Monday, June 26, 2006

Self-Published Books That Became Movies

It's really amazing at the little things that really knock you over and throw you for a loop and this is one of those times.

I was over at POD-DY Mouth blog today after doing a search on "self-published books turned into movies."

I just devour her blog to see what's the latest findings she has on POD (print-on-demand) books, mainly for the sarcasm and the great literary finds she manages to uncover from the heap of all those POD books out there, but it was a post today that really threw me.

This particular post, and I'll send you the link in a sec, started off with her talking about all the crap out there and a particular passage from a book came to her mind.

The passage goes like this and is actually from the first chapter which should be the one that really grabs the editor....

[Ben] graduated from a small Eastern college on a day in June. Then he flew home. The following evening a party was given for him by his parents. By eight o'clock most of the guests had arrived but Benjamin had not yet come down from his room. His father called up from the foot of the stairs but there was no answer. Finally he hurried up the stairs and to the end of the hall.

"Ben?" he said, opening his son's door.

"I'll be down later," Benjamin said.

"Ben, the guests are all here," his father said. "They're all waiting."

"I said I'll be down later."

Mr. Braddock closed the door behind him. "What is it," he said.

Benjamin shook his head and walked to the window.

"What is it, Ben."


"Then why don't you come on down and see your guests."

Benjamin didn't answer.


"Dad," he said, turning around, "I have some things on my mind right now."

"What things."

"Just some things."

"Well can't you tell me what they are?"


Now, I have to agree with POD-Dy Mouth. This majorly sucks. I mean, does that just draw you in or what?

And, yet, this book received great reviews. Here are a couple:

"Brilliant...sardonic, ludicrously funny."
The NY Times

"A highly gifted and accomplished writer."

Chicago Tribune

And it's doing fantastic in the Amazon rankings.

So, what book is this that such crap came from and, in fact, they made a great movie out of it?

Go here to find out and then come back...there will be a surprising experiment come from this.

Are you still standing up or have you passed out on the floor? I was floored.

I did an experiment. I run a writing group and we post things for each other to look at to get a little critical input. So, I posted the passage and just let the members think that it was I who wrote it without exactly saying so. Here are their remarks. Keep in mind these are writers and authors who should know crap when they see it, but refrain from telling like it really is because they love me. ;o)

How about changing the first two lines to read as one?
"After graduating from a small Eastern College one day in June, Ben flew directly home."
You get the idea.

You're also missing a few commas.
Linda L Rucker

"The following evening a party was given for him by his parents."
This is passive and would likely sound better like...
The following evening, his parents threw him a graduation party....
or something like that.
April Wells

"I'm probabaly WAAAAAY off base here, but when I read this the thought entered my mind the son is either gay or about to commit suicide."
Joyce Anthony

"It doesn't suck, but with so little to go on I'm having a hard time putting into context. Combining the two sentences would make it flow easier. There are so few details--reactions, body language, tone...but it's just a little piece so that's to be expected."
Theresa Chaze

"I think it will, once that first sentence is tightened, or put together with the second sentence.
Ron Berry

"I see some passive voice in "a party was given for him by his parents" -- active voice would be "his parents gave him a party."
"What is it."should have a question mark, not a period. Also "why don't you come down and greet your guests" should have a question mark, too. And "what things"-- ditto with the question mark."

Marilyn Morris

Now, these are ordinary people just like you and me and yet they caught what's wrong with it.

So, you tell me, how did this book get published AND become a movie when there are so many gifted authors out there who would just like their one shot at fame?

This is a crazy business, that's for sure.

BTW, POD-dy Mouth's post can be found here.

Oh, Lea Docken's response really threw me and I think you'll get a chuckle out of it....

"Just read this Dorothy and it reminded me of the Graduate. I can just picture Dustin Hoffman as I read this...wasn't the kids name in the Graduate Ben? Oh well. Anyway that is the first thing I thought of."
Lea Docken

Dang. Blew my cover...


  1. Hey Dorothy, I knew straight off that was The Graduate, and you call me insane.

  2. I just watched RUMOR HAS IT, and it was supposed to be the backstory behind the creation of The Graduate. Interesting post, thanks for spreading the word!

  3. I'm not a writer, but it would seem to be frustrating to have to deal with things like that. Just keep writing what you do and enjoy. You'll be getting great reviews that are well earned!

    Congrats on earning FTS's Spotlight Blog of the Week! What an honor!

  4. We just saw the play "The Graduate" last week at a local theater. I recognized the quote immediately.

  5. My first guess was The Graduate, too. Sure glad I didn't read the book first!

  6. I was DIRECTED over here to say "HI" from FTS's blog! So... "HI!" ~ jb///


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.