Monday, November 10, 2008

My Wonderful Excuse

As you can see by the NaNo count on the right, I seem to be going backwards as regards my writing goals. But I have a wonderful excuse for why I didn't get more done over the weekend.

Well, I have a good excuse.

It's an excuse, you decide its merit.

I was house and dog sitting for Jonnie and Steve. So I had to give some attention to the dogs. Plus there's the extra time that normal things take to accomplish, because you're not in your usual environment. So there's that. But J&S have a new addition to the family since the last time I housesat. A big-screen HD TV. I spent a little time getting acquainted with this new addition.

And the biggest culprit in all this not writing? HBO. They decided to show a True Blood marathon. I read the book that the series is based on, Dead Until Dark. And I liked that book. A lot. As a matter of fact, I picked up the next three books in the series. For those of you unfamiliar with it, the series is about Sookie Stackhouse, a waitress in Louisiana who can hear people's thoughts. The books take place in a near future just after vampires have come out of the coffin, so to speak. They are able to drink a synthetic blood now and are lobbying for equal rights. Sookie meets and falls for a vampire, whose thoughts she can't hear. The main story, however, is a murder mystery. Seems other waitresses who've been involved with vamps are being killed.

The series contains all the elements of the main plot of the book. The characters from the bar and Sookie's family are there. There's the "What's up with Sam", her boss, element. The murders. Bad vamps. Ambiguous vamps. Bill the Vampire's trouble walking the line between the vampire world and the human one. And there are a lot of added storylines. A lot. Voodoo and exorcism. A wacky girlfriend for Jason, Sookie's ne'er-do-well brother, and all the comes from that. But one of main things I loved about the book is missing: the funny. Now there is humor in the series, but not the belly-shaking, tear-squeezing laughs from the book. And for all the nudity and sex, a lot of the sexiness is missing, too.

Did I like the series? Yes, I did. After all, I spent the better part of the weekend watching it. And I really want to see the final three episodes, even though I know at least part of the ending.

The Dexter television series did a similar thing with Darkly Dreaming Dexter. Main story is there. Lots of extra stuff added to make it fill up a full television season. They, however, managed to keep the funny. And maybe even add to it.

I understand the changes. You have a 300 page book that takes several hours to read. When you film it, it takes even less time to watch, because the pictures take care of setting and character description. And you need to fill 12 episodes with an average running time of about 50 minutes each. So you need more stuff. And in both cases, they have added well.

Here's the question: Do you think we as writers who all love our television (and you know we do) maybe try to put too much in our books? Do we try to fill them up with all the extra stuff that we see in our favorite shows? And if we do, is it a bad thing?

2 comments:

Jenny said...

First off, your excuse stinks.

Second, I think one of the fun things about reading a novel or even a short story is that there can be soooo much more 'stuff'. The movie version of Gone With the Wind...while brilliant!...still lacks when compared to that magnificent novel. There are two extra kids, an appearence by the KKK, and insights into Rhett and Scarlett's characters that don't exist in the movie.

Debbie said...

And it was STILL a four-hour movie. :-) I remember seeing it and wondering where Scarlett's other 2 kids went. And the part about their vigilante activity being part of the beginning of the KKK is a fascinating part of the book.

It just seems to me like there are certain genres that seem to lean toward minimalism in storytelling. Mysteries and romances come to mind. While there are subplots, of course, there isn't a huge amount of other stuff going on.

It's just got me ponderin'.