Monday, August 20, 2018

Lies They Tell Writers, Part 46: This would make a great movie!

If you’ve published a novel, chances are someone (perhaps yourself) has said it would make a great movie. Maybe it would. Yours, and probably hundreds of others.
The thing is, there are a lot more books published than there are movies produced. A lot. Especially since digital publishing made it possible for anyone and everyone to get a book in print. The same is not true for movies. But while digital technology has changed movie making as much as it has publishing, it is still an expensive proposition, involving lots of talented people on both sides of the camera. And still, it is the people who have the money to make a movie who decide which movies get made, and it seldom has anything to do with the quality of the script.
Even if someone decides to make a movie of your book, you may not recognize it when it’s finished. I once heard it equated to selling a house with a view. Someone with money likes it and buys it. Then they tear down your house and build their own house. It turns out it was the view—the idea, maybe, a character, or the plot—they liked, not your writing.
But, it can happen. Your book just might become a major motion picture. It happened to my friend Thomas Cobb. Many years ago, he wrote a novel called Crazy Heart. Movie makers liked it. In fact, it was optioned about a dozen times, but nothing ever happened.
Finally, another production company picked it up and Jeff Bridges won an Oscar for his starring role.
Thomas has written several novels since, some of them are likely better than Crazy Heart. He’s not expecting to see any of them on the big screen. He describes his experience with Crazy Heart as “being struck by benevolent lightning.”
And you know the old saying: lightning seldom strikes the same place twice.


  1. Good stuff, Rod. My response to a reader's suggestion one of my books 'would make a good movie': Why would I wish for that when lottery tickets are so cheap.