Why are the Movies Stealing All the Good Storylines?

I realized today that a lot of my favorite authors are dead--or really, really old! David Eddings, Anne McCaffrey, Robert Aspirin--some of them I didn't even know were gone, like David Eddings, but in the grand scheme of things I suppose I shouldn't be all that surprised. It does make me start to think, though. If you look in the genre section of the bookstore (provided that you can actually find a bookstore anymore) there are the same names over and over again. Have been the same names for years and years. I'm always amazed not only at those established authors' productivity, but also the fact that the big publishers could never find all that much new blood.

There are some new names out there now, but I've veered away from science fiction and fantasy over the years. There weren't any risks being taken for the longest time in that genre. If there were new names the stories were a lot of the same old, same old. I started reading more young adult lit. There were all of a sudden all these names, new and old, in the YA section. New stories, new characters and new risks were all being taken in the YA section.

Look at the silver screen. How many of the newest movies out there have come from the ranks of young adult fiction? Harry Potter, (as much as it pains me to admit it) the Twilight books, the Hunger Games . . . the list goes on and on.

I've heard quite often in the last several years my students asking me why the movie makers keep taking their books and stories? Now, some of them are complaining because if it's a movie they can't take the Reading Counts test on the book, but others really have wondered. They really don't remember a time when movies were written as only movies and not derived from novels. As as writer I'm giddy at the fact that so many more books are making it onto the big screen, but it does seem to me that movie writing as an art form is starting to fall to the wayside. 


  1. I think it is perception because what you are reading currently is being hyped as movies, but books have always been adapted to movies and I think in pretty much the same numbers as now. Gone with the Wind went from page to movie in only 3 years. Rebecca, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, many of Dickens' books, Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Grapes of Wrath, The Wizard of Oz, etc were all made as movies in the 30's and 40's. I've seen many older movies that say they are based on some book or short story that we aren't even aware of now. I think the bigger thing that has changed may be how many movies Hollywood pumps out. So many smaller movies never get to the chain theaters and movies like Harry Potter and the Hunger Games are so big and so expensive that it makes better financial sense to ride off a proven success than sink that money into something new. And that expense also means fewer movies each year than used to be. But proportionally, I'm guessing the numbers are very similar. Of course, I may be wrong.....


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