Skip to Content

Comment from the book world in June 2023

June 2023

'Book adaptations hold significant appeal'

19 June 2023

‘From my perspective, in general producers and studios find content from the world of books highly attractive for development due to established storytelling, inspiration, quality recognition, and a built-in audience. While there may be instances of preferring original content, book adaptations hold significant appeal...

The ongoing strikes of the WGA [Writers Guild of AmericaAssociation of writers in motion picture, broadcast, cable and new media.] against major studios and streaming platforms are not directly related to the preference for book adaptations but are centered on specific issues regarding writers' rights, fair compensation, and working conditions. It's all about having found something which sounds like a real movie, the kind we literally don't come across much anymore. And that should feel like a rebuke to formula screenplays...

In the best properties we grow to know the characters, and the story pays due respect to their complexities and needs. There's always the sense that they exist in the now and not at some point along a predetermined continuum. Sometimes I read a book that unspools like a tape measure, and I can sense how far we are from the end. Sometimes my imagination is led to live right along with it.'

Kamran Sardar Khan of Stuttgart's East End Film has produced some 150 feature films and - being a great reader - has included literary adaptations in that body of work, in Publishing Perspectives


Short story collection to novel

5 June 2023

'I think a writer's natural style will dictate the form they write in. Some writers can easily bang out a doorstopper - I prefer short, dense and intense, which is why I was drawn to short fiction in the first place. Writing a short story means creating a tiny universe for you, your characters, and your readers all to live in for a brief time. It's an intense experience for all involved!

Trying to stretch that same process over the length of a novel doesn't really work - you need peaks and valleys, conflict and resolution, to make the story feel satisfying to the reader. I cheated slightly, in that my novel is written in 18 sections, but there is still the need for that same overarching structure. I just made it more difficult for myself by trying to build it from 18 different materials. I can't say I recommend this approach for your first ever novel, but I think it worked out in the end.'

Emily Armstrong, author of short story collection How to Gut a Fish and just-published debut novel Falling Animals, in Bookbrunch