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Tag Archives: the dark tower

Greetings, Bearers!

Before launching into the meat of this post, I do want to start by saying that 1.) yes, I am still alive, 2.) yes, I am still writing (although the actual publishing is on hold for a little bit), 3.) yes, I am still sitting on potentially good news that has not yet come to light (it’s the waiting that kills me, and 4.) Yes, I am very disappointed by my Wolverines’ lack of an offense last night against an inferior team that they should have beaten by four scores and could have if playcalls and decisions had been better thought out.

Okay, enough rant.

As you probably know, Hollywood has come out with a double feature of Stephen King’s stories, now turned into films. And while the verdict is still a bit mixed concerning It, the general consensus about The Dark Tower is that it falls far short of the storytelling and vivid imagination that King puts on his pages. This, of course, led me to thinking about writing and films, as I, like Mr. King, am also an author (though not even close to his league) and have wondered from time to time whether or not the day may ever come when I get a phone call or read a message from somebody requesting to make any of my works into silver screen productions.

The sad thing is that, although King is a master of novel writing, I believe he sells his work short when he puts it on film–or at least a good portion of it (Misery was fantastic, and I don’t even mind Kubrick’s The Shining, even though King himself wasn’t pleased about the departure it took from his novel). What I mean to say is that, when we as writers write short stories or novels, we’re writing for just that: the printed page. Yes, we often envision our scenes, but we envision them into the print media, in hopes that the reader will extract that scene and see what we see. Written stories, and novels in particular, can take liberties with pacing, plot, and character that many times a movie cannot–or worse yet, will not, if the writer is unfortunate enough to find a director and scriptwriters who essentially kill the source material for their own “re-imagining” (Ronald D. Moore, you who killed Battlestar Galactica, are you reading this?).

And unfortunately, many a great novel has been read by a well-meaning Hollywood person, and that person has turned around and said “This should be made into a movie!” while not recognizing that many of the elements that make the novel so great either cannot be placed into a film or would be gutted by an unscrupulous production team.  Without calling them out myself, I’m sure you who are reading my post probably have a couple coming to mind; I know I do. Something is often lost: perhaps its a character whose cutting leaves a hole in the plot or in the development of the other characters. Maybe it’s a scene so fantastic and vivid in scope and fantasy that F/X crews, usually well-intentioned but misguided, end up ruining with ambitious GCI. Or maybe a plot point or scene is rewritten in such a way as to kill that moment in the story, turning a cohesive event into a pointless waste of camera time. Whatever it is, whenever you share your creativity, you also run the risk of killing your creation.

So to answer the question “Hey J., would you like it if your books or short stories were turned into novels?” I’m not so sure I would.  Yes, it might pay well, and I have to admit that’s a tempting point. But what good is money when you sell your ethics or your integrity? Why, for example, would you be so willing to sell a Picasso, knowing that there’s a good chance that the buyer’s going to throw acid on the canvas? Of course, while my works are nowhere as valuable as King’s or Picasso’s, the point is that they’re something I work hard at, something I want to shape, mold, and display, like a great piece of art. I would hate to see that art crumble or vandalized at the hands of another, even if I get a buck out of it.

Not all novels need to be made into films. Some are fine the way they are. Writers, hear me out: think carefully about settling for money above all else. I enjoy a paycheck as much as the next person, but I want it to come on my terms, with my work preserved and displayed, not ruined by meddling hands and ignorant minds.

Okay, that’s my talk. I’m not to the point of Harlan Ellison’s rage about every little thing, and I hope I didn’t come across like a fussy curmudgeon, but I do take my work seriously, and I want it preserved in whatever form it takes. And if that means keeping it to the page instead of cashing in like King or Rowling or any other writer, then so be it.

I hope I can keep that integrity.

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

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Greetings, Bearers!

No, I doubt that Stephen King will see this, because… well, the guy probably doesn’t know that I exist.  But that’s okay, because the trailer for the beginning of his Magnum Opus has finally been released after far too long, and it looks phenomenal!

The Dark Tower Trailer

Got a little bit of a wait for it, but I’m very pumped about this one!

Okay, let me continue with my own feeble attempts at writing now…

See you in the Vein, or maybe in MidWorld!

J. Dean