Book Vs. Movie

Book vs. movie is the age-old–or at least 100 year old–controversy of which art works best for telling a story and if the movie holds true to the book or merely borrows the title and a few characters.

Two excellent movie adaptations of novels are The Outsiders and The Maltese Falcon. Both stick closely to their original books, not adding any scenes or characters. The movie The Maltese Falcon eliminates a minor character, and you would never notice. In movie adaptations of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, some characters were written out and others had their roles beefed up, and the script added scenes not in the books. But no less a fan than my brother-in-law, who was a total Tolkien nut, loved the movies. They still captured the spirit of the books.

Very rarely does the movie improve on the book. Death on the Nile (1978) came up with a much better plot point than the book in which the detective tricks the culprits to reveal themselves.

Of course, there are legions of movie adaptations that the fans of the books hated or at least feel the movie didn’t do their book justice.

So let me hear from you! What’s your opinion of book vs. movie? Which movie adaptations do you love? Which do you hate? What books do you think should be made into movies?

For more bookish prompts, click here.

What Are Your Favorite Book Genres?

The month of May is all about readers on JPC Allen Writes. I’ll be discussing all kinds of bookish topics. So today I’m asking what are your favorite book genres? If you’ve visited my site very often, you know that my #1 favorite genre is mystery. But there are many subgenres under mystery. I love classic mysteries and cozy mysteries. Below are links to my reviews of some of my favorite mystery novels and short stories.

After mysteries, I like speculative fiction and humor.

Now it’s your turn. What are you favorite book genres?

What Music Has Inspired Your Writing?

Last week, my prompt was about songs that could be turned into novels. This week I’m broadening my question. What music has inspired your writing? Have you listened to a piece, whether a song or instrumental piece, and imagined a scene to go with it? It’s almost impossible for me to listen to any kind of music and not concoct a scene to accompany it. Here are a few musical pieces that have inspired me lately.

“The Ecstasy of Gold” by Ennio Morricone. This instrumental piece is part of the soundtrack for The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. It helped me craft a climax for the book that I’m planning to be the next to last book in my Rae Riley mystery series. I hadn’t seen the movie, which allowed me to imagine anything I wanted.

“On Earth as It Is in Heaven” by Ennio Morricone. This is a piece from another movie, The Mission. I haven’t seen the movie, but the piece has given my ideas for the ending scenes in my series. I haven’t been able to find an English translation for the words, but it really doesn’t matter because the voices act like other instruments.

“Lone Raven” by Lone Raven. This one is a little different in that I’d already written a short story, “A Rose from the Ashes,” and felt this music perfectly captured the mood of my climax.

Your turn. What music has inspired your writing?

What Songs Could Be Novels?

I’m sure all of us creative people have listened to a song and thought it had the makings of a great story. Of course many songs tell stories set to music. But I’m writing about songs that would inspire you to expand on the story outlined in the lyrics. What songs could be novels?

Murder Ballads

I have listened to many songs over the years that fall into my writing genre, crime. A lot of them are country or folk songs. I didn’t realize that these types of songs had their own subgenre, murder ballads. I learned this when I read the book accompanying Ken Burns’s PBS documentary on country music. Murder ballads are songs that outline crimes, usually murder, and usually, they don’t have happy endings. I think these ballads came from songs sung in the British Isles. A local Celtic band performs a song “The Cobbler’s Daughter”, a traditional Irish song, about how a girl’s mother is in prison for accidentally killing her boyfriend, who had sneaked into their house.

I also think the “Dying Teen” songs of the fifties and sixties are a kind of offshoot of the murder ballad. Most of the time, crime isn’t involved. These songs deal with teens dying or getting injured, usually a car accident. Songs likes these are “Leader of the Pack”, “Dead Man’s Curve,” and “Last Kiss”. Any of these songs could inspire a longer story.

My Choices

Here are some songs I think could be developed into novels in any number of ways.

“The Long Black Veil” by Danny Dill and Marijohn Wilkin. I first heard this murder ballad sung by Mick Jagger on the Chieftains album The Long Black Veil.

“The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia” by Bobby Russell, sung by Vicki Lawrence. Definitely a murder ballad.

“Lyin’ Eyes” by Don Henley and Glenn Frey, sung by the Eagles. This isn’t a murder ballad but it certainly sets up the situation for one. In a small town, young wife of older husband has young boyfriend. Any one of them could get bumped off if someone used this story as its premise.

“Puff the Magic Dragon” by Peter, Paul, and Mary based on a poem by Leonard Lipton. I know that either in the 70’s or 80’s a animated version of this song was made. I always hated this song as a kid because I felt so sorry for Puff and thought Jackie Paper was a total jerk. This could be a fun or very touching middle grade novel.

For more for music prompts, click here.

What songs could be a novels?

Haiku That’s Not Based on Nature

The form of poetry called haiku is a three-line poem with a strict syllable structure. The first line is five syllables, the second line is seven, and the third line is five. I love haiku because it forces me to choose my words with great care. Haiku usually uses some aspect of nature as its topic. To play with it a bit, my prompt is to write a haiku that’s not based on nature. Here’s my inspiration:

The alarms erupts.

It’s still night, but I stagger

Into the school sprint.

JPC Allen

I’d love to read your inspiration for a haiku that’s not based on nature in the comments.

For more haiku prompts, click here.

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