There's a lot of buzz going around about a little movie called The Hunger Games. It is the first in what will be a huge franchise, like Twilight and Harry Potter. And it all started with a book. Which made me wonder, would I want any of my books turned into movies?
First of all, there's the money to consider. When a studio takes out an option on your book, you get a chunk of $. Janet Evanovich had her option on One For the Money renewed something like fifteen times. At a convention she mentioned almost being disappointed when they finally decided to move forward with the movie, because the option renewal money would dry up. So in terms of cold, hard incoming cash, I guess I'd be pretty darn pleased.
Next, to follow up on the cash angle, if people like the movie, chances are good at least some of them will want to read more of my books. Ergo, increased overall sales. Also a good thing!
But (and I'm sure every author reading this will agree when it comes to their own works) my book is perfect. I slaved over it. Every line of dialogue is witty and brilliant and propels each chapter seamlessly forward. A screenwriter might very well cut some of my best dialogue, or, even worse, add some of their own! Granted, then it wouldn't be my book anymore - it would be its own distinct animal. I'm pretty sure it would still sting.
Then there's the quality factor. Stephen King is a writing god, and yet many of his wonderful, amazing books have been thoroughly RUINED in the movie making process. Ruined so completely that if I only saw the movie, I'd probably make it a point not to buy any of his books, which defeats part of my cold, hard cash argument above. Nora Roberts, my writing idol and queen of romance, had at least nine of her titles turned into movies by Lifetime. Quite a coup, right? Nope. They were horrible. I wouldn't want that to happen to any of my books.
And it may be a small, petty reason, but I use movie and television stars as models for all my heroes. My current WIP is 'starring' Dylan McDermott. He and my character Sam the gourmet chocolatier are forever linked in my mind. If I don't get to see him shirtless and covered in chocolate, I don't want to see anybody do it.
But those are emotional reactions. Writing, for all its angst and inner torture, is a business. So although I'd be a nervous wreck, I'd definitely sign over the rights to a movie studio for any of my books. Would you?