The on-going battle of books vs. movies shall never cease. Books dive deep in character development, embellish details, and encourage our imagination to run wild. Movies are generally the interpretation of the screenwriter, producer, and director. But clearly, any screenplay adaptation depends on the quality of the writing and its character development. Specifically, of the 2020 Oscar winners, The Joker, Little Women, and Ford v. Ferrari were all book adaptations. Original screenplays were Marriage Story, Parasite, 1917, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans is the book that inspired Ford v. Ferrari. Little Women, the film version of the classic Louisa May Alcott novel, was nominated but overlooked when it came to walking away with the gold statuette.
The brilliant Cynthia Erivo as Harriet Tubman in the film Harriet, was nominated for an Oscar for best actress for her role in the film based on the book Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom.
Sometimes the book to screenplay trajectory runs in reverse. The runaway Oscar winner in 2020, Parasite by Korean director Bong Joon-ho, is now being transformed into a graphic novel.
So what does all this have to do with us? It all begins with the word. Good writing is good writing. Developing strong, memorable characters for your book (or screenplay) is an art. Whether a novel, children's book, fiction or nonfiction, give your characters history, a journey, and a personality. Clearly identify each character's role in your story. Dig deep and show their inner conflict, flaws, fears, and weaknesses as well as their strengths. Research the hell about their backstory to add real-world texture to the details of their life. Live and breathe your characters.
What readers swoon about is not just the story, it's that they have fallen in love and identify with the memorable characters. Who can ever forget Pip in Great Expectations; Sherlock Holmes; Madame Bovary; Humbert Humbert from Lolita; the numerous characters by Dr. Seuss; A Boy from The Painted Bird; Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara of Gone With the Wind? All distictive and memorable characters...the list goes on.
Use your skill as a storyteller to engage, enrapture, and cast a spell on your readers. You just may have written a classic!
Have tips to share for creating characters? We are interested in your thoughts. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.