Whew!!! As of this second, I have finished writing all of the articles I promised to write for people over the last six months. I now take a holy vow: No More Articles. It’s hard enough to stay on top of family, books, speeches, mail, and life. I do not have enough brain cells for articles.
Next project? Write the speeches I have to give this fall. Then it will be back to book writing.
I had a fun time speaking at Cornell on Wednesday. Gorgeous campus. The highlight for me was spending time in their Rare Books & Manuscript Collection before I spoke. Cornell houses the papers of E.B.White, author of Charlotte’s Web, etc.
I often point to Charlotte’s Web as having the best opening line in children’s fiction: “”Where’s Papa going with that axe?” asked Fern.” It was with profound joy that I discovered that White struggled through many, many different opening lines and scenes – several of them clunky – before he hit on that magical combination of immediacy and suspense. If revising over and over again was something that even E. B. White had to do in order to make his writing sing, then I feel better.
Thanks, btw, to kramtark and the other folks who came to hear me at Cornell.
ftjoshua wrote: “Do you think it is “right” or “fair” for Hollywood to make changes without the author’s consent? I understand the author usually signs away the rights to film, and that an author who doesn’t is less likely to have a film made of her book. But in spirit, do you agree with this practice?”
If you don’t sign away the rights, you won’t be offered a contract; plain and simple. Directors don’t want book authors bossing them around. Is it right? Is it fair?
To answer those questions fully, you should learn a little bit about screenplay writing. Screenplays are the scripts that are used to shoot a movie. There are standard requirements about screenplays – the length of time each page takes to shoot, etc. Many novels have complicated structures with layers of sub-plot and characterization. It is impossible to cram all of that detail into a 2-hour movie. Then you get into budget issues. SPEAK was made on the barest-bones budget imaginable, and it cost one million dollars. No producer is going to take on a project that comes with an author attached who will insist on seeing a fully-accurate representation of her book on the screen because it will bankrupt the project.
Is it right? Is it fair? No, but life is not fair. Life is just life.