The Creative Process

Question: Is writing novels similar to writing screenplays?

 

Derek Haas: Yes, there are similarities in that in both writing a novel and writing a screenplay it essentially comes downs to what’s that big idea that I want to tell. What’s that story that’s going to make it interesting and have, for me at least, I mean it could be different for other novelists but, I like the whole idea of having them turn pages and keeping the pace tight and keeping the language spare, which is what you have to do in screenplays. Trying to convey a lot with a little. Definitely the lessons I learned from screenwriting have affected my writing a novel. There are many differences obviously, the things that I loved about writing a novel were not having to worry about focus groups and budgets and somebody telling me that the main character needed to have a dog because that would appeal to a certain demographic and then getting to internalize. So much of screenwriting you have everything has got to be external, unless you are doing voiceover through the whole movie, you can’t have the thoughts of the character. So it was really fun for me to get inside, in fact in just the prose because I wrote it from the first person narrative. Getting inside that character’s head and getting the see the things that go on beyond just what we are seeing physically happen.

Question: Do you find one genre more difficult?

Derek Haas: No. I wish I could say yes, but, I’m one of those guys that just loves to sit down with a blank page and write and whether that’s the script or a book. No. I really didn’t put any pressure on myself with the book; I had no idea if I was writing something commercial that would sell. In screenwriting you do have the pressure of ”I’ve been paid already to write something that somebody needs to turn into a movie,” and if you fail at that a few times, then you are not going to get hired anymore. If you get paid a lot of money to adapt a comic book say that Universal bought and then they say, ”This draft stinks, we’re not gonna make this new movie,” or ”We’re gonna fire these guys and hire somebody else,“ if you are not moving the project forward you can only do that a few times before they decide they are not going to take the risk on these people. With the book I didn’t have that problem.We don’t write jokes, we have lots of friends who are comedy writers in Hollywood and they have a gift that Michael and I don’t have, the whole, set up, set up, pay off, joke telling. Michael and I try to infuse humor into everything that we do more like the humor that comes out of situations rather than setting up punch lines. I think if you watch Wanted you’ll get a sense of that because we like humor in the absurd. Is it the most difficult?  I think all of it’s difficult because so much has come before you, that you are trying to come up with a new way, especially in screenwriting where, Hollywood speaks the language of movies. They’ll tell you, ”We want a scene like the airplane propeller scene in Indiana Jones,” so you’re trying to think what is the way I can do that better. Trying to come up with new set pieces, new dialogue, new characters, new situations and not falling into any of the old tired conventions. It’s all difficult.

 


 

 

Derek Haas on the importance of pace and language.

Live on Monday: Does the US need one billion people?

What would happen if you tripled the US population? Join Matthew Yglesias and Charles Duhigg at 1pm ET on Monday, September 28.

Universe works like a cosmological neural network, argues new paper

Controversial physics theory says reality around us behaves like a computer neural network.

Credit: sakkmesterke
Surprising Science
  • Physicist proposes that the universe behaves like an artificial neural network.
  • The scientist's new paper seeks to reconcile classical physics and quantum mechanics.
  • The theory claims that natural selection produces both atoms and "observers".
Keep reading Show less

Learn innovation with 3-star Michelin chef Dominique Crenn

Dominique Crenn, the only female chef in America with three Michelin stars, joins Big Think Live.

Big Think LIVE

Having been exposed to mavericks in the French culinary world at a young age, three-star Michelin chef Dominique Crenn made it her mission to cook in a way that is not only delicious and elegant, but also expressive, memorable, and true to her experience.

Keep reading Show less

We studied what happens when guys add their cats to their dating app profiles

43% of people think they can get a sense of someone's personality by their picture.

Photo by Luigi Pozzoli on Unsplash
Sex & Relationships

If you've used a dating app, you'll know the importance of choosing good profile pics.

Keep reading Show less

Should you grow a beard? Here's how women perceive bearded men

Whether or not women think beards are sexy has to do with "moral disgust"

Photo Credit: Frank Marino / Unsplash
Sex & Relationships
  • A new study found that women perceive men with facial hair to be more attractive as well as physically and socially dominant.
  • Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength, social assertiveness, and formidability.
  • Women who display higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, are more likely to prefer hairy faces.
Keep reading Show less

Quarantine rule breakers in 17th-century Italy partied all night – and some clergy condemned the feasting

17th-century outbreaks of plague in Italy reveal both tensions between religious and public health authorities.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Coronavirus

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts between religious freedom and public health regulations have been playing out in courts around the world.

Keep reading Show less
Quantcast