So I'm out with a friend earlier this week, up at Bishopsgate for some Trinidadian food. We get to talking about life in general. For me, that involves the writing. And of course, what's currently in my author schedule. Friend asks me if I've ever thought about writing for the screen. I say that my immediate focus is to get more of my long fiction into the marketplace but, yes, I have thought about writing for the screen. I then ask her if she's watched Bird Box. Her face lights up and she's on some,'oh, yeah, of course, I have!' In turn, I tell her that the author, Josh Malerman is a peer through how many degrees of separation. As a number of us authors are. The point I underscored to my friend was that for such instances of having work adapted for the screen, it can happen. Not the same as writing for the screen, but similar. And that if our peers can have their written work reach the screen, so can we. I haven't seen the Netflix iteration of Bird Box. I have, however, read the book - before the screen version came to light. The book was recommended to me as 'creepy', if memory serves. The book didn't move me - but that's not the thrust of this entry. Some people are moved by the book. And, no doubt, by the film.
As an audience - or member of an audience - I'll admit that I'm not the most forgiving critic. When I'm hanging with friends and we go and catch a film, if they give it a 7, I might give it a 5 at the most. For a film to move me to the point where I say it's good, it has to be at least a 6. But that being said, I can still appreciate a good idea, and that these works may sit well in other media. Whether it's TV shows/films, plays, or whatever. Again, I'll state that I don't watch horror films as any more, since they genuinely scare me - in a way that I don't find enjoyable or entertaining. (Yes, apparently some people enjoy a good scare. Anyhow). I do keep my ear to the ground in terms of what films come out, what books are out, how my peers enjoy those, how my friends enjoy those. I'm also aware that there are screen adaptations for Stephen King's work, such as IT and Pet Semetary. I don't know whether those films are remakes or not - but that isn't the point. I am aware that there's a wealth of indie (independent) authors out there with their own unique take on what dark fiction is and what horror means. Again, the fact that I'm 'not easily pleased' may factor in here, but I can honestly say there's work from those individuals that'd look great on film. If miserly critic that I am can see that, how would others feel? Those others who actually have some say in what gets put on/adapted for the screen?
I'm not a prolific reader, but there have been some works that have truly bowled me over. Or at least I can see the mastery in them. The likes of Erik Hofstatter's "Rare Breeds", Mark Morris' "Full Up", Karen Runge's "Seeing Double, J R Park's "Mad Dog", Tonya Liburd's tale of the West Indies and the supernatural. Those I some of the tales I've read that I can visualise seeing on-screen. Tales that I feel would be served well reaching the screen. And they deserve to. The first novel I'd ever written was, not surprisingly, in need of some work. So much so that the first serious beta reader was scathing about its execution. The idea itself, I feel, is still a solid one. And as such, it's something I fully intend to revisit down the line as a screenplay. In terms of how I write, my work does have more of a cinematic approach to it, in terms of how the narrative will describe a scene. In some instances, the narrative will play out like a camera panning across a static scene, whether it's a staircase, an empty room, a cemetery in the morning, whatever. That's not from the point of view of getting my work on screen - that's just M.O.; my approach to the craft. I'm not particularly surprised that the likes of Josh Malerman's 'Bird Box' or Sarah Pinborough's 'Behind Her Eyes' are finding their way to the screen. Right now, what I'm more curious about is when there'll be a marked shift in new screen media birthed by the uncharted works of our peers, rather than remakes. Dare I say, "keep your eyes open."