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  •  Reading (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brecht, shari, cfk

    her acknowledgements I could see that she'd spent many years with a writers' group, lots of people she interacted with, who read her drafts and so on......which made it seem like a very serious endeavor for her. To me it was just a kind of perfect book. Just right.

    I wonder what it is exactly that makes a book feel like it was written for a movie? The scenes it creates? Certainly there were some great ones in that novel. Partly, good descriptions that bring a scene and the whole environment to life are just good writing and that cannot be always judged to have an ulterior motive. Not saying you did, just thinking about how a novelist could avoid that...... oh, blah, blah, blah, huh? ;~}

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 10:34:13 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Some writers do write books to be movies: (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shari, cfk, Monsieur Georges, Gorette

      John Grisham will decide that he'd like Tom Cruise or Julia Roberts to play a character, so when he describes that characters looks and personality, he's just showing you the star he's already cast in the movie that's sure to come out of his book.

      It's very calculated, but I'm not sure it's wrong to do that. If pinning his characters so enriches his imaginative work, he may create a more fully realized world as a result.

      On the other hand, it can feel like pandering, because the author is less interested in a striking imaginative creation (their own bravest dreams) than in weaving a dense sensual tapestry that will attract the largest popular audience.

      Dickens wrote movies before movies were invented. It's no accident that most of his books have seen multiple cinematic adaptations. His imagination lived in that rich sensual tapestry, and he loved to paint an entrancing story in all the colors of his worldview. But also, with his serialization, he absolutely had his finger on the pulse of what his huge audience wanted, and was happy to indulge their every appetite.

      This is an interesting conversation. I'm sorry that I probably won't be on the computer again before Monday.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 12:50:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ah (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brecht, cfk

        i'm not sure if there's anything wrong with trying to go for the movie angle specifically

        i'm not sure if this author was doing so either. i remember feeling the same way when reading jk rowling's harry potter series. i actually thought alan rickman would be perfect as snape. and so it was. same with michael scott's series for young adults, the alchemyst series.  

        i just kept 'seeing' this book as something on TV, very well-acted and fun to watch. i remember even wondering who would play the characters.

        maybe it was because the plot was so neat and tidy. there's the beginning, the tension in the middle, and then the end. everything ends up in the right spot. i could predict what was going to happen.

        but fun reading, no doubt. i recommend this book to most but it would be torn into little teeny tiny bits and pieces by my bookgroup.

        •  I think we're both trying to get at the same thing (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cfk, shari, Gorette

          which is, what are the strengths and richnesses of "cinematic" writing, and what are its weaknesses and limitations?

          On the one hand, the fact that you "kept 'seeing' this book" is an achievement: it worked on your imagination to show you its world.

          On the other hand, reading books of this ilk, I sometimes feel that that's all they're aiming for, and that they're missing the vital energy of great creation. You read Moby Dick and it's sizzling with ambition and playfulness, it's practically bursting at the seams, overflowing with creation. It's only cinematic once you throw half of it out.

          Like you, I find some cinematic books "so neat and tidy", and predictable. They're too busy showing me a finely contrived picture; they never try to sweep me away, they never ask me to invest my own spirit and imagination in my reading.

          But a book can be cinematic and also deeper than that: Dickens, Balzac, Tolstoy, Eliot and Joyce each give us a rich visual and sensual realism, which also contains a beating heart with mystery, dreams that we guess at but are never fully spelled out.

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 02:02:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Unfortunately, not all writers can be Melville. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cfk, shari

            heh. But, yes, one yearns for more, always. And from contemporaries.

            "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

            by Gorette on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 07:57:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not even Melville could be Melville often. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Gorette, cfk

              Unlike his first successes, Moby Dick bombed atrociously, and he grew more bitter and less ambitious - well, perhaps less exuberantly playful - as a result. And then, about 70 years later, modenism started to catch up with him, and people said "hey, this is a great book".

              "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

              by Brecht on Mon Oct 29, 2012 at 02:58:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Wow. IF I'd written Moby Dick I'd be pretty (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Brecht, cfk

                bitter if people hated it. Wouldn't that be horrible? Van Gogh-ish. Now I could have made a very bad joke about that.

                I don't know if he wrote it before or after that but I remember enjoying Bartleby the Scrivener.

                "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

                by Gorette on Mon Oct 29, 2012 at 03:18:23 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Feel free to make bad jokes, especially puns. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  cfk, Gorette

                  I do it so frequently that my best friend and I have an agreement that when either of us makes a joke, but it's not funny, they have to put their hand up to indicate that they made a joke.

                  Bartleby the Scrivener has a certain magic. I am frequently tempted, when asked to do something simple by someone well-read, to reply "I would prefer not to".

                  Billy Budd is a sad but very well-told tale, too.

                  "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                  by Brecht on Mon Oct 29, 2012 at 04:06:55 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Ah, yes, that quote. How could I have forgotten (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Brecht

                    that? In many of the jobs I had after reading that I would have preferred to say that very often!

                    I couldn't help but think of Melville and Moby Dick when I saw that ship the HMS Bounty which was going to sink. I know that whaling vessels were different, but same era, right? So sad to see a beautiful ship replicated and then it sinks, along with a young woman crew member and the captain. I just wanted to say that somewhere. I live alone and have no one to just chat with usually.

                    Actually I love Vincent so much I hate jokes about his ear, and that's probably why I didn't make it.

                    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

                    by Gorette on Tue Oct 30, 2012 at 08:26:07 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I did not know about the HMS Bounty, but I looked (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Gorette

                      up an article since you mentioned it. I have no TV, and it saves me from no end of trauma and depression. That was a sad tale - she sounded so happy in the weeks before the tragedy.

                      Vincent, too, such a tragedy. I like that line on Don McLean's American Pie album:

                      But I could have told you, Vincent,
                      This world was never meant for one
                      As beautiful as you.
                      Everyone cultured and sensitive feels sad for Vincent, for working so hard, making so many magnificent paintings, and selling just one in his lifetime. But we should admire his courage, too, the strength of his conviction. His paintings didn't sell, but he never stopped, he stayed true to his muse. Thank God, for us and posterity.

                      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                      by Brecht on Tue Oct 30, 2012 at 05:13:53 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  That's true, and he is a good inspiration for (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Brecht

                        writers as well as artists. Thanks so much for reminding me of those beautiful lyrics which I love, and the website, new to me. That catalogue of his works is unreal.

                        Don't know about you but I was very fortunate to visit his museum in Amsterdam years ago and it was overwhelming to me. At that time they had about 300 paintings and drawings so you could see the progression and how much work he accomplished in his short years, putting all he had into it. The blinding beauty of one of his paintings seen in person provokes awe. It's not really just beauty though, it's a spirit, comprehension of reality and vibrancy. They sing. As I'm sure you know, it's just nice to talk about my favorite painter (painting is another of my vices).

                        I used to have a great print of this in my home, but in person at the Musee D'Orsay it is incredibly alive, the colors much brighter. (Hey, do you think I use too many adjectives? heh. I seem to love superlatives but with Vincent they are inevitable.)

                        Fritillaries

                        True colors of that painting.

                        "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

                        by Gorette on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 09:34:08 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Adjectives are great. I try to use a wide variety. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Gorette

                          For instance, about 6% of the adjectives I use are "great". But I'm working on it.

                          I went to Amsterdam once. I enjoyed it, but I'd have had a wilder kind of fun if I hadn't been there with my dad. Still, we both loved the rijstaffel, and the Van Gogh museum was a revelation. The Rembrandts in the other big museum were pretty impressive. But Van Gogh is wonderful to immerse yourself in.

                          There are such energy and spirit shining out of Vincent's work. He enriched the world.

                          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                          by Brecht on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 05:59:38 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

      •  Ok. Sure they do, and lots of writers started out (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cfk, shari

        with the aim of selling a book to make money. Necessity is the mother of invention and all that, nothing wrong with creativity being motivated by survival.

        When it comes to creating a product I don't want to judge people and be a purist. Different writing products will appeal to different audiences. But if you are going to talk about writing as art, as literature, that's maybe different though it's perfectly possible for an individual to write something for crass reasons yet produce a piece of art. No rules, just doing it. It's late, I can write like I know what I'm talking about.

        About it's feeling like pandering........really, don't you think that doing that one could be just as creative as when pursuing "their own bravest dreams"?

        See ya later.

        "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

        by Gorette on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 07:54:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There is something particularly fetching about (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cfk, Gorette

          authors who aim to write on a basic level, but end up smuggling unintended depths into their work, often unconsciously. People write children's books that turn into something more (e.g. The Hobbit). And people write genre pieces, aiming for a formula, but get caught up in richer dreams than they intended. So dreams are frequently brave in themselves, and waylay the well-laid plans of our conscious minds.

          If the author is caught up in their own cinematic vision, just putting it on paper can create a world that will enchant us too. If an author loves the work they are doing, and has a rich imagination, there are many angles from which to write a captivating book.

          So if pandering means "aiming for something basic", you can certainly do that with so much gusto that your book comes truly to life. But pandering can be destructive to great creativity if an author is so busy writing to formula that they leave no room for their dreams and characters to breathe for themselves.

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Mon Oct 29, 2012 at 03:20:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's so well said, Brecht. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Brecht

            I agree completely. This makes me think you have written fiction or maybe are a teacher. I was going to be an English teacher, got the degree but never did it. I've written genre fiction, a mystery, and it was something that did hold me back from what might have come forth because I was wanting it to come across as serious. (This was 3 decades ago and the genre was not as wide as it now is.) I wish someone had told me just to be myself. If I'd been advising another writer I might have said that because there is no point in hiding yourself when writing. I had only four hours sleep last night so not expressing this as well as I might. At least I like to believe that!

            Hey, that kind of goes with your SJ quote!

            "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

            by Gorette on Tue Oct 30, 2012 at 08:46:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh, I'd say I'm more of a pontificator. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Gorette

              I'd like very much to write fiction, and fully intend to. Unfortunately, it seems to take an awful lot of work. So I pontificate, which saves me the trouble of editing. But I'm serious about writing, that is my ambition.

              I agree with you that "there is no point in hiding yourself when writing". But the self and the ego are always playing hide-and-seek, whether we will or no. There are writers who wrote several pedestrian books before they discovered the whole of their own voice. There are others who had it at first, then seemed to lose it. Lampedusa didn't start writing until he was 60, and then came out with a classic - he must have been writing it his whole life, before he ever put pen to paper.

              I don't believe I'll write good fiction, until I find in me stories I love so much, that the hard work of writing them is fun for me. If you still have that love for the mystery behind the one you once wrote, maybe it's time to start the second draft. But only if the love is actually burning in your heart, because the work of it is long and sometimes cold.

              "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

              by Brecht on Tue Oct 30, 2012 at 05:36:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  For sure it needs to burn in your heart, the (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Brecht

                desire to write no matter what. If you just play at it you'll get nowhere.

                You also need to stay engaged with people in some way to provide a continuous source of ideas. When I curtailed that I knew it would be a negative for writing and I was right.

                But the urge to write never seems to die in me. Just this morning in bed I was thinking, after a period of brooding over my niece's problems with her ex-husband, that since I seem to be good at giving advice and love to do that, perhaps I could try a novel in which I do just that and explore where it goes. That's one of my better ideas I think in recent years and it comes from those interactions and events in real life.

                I wish you many good years of writing and have no doubt you will do it. You know so much about it I hesitate to say this, but, for what it's worth: Due to my experience I strongly agree with those who advise writers that once they get started to go full speed ahead to completion because if you stop it is sometimes impossible to get back into it, which is what happened to me. My whole state of mind changed after, of all things, my then husband had a psychotic break and was diagnosed as bipolar. He was a professor at Boston College and it was totally unexpected. The moral being you never know what will happen.

                Well, after that happy note, cheers!

                "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

                by Gorette on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 07:46:24 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  "You also need to stay engaged with people in some (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Gorette

                  way" - that's very true, though I do think two or three close friends, or one soul-mate, can be half a world unto themselves.

                  I'm sorry to hear about your tragedies, especially your husband. Mental instabililty, and lightning bolts out of the blue, are hard to come to terms with. They do give you plenty to write about, if you can face them. And the writing, getting through the amorphous pain and sadness, can be very healing. But you already know this, and must do whatever works best for you.

                  I saw your diary but haven't read it yet. This library doesn't give me a lot of time on the computer, and I've been caught up in replying to you and tonight's bookflurries. I'll have to look for you again tomorrow or Friday.

                  I hope you had a Happy Halloween.

                  "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                  by Brecht on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 08:20:39 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Thanks, Brecht. (0+ / 0-)

                    Oh, Halloween, don't love it so it's nothing much to me except something to get through. But hope you enjoyed it! I loved my black cat costume my mom made me once-- it had a long tail! Do you have a favorite costume?

                    On my diary you mentioned, it has a bit of hyperbole in that I've never been in a nursing home. I went with truth but extended into a situation which I fear at times. It wrote itself because of that. I'm glad it got attention because the decimation and pain it would cause if Romney got in and ruined Medicaid is not realized by many.

                    It's so good communicating with you, and I much appreciate your comment about my "tragedies."

                    I used to work in the Commerce Library at Ohio State, back in the 60's! Met first husband there. I was bad at chosing men! I can laugh about it now. What kind of library are you working in or is it at a student?

                    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

                    by Gorette on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 09:24:29 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I was on Daily Kos yesterday, and would've left a (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Gorette

                      reply here - but the website got so busy that I lost the connection and never got back on it. It was definitely a swarm of Kossacks, since every other site on the internet was working just fine.

                      Halloween's fun, though I don't do much about it these days. In college I once dressed as Hamlet's Id (just Hamlet + a very Halloweeny T-shirt with orange flames and gibbering faces). But I fully inhabited the part, which was a blast.

                      Hyperbole's fine, if it makes its point persuasively, and chooses its points well, as you did. Satire (e.g. Swift's A Modest Proposal) is even better, but a lot harder to pull off. I'll check your diary, and it's nice to know in advance that you haven't been in a nursing home.

                      I'm in the Santa Monica public library, on a pleasant sunny day in LA. They have a lot of computers, and a pretty decent selection of books. I hope it's nice where you're at.

                      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                      by Brecht on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 02:13:59 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

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