Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Movie Version

My kids and I are going to see the Hunger Games today. We all read the book. Over the years we have seen many of our favorite novels (either ones I read to them or ones we all read) turned into film. I wonder when it was that authors started thinking of film as the final destination of their imaginations? To have your book published is a wonderful experience, but can you really hold the finished product in your hand without giving some thought as to who will play the lead? At that time, I remember thinking that Katie Holmes would be a good casting choice for BJ, but now I have some other thoughts. Kristen Bell? Emily Blunt?
Recently, Diana Gabaldon did some fan Facebook casting of her characters from the Outlander series. I spent much of 2011 in her imaginary worlds, so it was fun to see the options people came up with. Why HBO hasn't snatched this up to become a cable series is beyond my comprehension.

In the near future, my family and I will be going to London. One of the stops on our trip is to see the newly opened Warner Brother film sets from the Harry Potter movies. I read every single one of the books out loud to my kids, and we saw all the movies together. This is an activity for us. In 2004, we drove to Boston on my son's birthday to see the Lord of the Rings Movie art exhibit at the Museum of Science. It isn't enough to read. We need to see the costumes and the props.

And then there is the Harry Potter World theme park I visited this February with my son. We donned butterbeer mustaches and rode the castle ride with our hologram character guides. Okay, maybe having your own theme park based on your books is the final destination.

One of the book series I read to my kids when they were younger was Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. In this series, a man has the ability to bring fictional characters into reality simply by reading books aloud. Eventually, the main characters find a way to plant themselves inside the stories they have been reading.

This is what readers want as their ultimate destination: to be on the inside of a book looking out. As a writer, this is where I begin the process. I spend many days (weeks, months, years) immersed in the story. The only way I can leave is to write my way out. It is an exorcism, an escape, and a ascension all in one. Why do we get writer's blocks? Sometimes we don't want to write ourselves out of the tale. We like our mind prisons. Imaginary worlds are a fun place to be—especially during an election year.

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