I have a deep, dark secret that I’m going to share with you: I’ve watched many, many more movies than I’ve read books. The sacred rule is that writers must read – voraciously – and in so doing I’ve broken that rule. Often. More often than not, in fact. Which raises the obvious question: am I qualified to write?
Consider the following:
A script, writes David B. Coe, is little more than dialogue and plot. The meat of it belongs to the directors, actors, set designers, etc., who collaborate to give it life. In adapting a rigid screenplay into a novel, he discovered that the only way to personalize the project was to delve deeply into the minds of its protagonists. In so doing, he found a means to make the novelization his own.
Or, as I’d like to think, he discovered the gravy. That is, the actors’ ticks, mannerisms, and gestures, the film’s location, tone, and mood, its pacing, cues, and score, none of which exist in books, at least not in the same tangible, caught on camera, sense of the word. A novel, then, is not unlike a script. Our film crew is our boundless imagination, and our editing tools infinitely workable wordplay.
Am I qualified to write? I couldn’t tell you. What I can say is this: I know when writing is missing gravy. And I love gravy.