Monday, August 11, 2014

adaptations.

Adapting a screenplay from a novel I've written is an act of undressing. I strip away my worst habits  -- in particular my tendency to finesse language when I don't know motivation and to prop a scene with  psychological justification when I should rely on the scene itself and my relentless need to dip back into childhood to account for the present. Now that it's bare, I see all the opportunities I left on the table. It's humbling. I've written many of my novels first as screenplays -- the larger strokes, the more essential moments of dialogue. I always end up making sweeping changes for the reader as there are things the reader demands that the viewer doesn't. But the adaptation second is the harder lesson, so brutal it might be worth writing the adaptation before I hand off the next novel, like running it through a series of durability test -- chief among them imaginative, visual, ache, gesture, moment for moment...