I'm author ELLE STRAUSS and welcome to my website.
I write fun, lower Young Adult (teen) fiction to do with whimsical things like time-travel, fairies and merfolk (with a nice helping of romance!) When my serious side peeks out, she's called LEE STRAUSS. She likes to write upper YA/adult about romance in the past, present and future.
There's always a TIME for romance!!
This blog is about books, mine and other fab authors', but occasionally I'll share about other topics. Thanks for dropping by!
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
When Good Books Make Bad Movies - and why flashbacks are a bad idea
But sometimes it doesn't work. At all. I'm afraid I'm talking about The Host. I actually really liked the book and so I was looking forward to how it would translate to screen. The Twilight books had made the shift well and successfully, so I had no reason to think this Stephanie Meyer book wouldn't as well.
Especially with this promising trailer.
But it didn't. Not by a long shot.
So where did the writers and producers go wrong?
In my opinion, they relied too heavily on flashbacks. The trailer got it right. The leads fall in love, we fall in love with the leads, then they get separated. She makes a sacrifical move to save the ones she loves. That's how the aliens get her...real time conflict.
The problem with flashbacks is that we know the event already happened and are aware of the outcome. There is no opportunity for tension or anticipation. The writers of The Host fell into the myth that tension = action sequence, so they chose to open with the scene where Melanie jumps through the window, without building up a reason, or an emotion response in the viewers to care. We don't know why she did that, and we don't know her.
We can't fall in love with them as they fall in love, because we see the whole romance through choppy flashback scenes. The love affair already happened. We weren't part of it. So when she's chased by the aliens, we're not afraid for her. We're not worried about what her capture will do to him. And later when they reunite, we don't feel the pain of their loss. There is no chemistry for us to enjoy. It's flat. And boring.
The Hobbit suffered from this as well. Too much flashback. One of the lead hobbits spends a good amount of time remembering how he fought the big white guy. But since we already knew the outcome (he lives), there was no emotional tension in the fight scene.
This is why we must shy away from using flashbacks in our novels. They can be useful to remind the reader of something, but they shouldn't take the place of the something. Readers want to be pulled into the story, not talked at.
How about you? Have you seen any good book to film movies lately? Any bad ones?