Putting Fiction and Art Together
Last year, Stephanie Moore Hopkins of LAP It Marketing suggested that I do a project with an artist and/or photographer. After all, the "LAP" in the name of her company stands for "Literature, Art, and Photography." The idea was to take a scene from my novel, Heart Soul & Rock 'n' Roll, and have an artist and a photographer translate it into their media.
We couldn't get a photographer to sign on, but we did get graphic artist Lee Davis to join us, and my partner, Dan Bush, got into the mix when we went to Point Pleasant Beach, NJ to look for a suitable building to stand in for a sketch of the Flying Fish Club. (See the image at the top of the blog.)
When we came upon an old Victorian structure (currently a shop) on a side street, both of us exclaimed, "That's it!" Dan took photographs and did a sketch that turned the shop into the bar that serves as the catalyst for an unlikely relationship between a church's assistant minister and a guy who fronts a bar band.
Over the years, my story has taken two forms: a novel which I wrote and a spec script for a film which Dan and I collaborated on (it's not likely to hit theaters, TV, or the internet, but ya never know).
So let's start with the original thing, the excerpt from my novel.
A novel depends upon description (environment, characters, emotions) as well as dialog to move the story along. It allows the reader to use imagination to see the scene and the characters and to hear the dialog. Novel writing is a solitary pursuit until the editing process when editors and beta readers get involved. So as you read, look at how I use description to help the reader see, smell, hear, taste, and touch the elements of the story.
Now let's look at the same scene from the script Dan Bush and I are developing. Notice what from the novel we chose to keep and what we cut out. Also notice how scriptwriting differs drastically from novel-writing. A film script depends upon just enough description and emotional information for the director, actors, and the rest of the team to understand the story and interpret it on film. Unlike a novel, a film is a collaborative process. It also is highly visual and depends upon images, music, and rather terse dialog to tell its story. A longish monologue is okay, but most dialog needs to be on the short side.
Finally, Lee Davis took the excerpt from my novel and produced three pages of a graphic novel. Notice how different storytelling is in this medium. Also, look for Dan's sketch. Lee incorporated it into his work.
If you're like me, this part of the blog jumps out a grabs you. A graphic novel is exactly that: a novel told in images. It has a lot in common with script writing because the amount of description and emotional content is visual, and the artist provides just enough dialog to support the images and move the story along. But how the reader encounters the work is different from how a film goer encounters a movie. A certain amount of imagination is involved to support the images and the dialog in a graphic novel. I don't know how the characters sound, I don't know what the bar smells like, I don't know how it sounds. I have to imagine that.
While I have not studied graphic novels, I assume it is a solitary pursuit like written fiction, although I imagine it also must employ editing at some point.
I'm thrilled to see my characters brought to life! Although they don't look the way I see them in my head, it is fun to see how Lee has envisioned them. Lee took my words and built his idea of the world of the Flying Fish Club.
In real life, Lee Davis does a very different style of graphic novel. So, kudos to him for going outside his comfort zone! If you want to know more about Lee and his work, his links are:
You can find Stephanie Moore Hopkins at:
Hope you enjoyed this blog. I am happy that we all managed to get it together and want to thank Stephanie for the idea and for curating the project.
See you on Monday!
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Janet Stafford, Squeaking Pips Founder