books v film

Book v Film: The Mist

Today I want to look at one of my favourite writers and an adaptation of one of their novellas. I’d like to look at the adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘The Mist’. The novella was released in 1985 in the collection ‘The skeleton Crew’, while the film came out in 2007.

In my opinion, the main things that changed when the novella got adapted were the atmosphere and tone of the story. I want to focus this blog on the elements that the director changed which I feel has effected these.

The most obvious in my opinion is the pacing, the novella, for all it is short at only 130 pages, is a slow burn. Everything in the novella takes time, the characters are introduced gently and given time to establish themselves before we get to the monsters (the first one doesn’t show up until the second third of the novella). King uses the first third of the story to foreshadow, build tension and most importantly make you care and connect with the characters.

The film jumps almost straight to the action, we get a brief introduction of our main character, his son and his neighbour all before we’re whisked away into the supermarket where the bulk of the film takes place. I understand that films will struggle with pacing compared to novels and novellas, they are a completely different medium so we struggle to spend time in our MC’s head, films also have a limited run time so it’s natural that they might cut some of the ‘fluff’ but the world and character building does suffer for it in my opinion.

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books v film

Books v Film: The Ruins

The Ruins is a novel by Scott Smith, that was released in July 2006. The novel is set in Mexico and tells the story of a group of tourists, who while exploring rural Yucatán accidentally find themselves trapped on top of a hill, where they are hunted by an unexpected predator. 

The film of the same name was released in 2008 and is relatively faithful to the novel. However, where the novel received high praise the film has been criticised. This is a good example of situations where a story is better told via a novel or other written media as opposed to a visual storytelling media. This is mostly because the film had to leave out a lot of the detail that the novel portrayed easily. It is the level of detail in the novel that grounds the reader deeply into the story.

By staying deeply inside the heads of the main characters as they try to understand their situation and devise a means of escape, Smith effectively creates a tense and terrifying atmosphere. This atmosphere simply cannot be reproduced in a solely visual medium.

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Horror Writing

Writing: Benefits of Editing later

The benefits of editing later

All writing, be it a novel, a short story, a blog, or an email will need reviewing and editing before it is sent anywhere. Otherwise, you’re liable to come across careless or foolish. Editing is key to crafting, it might be rather dull and certainly not feel as creative as the actual drafting, but it is immeasurably important.

Editing gives our voices clarity and sharpness, it makes what we are trying to say actually make sense and lastly, it improves our content. I have found several times on an edit that what I was trying to say has become muddied in my brains rambling pathways and only with concise editing can I retrieve that tiny nugget of thought within the mess.

Think of editing as polishing an ornament or sharpening a knife, both the ornament and the knife exist on their own, but the polishing and sharpening improve them. After all, a blunt knife is both unimpressive and kind of useless and a dull lifeless ornament depreciates in value with every dust mote. It reminds me of a morning that I’d been dragged to a car boot sale by my granddad, it was cold, raining a bit and far, far too early on a Sunday morning. But I wandered the aisles and saw something, it was a pair of statues. It was immediately obvious they had gone many years without love, they were dull, filthy and battered. But I bought them, and I spent a lot of time washing, dusting and polishing them up and now they are beautiful and sit in my dining room. That is editing. Seeing the potential in something and scraping away the dirt and grime until it can shine again.

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