In Which: Genres are Discussed

I’m up to a lot of things.  Nothing gets finished, but I work on writing of various forms when I can.  Real Life Job gets in the way a lot, but hopefull NaNoWriMo will help me get back on track.  When I write, a question I often ask myself is am I writing in the write form?

Clarification:  This generally happens with most ideas.  And the debate is between movie script or story.  I have lots of ideas and several split me on this question.  I read a lot.  I watch a lot of movies.  I want to do both.  What should be what?

Some are easy.  My screenplay, “Karma,” works best as a screenplay.  I can’t see anyone picking that up as a novel and saying “Wow.  What a life-changing novel.”  Counter-point a rough draft I just wrote about a woman with lots of cats.  It could feasibly be a short film, but it would be terrible.  It works better on paper, on the page, letting the reader decide.  Other items work for both and still others work as comics or poems or even sentences.

One Sentence stories are awesome, digression handled.

There are a lot of movies out there made from books.  The argument becomes one of book v. movie, which was better, the book always coming out ahead in many arguments.  I neither agree or disagree as I think it depends on the book.  It depends on the director.  It depends on that items cross-genre-ness.

Take “Fight Club.”  Okay, Palahniuk hit the big time with this excellent book.  We, the readers, were lucky to see a great film-adaption.  Some may argue, but I found the movie an excellent translation of book to screen.  The important parts were left in and things were handled well and I think the two items complement each other.  It is a good idea to read the book AND see the movie.  Perhaps I am naive, but I think several folks might agree.  There are a few other items one could discuss.

Sometimes a film is far better than the book.  I recognize this may not be agreed upon, but the film of “High Fidelity” is a much better translation of the Rob Gordon story.  That’s a pretty good way to put it – a “translation.”  There is a story and it must be translated into a story we can understand.  With “High Fidelity” part of the problem may be the contrasting settings of the two books.  However, the theme remains the same.

The best genres to study what I will now refer to as translations are Science Fiction and Comic Books.  Some comic books work well as (holy crap!) comic books.  They don’t work as well as movies.  The X-Men movies were awesome while at the same time neglecting an amazing amount of backstory.  A film trilogy couldn’t handle the years of storyline – important storyline.  Some comics’ storyline isn’t so important.  Remember when Superman’s head grew ten sizes due to red kryptonite?  Yeah, me neither.  Of course, that’s a different discussion involving rebooting.

That’s not to say the comic book can’t be translate.  “The Dark Knight” translates the very core of Batman uncannily.  I would be willing to claim the film superior to most other translations of Batman’s story.  Including the bulk of the comics.  The closest other translation would be the Animated Series.  But enough Batman.

Science Fiction sees translation often since it lends itself to action and adventure and we love that.  But translations can be confusing.  And terrible.  Poor Isaac Asimov and Philip K Dick have had their ups and downs.  For every “Blade Runner” (better translation) there is an “I, Robot.”  (Jesus Christ)  “I Am Legend” still has no decent translation to screen.

So, the question is:  How do  you best translate a story.  I think there is one ultimate translation that tells a story far better than any other.  It depends on the story and the translater.  “The Dark Knight” had an excellent ensemble of translators and you understand what it’s all about.

The translation idea is best encapsulated in comic books, I would say.  So many writers and artists.  There’s a big difference between a Jeph Loeb story versus a Stan Lee.  Art adds a dimension.  Look at any comic rack.

But that’s that.  I am not so much searching for genres as I am languages.  Translations.  The best a writer can hope for is nailing that language the first try.  Or hoping someone else can find a good language to translate it into.

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