I was reading through some random Absolute Write links yesterday and stumbled across this post from Ally Carter called “A letter to Baby Author Me (circa 2004).”
In the post she says, “People are getting ready to start telling you ‘You should make your book into a movie.’ You will hear it every day. This does not make you special. EVERY author hears this every day. Get really, really good at answering (or ignoring) this question.”
It made me laugh. Because, already, and I think I’ve only really explained my book to a dozen people at most, I’ve had at least two of them suggest that my book sounds like it would make a great movie.
I want to respond, “Gee, I really hope it makes a great book.” But I understand that they’re just trying to be positive and supportive and that for a lot of people movies have a higher cool factor than books.
Given the choice, I would rather write an excellent book that was turned into a crappy movie than write a mediocre book that was turned into an amazing movie. I’m a writer. The book is me (and by the time it gets published (fingers crossed) a whole slew of other people). A movie is the actors, directors, set designers, and all those other people who have important roles in movies that I don’t know about. The story is just the little teensy beginning of what makes a great movie.
Sure, it might be nice to someday see my vision come to life on a big screen, but the odds of it being my vision are so slim that it really isn’t a goal of mine. If the opportunity arose, I’d probably go for it. (I have a certain aversion to snake oil salesman types that’s a bit irrational, so if one of those was making the offer I might walk away from very good money because my skin was crawling too much for me to say yes.) I do like money. It’s a good thing to have. So, when people come along and offer me money, I at least consider the offer.
But writing a screenplay is not my goal. I want to write books. Hopefully ones people enjoy. Really, that will be enough for me. But I’ll continue to smile and nod when my friends suggest the movie route because I know it just means they care.