Sunday, August 16, 2015

Why read a book when you have Netflix?

I sat in a dentist chair when I decided to sign up for Netflix. My hygienist swept me in after talking to me about her love affair with the (then) relatively new website. Having already noticed advertisements for it, my curiosity was peaked and it only took some mild convincing from her to encourage me to go home and sign up.

And it was fantastic! I had the opportunity to watch various series from episode one, explore new movies and it was all at a price I could afford.
I was in love.

So with this in mind, why are people still reading books? Even more so, what do they have to offer in the world of Netflix, the Internet and five billion television channels? 

I've been asked these questions more than once, almost as people were challenging why I even bothered with this writing thing at all. What could I possibly offer them that other forms of entertainment - entertainment that takes far less effort than reading a book - couldn't surpass? 

Fair enough.

Movies are easy. Television is easy. You just flick them on and off you go. But they do have limits.

I recently read a book that blew my mind. The ending wasn't anything I could've anticipated. I was stunned; yet very impressed by the fact that the author had managed to surprise me. Knowing that
this particular book was also made into a movie, I didn't hesitate to check it out.

I hated it. I was actually pissed off by the movie version of the book. It was terrible. It managed to cut
some major parts of the book out, then completely change and 'Hollywoodize' the ending. It was typical. It was predictable. It was boring and terrible. Had I bought, not borrowed the DVD, I would've returned it. I was actually horrified that the writer allowed her book to be butchered. 

Anyway, you get the point and we've all seen great books completely annihilated by soulless Hollywood producers but that isn't always the case. I can also think of a great television show based on a series of books that I found very lackluster.

The point is that movies and television are a different monster. It's hard to beat the visual aspect of an action filled car chase or the beauty of a sunrise in a far-off land. 

On the other side, movies and television have limits. The average length of a movie is a 130 minutes, therefore audiences have to be pulled in fast and told a story that makes sense, with all the key points at a pretty accelerated pace. Studio exes, directors, producers and actions may have an issue with certain scenes, causing them to never see the light of day because they may be too graphic, violent or for fears of offending a certain community of people or a more sensitive audience.

Books are really the wild west of the entertainment world. There are no limits. You can write a 200 or 1000 page book, it's really up to you. Details and descriptions can be never ending or limited. Not to suggest that editors don't try to jump in and suggest you cut down the length or make some scenes less graphic (I know because this has happened to me) but I feel that a writer has a little more room to breathe and can choose to work with publishers that share their vision.

Plus there is the connection with the characters. It is a little difficult to connect with the people on screen in just under two hours. Not to suggest it can't be done, but most movies concentrate more on the story itself, rather than the roles being played. It is difficult to show all three dimensions in a role when the storyline is moving at a fast pace. Television series are another story because you learn about the characters each week and they have the room to grow over a period of time. 

It might be just a personal thing, but I find that there's something peaceful about grabbing a book and spending time alone, getting absorbed in the pages and doing so at your own pace. You can read quickly, finishing a book in a night or you can slowly absorb each line, each paragraph at a relaxed pace that allows you to not miss a single detail. You can see yourself in each character or envision a famous celebrity in the role. To a certain degree, the story is as much yours as the authors because you can envision the scenes, the characters and every detail in just the way you wish.




Canadian author Mima is known for her complicated and diverse characters, a dark style and for never shying away from controversial topics. To request an interview or if you are interested in doing a book review, please send requests here
 

Mima is the author of Fire and the prequel, A Spark before the Fire, as well as The Rock Star of Vampires  Her Name is Mariah and Different Shades of the Same Color. Join Mima on Facebook, TwitterG+ and Goodreads also, check out her Amazon Author Page

For some reading, check out her blogs – personal or writing


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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Reader Discretion is Advised

One of my favorite books is called Worst. Person. Ever by Douglas Coupland. Not a book for the faint of heart, Coupland doesn’t hold back when it comes to profanity, crudeness or rudeness. If you
check out the reviews, you will see those who gush with delight (like meJ) while others rant about the offensiveness of the book. It’s a nice balance.

As a writer, I’ve had a similar balance with my readers. While many write wonderful reviews, send me thoughtful (and greatly appreciated!) emails and speak passionately about my books, I also have the people who are beyond offended by the language and subject matter of my writing. In fact, you may've noticed a story in an earlier blog about one particular woman who commented that if I “took all the ‘F words’ out of my (first) book, it would’ve been half the size” and that’s actually one of the nicer complaints that thrown my way, since I first published Fire in 2010.

My latest book is no exception. Her Name is Mariah tangles with some topics that make people uncomfortable – transgender, abortion and suicide – not to mention a protagonist who never would be accused of being the girl next door. Mariah is as crude and offensive as she is deep and profound, but these are traits you may not notice unless you finish the book. You certainly won’t see them much early on.

I’ve had people (after starting the book) drop me on social media. I’ve had at least one journalist give me the cold shoulder after learning that the subject of the book. People will excitedly read the back cover – then raised an eyebrow, I’m guessing around the time they hit the word ‘transgender’ and politely smile and hand it back.

Having said that, I’m always upfront with people. I’m not trying to follow in the footsteps of Nicholas Sparks. In fact, if I ever write a romance novel, it’s quite possible that I will want to set myself on fire immediately after the fact.

Sure, my characters are complex, they may not always make the best life decisions and there are times when I’m even a little shocked by what they do, but that’s what makes them fun to write and read about. My books aren’t the bible for bad behavior (although, they would be an interesting manual) but you probably aren’t going to look to my characters as your moral compassat least, I wouldn’t really recommend it.

But if you do, please tell me how that works for you. Maybe you can be the topic for my next book;-)




Canadian author Mima is known for her complicated and diverse characters, a dark style and for never shying away from controversial topics. To request an interview or if you are interested in doing a book review, please send requests here  


Mima is the author of Fire and the prequel, A Spark before the Fire, as well as The Rock Star of Vampires  Her Name is Mariah and Different Shades of the Same Color. Join Mima on Facebook, TwitterG+ and Goodreads also, check out her Amazon Author Page

For some reading, check out her blogs – personal or writing


Don’t let the fun stop here - sign up for the newsletter!