Waiting for Hollywood?

If you read this blog regularly, you know I see quite a few movies—some blockbusters, others more artistic films that don’t draw crowds. In spite of Hollywood’s attempts to halt its influence, my favorite review site is Rotten Tomatoes, but to be honest, I don’t put much stock in either book or movie reviews, except my own, of course. That’s not being smug; it’s simply a recognition that anyone’s opinion of a book or film is subjective.

As an author, though, I can’t help wondering how my many novels would fare on the silver screen. I’ve been asked that a lot. I’d like to include m short stories and novellas for consideration too. Phillip K. Dick probably holds the Guinness record for the number of stories that became movies, and many of these weren’t novels. Short fiction is probably better matched to a two-hour movie.

Most authors are just happy to have a successful book, however that’s defined. Hollywood has two sources for its screenplays: popular stories and original screenplays. The second are often weak in plot and overloaded with sex, violence, and action, especially if they’re of the blockbuster type. The plots are often non-existent. The first, if they’re novels, are often too complex and Hollywood dumbs them down and misses most of the plot, characterization, themes, settings, and dialogue that the fiction author worked so hard on.

My novels tend to be complex; I don’t do simple. I’m almost certain that Hollywood wouldn’t know what to do with them. In Rembrandt’s Angel, I even provided a cast of main characters, more because some of their names are also complicated and hard to remember (Bastiann van Coevorden, the Dutch Interpol agent, is an example). That might help the reader with the complex plot too. Maybe the George Bernard Shaw quotes introducing the theme of each part of the novel could help as well.

The next question I sometimes get is: Who should play character X? Because I’ve never expected Hollywood to make a movie based on one of my stories, this is always a tough question. I don’t imagine an actor and mold my character to that person. Actors really don’t have personalities—they portray different ones. The question is really about which actor looks like my character. Taken in that way, the question is better suited to a casting professional. I’m not that person, although I could have fun imagining the actor who plays one of my characters…or working with a casting professional to find one.

These questions are common but probably wasted on most novelists. Maybe a movie based on one of their books will bring them more fame and income, but they shouldn’t be sad when it doesn’t happen. In fact, it might be a good thing.


Rembrandt’s Angel (a mystery/thriller from Penmore Press). To what lengths would you go to recover a stolen masterpiece? Scotland Yard’s Arts and Antiques Inspector Esther Brookstone goes the extra mile. She and paramour/sidekick Bastiann van Coevorden, an Interpol agent, set out to outwit the dealers of stolen art and recover “An Angel with Titus’ Features,” a Rembrandt painting stolen by the Nazis in World War Two. Their efforts lead to much more, as they uncover an international conspiracy that threatens Europe. During their dangerous adventures, their relationship solidifies and becomes a full-blown romance. See the review and interview at Feathered Quill. This book is available in ebook format at Amazon and at Smashwords and its affiliate retailers. It’s available as a print version at Amazon, B&N, or your favorite bookstore (if not there, ask for it).

In libris libertas….


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