connection I’m not making because of the way I’m writing the story. And I start to consider how each story could have been so different if it was just written in a different way; I mean, there are some that probably wouldn’t have worked, but a number that would have, and these seem a little like missed opportunities to me. I also feel as though there’s something I’m not quite reaching or tapping into that I desperately want to, and that the narration is important in relation to this.

Anyway, self-indulgence over for the time being, I suppose what I’m really getting at is how much does narration and style really govern? As I’ve stated above, there are times when I feel as though the direction of an entire story hinges upon it. But then, are there novels that would remain almost the same regardless of how they’re told? I’ll use a very well-known example here; how different would the Harry Potter novels have been if they’d have been written in first person? Considering J.K. Rowling followed Harry for the most part (and yes, I did read these, even though they’re not my usual ‘bag’, but it was quite a while ago now, so the details are probably off anyway), how much would this have impacted the story? Then, on the other hand, we have a favourite of mine, American Psycho, which would not be the same novel if written from a different perspective, and there is no way around this. If Tim Price was telling the story, it would have been impossibly different. It probably wouldn’t have been titled American Psycho either, though, because in Price’s mind, Patrick Bateman doesn’t butcher women in his apartment. Price just doesn’t know anything about this. 

I digress (if only slightly). The easiest answer to the question would be that it depends entirely on the novel, and to some degree, it does, but I do think it also depends on the writer. There are certain hallmarks we come to associate with certain writers; so it’s not too far-fetched to guess that this is also the case from a more personal standpoint. Part of writing, in and of itself is, after all, establishing your own voice as a writer, as well as allowing your characters to establish theirs. I would guess that this has a little something to do with knowing yourself before getting to know anyone else; knowing yourself as a writer before getting to know the people you’re writing about. Because no matter which voice you use, it’s never entirely possible to shake the feeling that you’re still telling someone else’s story. You’re writing  about them, not  as them. (Oh, look, I switched into second for a while, there).

And I have to wonder, is this really anything more than drunken rambling?But it’s been bothering me for a while now. So I suppose I just had to get it out there.

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Page & Screen: What It’s All About

If nothing else relatively new comes out of this, then this is, perhaps, the most obvious. I’ve been in two minds about this for quite some time because it would be easy enough to say: ‘well, what the hell does it have to do with literature?’ But really, the connections do exist and they’re fairly obvious, so sure, I feel as though I can justify the existence of this new … ‘project’, at least in my own mind.


Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas; 1996, Dir. Terry Gilliam
Based On the Novel By Hunter S. Thompson

From the stellar success of franchises like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and, (as much as I hate to admit it) Twilight, to groundbreaking cult classics such as Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas (pictured above) and Fight Club , adaptations are firmly rooted in cinema history.

In the best scenarios, a successful adaptation will capture the essence of the book and highlight the themes that run through it without forgetting the importance of the visual and sensory aspects that contribute to the experience. The worst-case scenarios usually involve sacrificing the substance of the novel for the style of the film. Essentially, it’s about finding a balance that showcases the strengths of both mediums ; and when it works, the end result can be fantastic.

I have to admit, I’m more inclined to focus on the positive where I can here. Not every adaptation works, and not ever novel will be ideal to make the transition from page to screen; but I don’t feel as though bringing a book to the silver screen is really a bad thing in most cases. There’s a level of disconnection that maybe has to be exercised – it’s easier to treat the book and the film of the book as separate entities entirely because both usually have strengths of their own. There are ways we envision and interpret the things we read that don’t always add up, ways in which the film actually improves on what we imagined, and ways in which what is on the screen doesn’t quite meet our expectations.  I mean, I feel a little like I’m preaching to the choir here. I’m going over things that mostly everyone knows in a bid to try and explain this project, when maybe it doesn’t need that much explaining.

So the goal? To take a look into the transition from page to screen; what makes an adaptation successful? What makes it fall flat? Is there ever any such thing as a faithful adaptation, or will there always be the need for some kind of ellipsis? I also plan on taking a look into how the themes of the source material are represented on screen, if at all, and how, as well as the cultural impact these films tend to make. The intention is to break this little project up into sections focusing on different things, but exactly what these things are I have yet to determine. But the real challenge will be keeping it in line with everything else that goes on here, because this is not a movie blog. It is simply that the two mediums have a lot in common with each other.

That’s the plan, anyway. We’ll see how it works out sooner or later.

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