I haven’t posted for a while because I’ve been writing, not posting, and I’m well into a new book.
But this caught my attention online a few weeks ago, excerpted from an interview with Isabel Allende on NPR, when she was asked about adapting her latest novel, “Ripper,” for the movie screen:
Let’s not talk about Hollywood. … They want the rights to do the movie and everything else they can think of, forever. There’s no limit to the contract — ‘In this universe and universes to be discovered’ — I’m not making this up: This is in the contract. And they also want the copyright of the characters, so I lose my characters, and if I want to repeat them in another book I have to pay them a royalty. Give me a break.
1. Why is every author asked when her book is going to be made into a movie? A film adaptation is not some seal of approval. At best it’s some additional income, though apparently won at a terrible price, if Allende is to be believed.
2. Who would think an author would want to sell the copyright to her characters? And then demand the author pay them a royalty to write about her characters in the future? And in this case the author isn’t even some struggling newbie anxious for fame and fortune. This is one of the more popular novelists in the business. Let’s hope that after her outrage, she just laughed at them.
3. Most importantly, I like books that are just books. I don’t write to make movies, though my creative writing teacher told me years ago I was a fool not to. I write a book to be a book, and when I’m reading some other writer’s work that starts sounding like they’re angling for a Hollywood contract, I’m disappointed. Let Hollywood make a movie if it must (right now I’ve got a film version of “As I Lay Dying” in my Netflix queue), but first give me a writer who has a story he needs to tell in words – without pictures, sound or a box of Raisinets.