Tag Archive: Hunger Games



Note: This one has actually been sitting on my computer since November. Kind of got lost…but I found it and decided to post while it was still mostly relevant (And at least a little true).

I feel like talking about movies. Specifically movies that are based on books.

It can be a fan’s dream…or worst nightmare. I know that often I’ll be reading a book and think, “Hey, this would make a kick-butt movie.” Plus, I love to see my favorite stories leap off the page. At the same time, for every good/amazing movie version, there is an equal amount of bad movies. Some are horrendous. Some are merely blah. It seems like it is often hit-or-miss when a book is being turned into a movie. After all, a book can contain a LOT more information than a measly movie can. They’re having to fit a four-or-more-hour read into two and a half hours of screen time (sometimes). Things are going to get cut, things are going to get changed. You may find yourself at the Parthenon in Tennessee battling the hydra a book early.

Now before some people start griping about the all the book-movies gone wrong, which leads to “How could [insert author] have let this happen” let’s remember this: When a writer signs a publishing contract and becomes a published author, they typically sign away the movie rights during that process. And I don’t think that it takes author involvement to make a great book-movie (though it certainly may help). After all, J.R.R. Tolkien wasn’t around to see his Lord of the Rings trilogy get movie-fied, but it was an amazing set of movies.

I’ve come to realize it’s not about getting every scene and snatch of dialogue on the screen. When I think about some of my favorite movie adaptations, it’s about more than that. Think about:

  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • The Princess Bride
  • Holes
  • Pride and Predjudice (the Colin Firth version)
  • The Passion of the Christ (okay, maybe that one is based on four books)
  • The first two of the new Chronicles of Narnia

These are some of my favorite movies. I love them. I adore them. In the case of LOTR (and probably soon-to-be Hunger Games) I go stark-raving crazy over them. And it’s not because they are exact replicas of the original work. Heck, my favorite Princess Bride scene isn’t even in the book. They are amazing because they capture the spirit of the book. Ally Carter puts is beautifully when she talks about the possibility of aging up the characters in her book, Heist Society: “I for one would rather have an actress who has Kat’s same spirit than someone who only has Kat’s same age.” She makes the case that even if they age the characters into their early 20s for the movie, it can still be the same story and still have the same experience as the books and that is what she is most concerned with. For more about her thoughts on the possible Heist Society movie you can start here. (Can we get a “Heck, yes” to a Heist Society movie, by the way)

I’m not looking for every scene to be in the movie when I go see it. I’m not looking for a movie that follows the plot of the book exactly. Some books just don’t make good movies on their own. Take, for example, The Two Towers. Do I love LOTR? Yes. Once upon a time, did I read the trilogy every year? Yes. (Should I get back into that habit? Yes.) Which book was the hardest for me to get through? The Two Towers. I mean, as long as Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli were in the picture I was riveted (can you guess who my favorite characters were?). And then you got to Frodo and Sam and I remembered that I knew how it ended and went all, “Eh. I’ll get to it.” LOTR fan fail, I know.

The Two Towers is mostly walking and a little bit of fighting and some great dialogue between the Elf and the Dwarf. Walking, dialogue and a tiny bit of fighting do not make an amazing movie. Had they followed the book as Tolkien wrote it the movie would have like the bargain brand paper towels on a Bounty commercial.  Instead, Peter Jackson took a little artistic liberty and gave the fans a teeny taste of the action to come at the end of the movie. Big gamble? Definitely. Did it pay off? yes. As did saving the Shelob scene for The Return of the King. After all, we’d just been through the climax of the movie at Helm’s Deep. To add the scene in Shelob’s lair would have taken away from everything we’d just been through. Plus, it created a serious sense of anticipation for those who knew what was coming (and I guess for those who didn’t). Don’t believe me? Look it up online, I’m sure people have written dozens of articles to this effect. What worked so well for Peter Jackson is that he was first and foremost a fan. And he recruited fans. And they were all concerned with creating a movie that would stay true to the big picture of the LOTR books, not just the tiny details. (Though they did great with those, too.)

You cann’t going to please everyone. There are going to be people whose favorite scene is an obscure one or not imperative to the over-arching plot. People like me who were disappointed that most of the Eowyn/Faramir scenes did not make it into the theatrical editions (that was, however, my only disappointment). But for the most part, I think that LOTR fans world-wide ended up with a movie that lived up to their expectations. For me, at least, LOTR was one of the very few movies that I feel the movie was a good as the book.

Have I had some serious disappointments when it came to movie adaptations? Yes. Eragon and the first two Twilight movies being among them. These are the kind of movies that make me worry when I hear another one of my favorites is being translated to the big screen. Now, usually I enjoy the movie, but still think the book is better. Occasionally, I’ll like the movie better than the book (that list includes all of two movies, I think).

But, no matter how awful I think the movie is going to suck, I still feel  that a true fan must see it at least once and form their own conclusions (even if you wait till it’s in DVD form). That’s why I went to see Eclipse and why I went to go see Ella Enchanted, despite the weirdness of the trailers. In both cases I was glad I had gone. Eclipse turned out to actually be a good interpretation of the book (IMO) and Ella Enchanted, while nothing like the book, was a fun movie and I do enjoy watching it every now and again. This is why I plan to go rent part two of the Deathly Hallows as soon as I can, despite what my HP fanatic friend says about how much it stinks. Even if he’s right (and we do have different opinions about how to accurately transform a book into a movie) and I end up feeling indifferent or hating it, I need to finish it just to be able to say that I have. (Anyone feel me there?)

So, does this mean that I am worried about what they’ll do with Hunger Games?

Nah.

They’re taking the time to cast the right people and I’ve found that when a director takes the time to make sure that the actors are right, then they’ll make sure the movie is right as well. Not that anything but time will tell, however, I’m hopeful and I’ve yet to see anything that worries me. A word of advice though, don’t reread Hunger Games right before the movie comes out. You will spend the whole movie thinking about how this detail is different and how they left out that line. I did this once, never again. I’m planning to reread a couple of months before so that it will be fresh, but not so fresh that every difference has neon lights pointing to it.

So what about you? What have been some of your favorite (or least favorite) movie adaptations. Why? What was it about the movie that made you (dis)like it?

Advertisements

New Years-1-002 by Ludie Cochrane

Happy New Year!

I know, I know. I sort of dropped off the face of the Earth for a while.

It all started with National Novel Writing Month in November. A great success if I may say so. No, I did not make it to 50,000 words by the end of the month. On Nov. 30 at 11:49 p.m., I looked at my word count and decided that 42,000 words was good enough for my first year. I mean, all things considered I am now 30,000 words and fourteen chapters closer to the end of Mind Games (which is plotted out at roughly 40 chapters, though that will most definitely change). It’s exciting being able to look at the word count for MG and see the number 42,000. My last “book” finished at 47,000 and I’m only halfway finished with this one. I think I have a pretty good chance of hitting that 80,000-100,000 word goal for this current project.

Can tell that I’m restraining myself from over-using my CAPS Lock?

And then there was the December-long reading binge where I endeavored to finish all of those books that I started in the last year, but for one reason or another put down (mostly for another book). That went relatively well also.

And that leads in to what this year holds for me.

Now, I’m not one to really make New Year’s resolutions per se. I believe that if you want to change there is no day like today. However, the last two months have brought me to some conclusions (not to mention drastically changed the plot of Mind Games):

  1. I need to read more.
  2. I need to write more.
  3. It’s time to get this book finished.
  4. I don’t want to write for money, I want to make money writing and there is a difference.

Which has led me to set some goals that could be considered New Year’s resolutions, if I made NYRs.

The easiest one is going to be reading more. My goal for 2012 is to read 48 books. Could I read a whole lot more? Yes. Would my house, school and life suffer? At this point, yes.  Most books take me 6-7 hours to read. So, finishing a book a week shouldn’t be too hard. That’s just an hour a day. To make it more challenging and improve my reading range, I have come up with a few guidelines. First, at least one of those books is to be a book on writing. Second, I cannot read two books of the same genre/age range back-to-back. With the exception of series (because that would be just cruel). So, should I want compare say YA paranormal fantasy and adult paranormal fantasy, I can. But I shall refrain from reading…oh let’s go with Fever by Lauren DeStefano and then Suzanne Collins Hunger Games trilogy (both YA dystopian novels). There has to be something different in between. This is to encourage me to read outside of my comfort zone. I read a lot of young adult, fantasy and science fiction. That leaves whole genres that I haven’t tapped. Crime, historical fiction, suspense (which, despite my mother’s protests, I love), romance, all those classics (which I also enjoy), “Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera” as they say in The King and I.

All of this is just a step towards my becoming a better writer (my other goal).

Because by the end of February I’m planning to have a finished first draft. And then it will be time to edit. And then…it’s time to query (and start the next book). Eek! In fact, one of the gifts I asked for this Christmas was the 2012 Writer’s Market. If I want to be a writer…it’s time to BE a writer.

That’s my goal for 2012.

What’s yours? Have you thought about your goals as a writer? Have you written them down? Do it. It makes them easier to stick to. And then do your best!


It is time to tell you about my final giveaway. And I’ve saved the best for last: The Hunger Games.

The ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to death before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love. (Scholastic)

I still get chills thinking about this series.

I didn’t know it was possible for a book to affect me like these books did. This book is intense. With a capital ‘I’. I was shaking when I finished the series.

Now Hunger Games allows you a little control. It makes you think that you can put it down and that you are still a functioning human being and then you read the next book. You are not in control. Suzanne Collins is in control. And you had better be ready for the ride.

Another thing that I didn’t know was that it was possible to write like she writes. I lived, I breathed that world. It was me, I was it. And that book was glued to my hand. Someday, I will have the time to reread this series, without the desperate need to know what happens, and I will be able to figure out how she did it, but I have never experienced the sensation of being unable to breath while reading a book (well, not when my asthma is under control).

You know the hype. You know it’s going to be a movie. And it is going to take the world by storm…even more so than it already has. Experience it now. Be one of those people that read the book before they saw the movie. You will experience something incredible.

To win, just comment on this blog post. Tell me about an author that took your breath away or affected you in a way that you did not expect.

Also, you can get extra entries if you do any of the three following things:

  1. Follow me on Twitter. Just make sure you leave your Twitter handle in your comment so I know to credit you.
  2. You can also comment and repost any of my blog posts for another entry. Make sure you tag me on Twitter so I know you did it, or send me the link if you choose another method.
  3. Subscribe to my blog. I will give you two entries.

Do all of this by 9 p.m. E.S.T. on September 30th. I will announce the winner on October 1st as well as draw names for any of the books that I have left.

Also, if you haven’t been convinced by my rabid fan ravings, you can check out the review here.


The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Ages 15 and up

This is a series that I had been looking forward to reading for months. It was recommended by a friend who has impeccable taste in books. However, said friend also mentioned that the second book, Catching Fire, happens to have a doozy of a cliffhanger ending. So I thought, that knowing how well I don’t handle cliffhangers–it might be wise for me to wait until the final book was in stores. All of that to give my excuse for taking this long to finally read the series. That said–there is no excuse for not reading this series. None at all. Ever. You get the point.

From start to finish, Collins leads the reader (which will hopefully be you) through an intense journey–one of the most intense journeys I have ever been through as a reader. I was literally shaking when I finished Mockingjay. Collins kept me wanting to turn to the next page a little sooner, yet she was so in control that when I had to put the book down and carry on with my life I could. I wasn’t worried about what would happen next (except with the last 100 hundred pages, but that was excitement rather than wory). It was sort of riveted detachment. That’s not a contradiction I’ve experienced before.

Granted, it is a violent series. the premise introduced in Hunger Games–a sadistic Olympics where 24 teens fight until only one is left standing–guarantees some blood and violence. But I’ve read gorier (The Illiad anyone?) and some of that is considered classic literature (see previous aside) with the gore only there for shock value (see again).  Here it helps define the struggle of the main character to hold on to her humanity–or at least have some remaining when the games are over. It also provides an interesting glimpse of where mindless entertainment can lead. For the parents of young teens I would suggest reading this book before you let them, if only to know what the heck they are talking about when they want to discuss it.

And while we are on the subject of character: Collins has created some beautiful characters. Her mastery of the first-person narrative had Katniss commenting on aspects on my own life long after the books were finished. Her thought process felt as complicated and conflicted as my own can feel in times of stress. Plus, Collins creates a legitimate love triangle. I’m not talking about a childhood acquaintance thrown in just to stir up drama when the guy you know the heroine will end up with skips town. I’m talking two guys, each with equally strong (but different) ties to her heart. Even though I had an idea of who Collins was setting her up with (and I agree with her choice), I spent the majority of books two and three quite content with her ending with either guy. Partly, because romance wasn’t really what this story was about–it’s merely a piece of the big picture (If that isn’t a lot like life, I don’t know what is.)

This is obviously not a light, fluffy read. It was fun in places, but also hard. After all that Katniss goes through though, happily ever after is not an ending that she can immediately reach. She’s been through too much to be completely okay by the end of Mockingjay’s 27 chapters, but she (well, they) is on her way there and still fighting like she has from page one. This series is real, it’s not a happy-go-lucky fairytale–but it’s also not entirely a tragedy. It is well-written and thought provoking and surprising (yes, it’s not something I experience very often so it should count for double). And quite possibly among one of the best series you will ever read.

I take that back–There is no possibly about it.

Who Should read This: Any one who enjoys future fics with post-Apocalypse premises.

This is a Good Example of:

  • First person narrative
  • Relationships between characters (both friends and enemies)
  • Character development
  • Plot and story twists
  • Balance of overall big picture with character’s romantic life
  • How to have you readers banging at the bookstore door begging for the next book (See specifically, Catching Fire)

This book is one my recommended reading list.

%d bloggers like this: