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Re: [mythsoc] New Narnia stories?

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  • David Bratman
    ... the ... Well, here s John Rateliff s definition of writing in another author s voice : authors so unoriginal that, instead of creating their own worlds
    Message 1 of 11 , Mar 8, 2005
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      At 02:49 PM 3/8/2005 -0500, Anne wrote:
      >Not really. I once taught a course called "Literature in Film" in which we
      >had a grand old time watching movie adaptations of everything from 'Hamlet'
      >to
      >'Silence of the Lambs' (no Tolkien on film worth speaking about back then).
      >The final project for the students was to find a piece of literature (short
      >story, poem, scene from a novel, something that hadn't been adapted before)
      >and
      >write it as a screenplay.
      >
      >As you might expect, some got the idea at once that they could use only
      >dialogue and visual images to tell the story and did some really quite good
      >things. Others never managed it, picked up chunks of description and
      >presented it
      >as dialogue, never really made clear what was supposed to be happening on
      the
      >screen, etc. One and all nodded and said YES! when one student said,
      >"Wow--that was HARD."
      >
      >What I'm saying, rather long-windedly, is that print and film are two
      >different arts, two different disciplines. The adapter should try to be
      >faithful to
      >the original author's vision, but can never speak in the same voice.
      >
      >Unless maybe we don't all mean the same thing when we say 'voice'--even in a
      >group that seems to have a lot of academic types, there are many subtle
      >differences in such words....

      Well, here's John Rateliff's definition of "writing in another author's voice":

      "authors so unoriginal that, instead of creating their own worlds or
      characters they have to munch and mumble the bare old bones of other authors."

      And that is what a screenplay adapter does. QED.

      If it is unfair to use that characterization of a screenplay adapter, it is
      equally unfair to use it of the "pseudo-Conan, pseudo-Herbert,
      pseudo-Barrie, pseudo-CLS" book authors of whom he does use it. (And who
      exactly are the pseudo-Barries he has in mind? Barrie was a dramatist, and
      the most prominent pseudo-Barrie works are on film.) Maybe these pseudos
      are bad writers. But badness has nothing to do with medium. Other book
      pseudos are good writers. (Much pseudo-Lovecraft surpasses the original,
      for instance.) And many screenplay writers are very bad indeed.


      David Bratman
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