Sunday, 7 December 2014

Writing - Leave my story alone please

I begin today with an apology. Having the good fortune to have so many followers and links to various social media  options it is sometimes difficult to maintain regular contact and for that I'm sorry. I've made a number of good friends through writing and I value all of them.

That brings me on to stories and their integrity.

I know that I brought this subject up not so long since but when you write a story it is a very personal exercise. I'm in process of finishing off my latest Steele novel Earth plc and it is almost like setting a child out into the world. The last thing you want is the story taken and regurgitated in a different format but in a such a way that the original storyline is almost unrecognisable. I'm referring to the cinematic treatment of The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien. The story is quite a simple tale focussing on the adventures of Bilbo Baggins an unlikely hero, and that is the core of the story. I know Tolkien also wrote the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and I'm aware of the huge moneymaking trilogy made for the cinema, but The Hobbit is not the same style or material. Disappointing!

I remember taking my daughter, aged 12, to see the first Harry Potter film and her subsequent reaction. It reminds me of why we write. She was disappointed because there were so many differences between the book and what was presented on the screen. Obviously, she was aware that it is just about impossible to reproduce written stories in their entirety but even so there were too many gaps and absent characters for her liking at that age. I wonder what J K Rowling thought?

Finally, a recent film The Saving of Mr Banks which is really about the subject which I'm addressing. P L Travers was desperate to retain the book and central character as she wrote them and her efforts to keep Walt Disney at bay were both poignant and funny. She even tried to convince Disney that there should be no colour red in the final production! But the point was that the original book was about her own quite painful early life in Australia, her relationship with her father and the 'saviour' who came to bale the family out of trouble after her father died. So it was intensely personal. You will have to watch it and judge for yourselves.

So as my latest story is on the verge of being launched please enjoy it but don't think of how you could make it better but rather what lies beneath.

God Bless