The Fiction Is Sometimes Worse Than the Fiction
by Christine Burke
They say that truth is stranger than fiction. For me, I think that many times the fiction is worse than the fiction, and by that I am referring to the movie version of a great novel. What do you do when the character is totally out of character? Has this happened to you?
One of the first times it hit me was with The Pelican Brief. The book was turned into a movie, and I was so excited to see it on the big screen. Then, “Whoosh!” The air went out of my balloon, and I just could not replicate the synergy of the two characters, played in the movie by Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington. While they were great in the book and in my imagination, they were horrible on screen.
Next, this happened with Katherine Heigl’s portrayal of Stephanie Plum, Janet Evanovich’s bounty hunter. Another disappointment. I have followed Evanovich’s series since the beginning and I had my characters all mapped out. I came to anticipate their attitudes, their looks, and their dialogue, and then, “Wham!” Was I thrown off-guard watching the movie version. While I actually like Ms. Heigl, I did not enjoy her in this role. And now, I have just seen the movie trailer for the next Jack Reacher novel. Please, do you really picture Tom Cruise instead of, say, John Cena? Doesn’t make sense.
For a writer, and a reader, the beauty is in the written word, best leaving ample character development in your hands and up to your imagination. In my opinion, a properly developed character will have just enough details to guide your imagery and imagination without stifling you or boring you with too many specifics. When done properly, it makes sitting down with a book just like donning a comfortable sweater or sinking into a comfy couch and the anticipation of having time to enjoy such treats.
I vote for fiction, and my version of someone’s fiction at that. I guess the only alternative is to not see the movie if I have already read the book or not reading the book if I have seen the movie. I want my characters to be who I want them to be, regardless of how the author or the director sees them. That’s MY truth and I’m sticking to it!
Christine Burke combines her personality and experience in her consulting, educational, and entrepreneurial endeavors. She is the owner of OMG! Outsourced Marketing Guru, StrategicIntelligenceServices PLLC, and ShopSeniorCare.com. Her focus is providing marketing resources and education to business owners and professionals in the legal, senior and startup spaces. Christine’s books are available on Amazon and Selz.com.