Daniel (Danny) Lance Wright, Author

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Movies Versus Novels

I’ve concluded that I’m a closet romantic. I hide it well though, below layers and layers of testosterone-laden attitude.

Although I call it research, I watch chick-flicks frequently. Lately, thanks to Hulu, I’ve seen a series of formulaic romantic Christmas stories, too. They all end the same with a happy turn that dampens my eyes (don’t tell anyone). I thought it was worth a few moments of analytical thought on the subject.

The first question I asked myself was: Why will I watch a romantic movie but wouldn’t consider reading a romantic novel? I think it’s a valid question since I write novels and really want people to read my work. I don’t believe the answer is a difficult one at all.

A movie, you see, is over in less than two hours with little attachment to the characters, just a brief emotional moment near the end and, voila! It’s history, whereas, a novel is a true investment in the lives of the characters by the reader. Readers become attached to, or repelled by, the characters of a book and memorably so, if written well. These characters will live on and stay with the reader long after the book is finished. Not so with a movie, as a rule. In fact, I’ve watched many movies that I thoroughly enjoyed but a year later remembered only snippets of it, if at all.

I’ll go out on a limb and say that on a scale of how well a story is remembered would put a great movie, a blockbuster, on par with a mediocre novel. And, this is not a slam at the movie industry. It’s a simple matter of producers and directors not having adequate time to delve into the depths of each character. So, we, as viewers, don’t ever develop true emotional attachments to them.

In a novel, personalities are so well developed that we begin to identify with characters because they remind us of ourselves, spouses, siblings, children, or others in our lives and we actually put recognizable faces on them as we read. That’s just not so in movies.

If a movie attempted such depth of character, it would be a twenty-four hour movie, and that’s just not going to happen; no one would watch it. It would also cost as much to produce as the entire annual budget of some third-world countries.

So, I might be comfortable enough in my own skin to watch a romantic movie and enjoy it, but to read romance novels... well, that just might shatter a few self-imposed boundaries. To become attached to the characters of a romantic novel (and I certainly would) might cause my romantic side to come out, totally out. It wouldn’t be pretty.

Daniel (Danny) Lance Wright
Author of
"Paradise Flawed"/Dream Books LLC/2009
"Six Years' Worth"/Father's Press/2007
"The Last Radiant Heart"/Virtual Tales/August 2010
"Where Are You, Anne Bonny?"/Rogue Phoenix Press/ ebook available now 2010
“Trouble”, short story/CrossTIME Science Fiction Anthology, Vol. IX

“Defining Family”/Virtual Tales
“Annie’s World: Jake’s Legacy/Virtual Tales