4 Books That Are Just Unfilmable (And How They Can Be Pulled Off Anyway)

Books vs Movies. Nothing divides the literary community deeper than speculating which mode of media shall reign supreme, an unending war of many bloody battles that begin and shall always end with “I liked the book better”.

But no matter what you believe, some books just can’t be movies.

For one thing, you lose out completely on any third-person impartiality, whether that be backstory, or worldbuilding, or non-cringey flashbacks. They’re meant to be longer forms of entertainment, several hours as opposed to the “few” of film and cramming all of that detail into a tiny chunk of time like a narrative space bag is bound to be problematic.

But studios still try even though they should leave some of these alone.

Such as…

The Hobbit

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I know, I know, we’ve heard it before and a thousand other times that these movies were just plain terrible. I won’t delve into the why as so many others before me have. You know exactly what is wrong with this trilogy that should have never been.

But what exactly is it about this book that makes it just so unfit for the silver screen?

Well, for one thing, most of the most “cinematic” stuff happens off the page. The Battle of Five Armies? Was elsewhere. And that’s most of an entire movie right there. The book is also “narrated” in the “voice” of Tolkien, lending a very unique texture and flavor that just can’t be captured on celluloid. On top of all of this, if it feels like the chapters are on the episodic side as opposed to one cohesive story, well, it’s because they are. This book was intended to be a bedtime story, not a million-hours-long epic and shouldn’t be devoured in one sitting.

How To Actually Pull It Off

Make it actually for kids. Seriously. This was never meant to be a gritty PG-13 war epic and as much as I dig the edgification of the media I adore, this one needs to be left the h*ck alone. Let it be goofy, let it be fun, let it be a bouncy adventure with songs and riddles and magic rings.

I’m imagining a really fun animated miniseries something like Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network can air between longer shows made by an animator who knows how to have a fun, colorful time.

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A Wrinkle In Time

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Hate me all you like, Brie Larson, but neither movie of A Wrinkle In Time were very good. Bouncing between melodramatic dreck, PS1 level CGI, and overwrought feel-good moral goop, they both fell on the “unwatchable” side of mediocre.

But why?

For one thing, he book falls into a weird place in, well… time. It’s very clearly a period piece – what with how the kids talk – but from a period that makes us think of other things. And having it set mostly in space and in a sleepy town where I guarantee nothing ever changes – believe me, I grew up there – it sort of takes you out of that time period, too.

The book is deeply mired in cerebral thought, contemplating physics and religion and emotion and memory and the price of knowledge. That kind of stuff just doesn’t work on film.

Oh, and most of the science stuff is pretty inacurate now.

How To Actually Pull It Off

For this one? You kind of don’t. Maybe if you really set it in its own time and really sell the 50s Suburbia Hell of Camazotz instead of trying to shove it into “modern day” to make it “relatable” then it could possibly work. If not, then maybe it’s better as a concept album or something.

The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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This movie should have worked. It had Martin Freeman who is an excellent actor who has shamefully popped up earlier on this list. It had Sam Rockwell who went on to make one of the most moving and beautiful movies about space that you should never google before watching. It had Professor Flitwick in a robot costume with the voice of Severus Snape.

Literally what else could you possibly ask for?

But much like Tolkein, Douglas Adams had a strong, musky flavor to his writing and even when you intercut with some prime absurdity, it’s just lost on the viewer if you play everything else around it straight. It’s also a book not meant for any heart-wrenching pathos (at least not for a while), it refuses to fit any of your silly three-act structures, and also it just kinda ends. So it’s hard to wrap a script around.

How To Actually Pull It Off

Give it to Baz Lurhman. Really. This is not a joke here.

Now, you may be thinking that the man had one amazing perfect movie that was only improved upon by putting Aaron Tevit in it, one movie that had Claire Daines making weird noises, and heahyeahthatotherone….

But here’s the deal. H2G2 has been adapted, re-adapted, re-written, and chopped into stew-sized chunks by its own author. Neil Gaiman wrote a book about it!

This more or less gives any director with the rocks to try complete creative freedom to be as zany and off the wall as theoretically possible and if you don’t think Luhrman’s quick-dollying rapid-cut rave seizure gooey handprint isn’t perfect to stamp upon it, then I don’t know what to tell you.

Harry Potter

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I heard that. That gasp of utter shock and then the heart-shattering consensus that yeah, these movies weren’t that great.

Many have picked apart the shortcomings of this adaptation, from cutting every plot thread like they’re writing Game of Thrones Season 8 to squashing characters entire personalities and motivations flat like they’re the Whomping Willow, these books have not been treated well.

How To Actually Pull It Off

A part of it does come from the medium, those books were doorstoppers at their smallest, the whole series clocking in at roughly four times as long as War and Peace.

Not only that, but the way movies treat characters is very different than the way books do. Book characters are allowed to be wrong, misguided, even unlikable, and they can stay that way for a decent chunk of time. In movies, that stuff needs to get out of the way very early on – or the exploration of these gray areas needs to be the point of the entire movie which is not the point of a series like Harry Potter. Turning Harry into a lovable goody-goody with a bit of an angsty streak who can do no wrong, Ron into a doofy best friend who’s along for the ride, and Hermione into a naggy know-it-all who never needs to grow past her Smartest In The Room phase does them all a disservice.

My thought is to write it all as one collective whole. The books weren’t written that way and it kinda shows in some barer patches, but this is a chance to smooth it over.

Producers would also need to decide whether each director will be allowed to have a wildly different idea of what Hogwarts and magic and the Wizarding World are like and make their own interpretations or it needs to be handled by one director, one team, one set.

And it should probably be a much longer thing on HBO.

Which book do you think can just never be adapted? Can it be done anyway?
Share in the comments!

My own book may or may not be film-worthy, but you can read it anyway! (whether you’re a movie exec or not!)

inter_linked The Series is the fun, sarcastic story of a girl and her android.

Follow the adventures of Anny and WISR as they try to help every robot they can, while the hardest part of the journey is putting up with each other.

Absolutely free to read:


Well. This week has been an interesting one, and not just because I accidentally worked 10 hours Thursday.

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Last weekend, I launched my Discord server for my beta readers and friends – comment or contact for deets! – and put my first three chapters out into the universe.
And now I need to edit them.
Hoo boy.

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So instead, I started writing a musical! And started working on Faehunter again, a manuscript I set aside about a year ago! And started planning my release schedule! And signed up for Patreon to be ready for launch day!

Yeah, that’s right. There’s goodies involved.

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For $1/month, you get a special credit on both my site and the inter_linked one, and you get access to special “byte_size” mini-stories exclusive to Patrons!

For a measly $5 (which is basically how much it costs to breathe here in the city) you get all of the above AND you get to see the updates a full day early. You get a link that goes with your credit, so advertise whatever you like whether it’s your Twitter, SoundCloud, or just adorable pictures of your dog.

For $10, if you’re a seriously stinkin’ rich or something, you get ALL of the above, as well as a handwritten thank you postcard from yours truly, access to your own super-secret Discord lounge, and long-term Patrons get free goodies like stickers and other small objects that can be shipped without murdering me!

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All of these levels come with their own Discord roles so you can flex how awesome you are in front of all the freeloaders- I mean, lovely readers that I genuinely appreciate very much thank you for joining me on this crazy journey.

So stay tuned, friends, there’s a lot more happening before November 1st!


After a real whirlwind of work and a whole lot of not-looking-at-my-book, I finally have something to write about in this space. Kind of.

Things I Have Done This Past Month-Ish To Avoid Dealing With My Own Self-Imposed Deadlines:

  • Began writing a musical because this is what I do literally every time I see a Broadway show.
    (I just saw Moulin Rouge! and Aaron Tevit is an absolute treasure)
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“Did someone say… REVOLUTION?!”
  • Started a bit of work on a comedy book idea I had about a teenage girl who insists her boyfriend is a vampire and that they’ll live forever together and it’s sooo romantic.
    • He’s a dude named Dave.
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  • Accidentally write two blog posts this week, so you get to hear a whole lot of me!
  • Scrawled some somewhat shameful Game of Thrones fanfiction where I fix Season 8 because if I don’t do it… lots of other people probably would but they aren’t as cool as me.
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Real footage of me explaining what I’ve been writing to my family this coming Thanksgiving

Yesterday I picked up the quill and started editing, even if just a little and started prepping some chapters for beta readers.

I also put together a Discord server for discussions and shenanigans!

We’ve got about two months until November 1st, so stay tuned for more updates and cool stuff. Be sure to follow me on Twitter for even more awesomeness.

Want to get in on the action? Leave a comment below, or email me: novemberomalley (at) gmail (dot) com

Book Marketing 101 – How to Find Your Audience When You Think Your Book Appeals to Everyone

If there’s one thing I hear a lot from writers it’s that some folks think their books are meant for eeeeverryyooone.

And that’s just not true!

Some people just don’t like long books, or short books, or books with romance plots that can be described in a Euclidean form.

Triangles are SO last decade!

So you need to find your audience. Find your readers, find your fans.

And here’s how:

Find Your Comps (And Not Just Books)

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Discovering your comps, or “comparable titles”, is a major step forward when it comes to defining your audience. Not only is it required for most query letters (yeah, that’s what those book titles at the bottom of those things are for) but it also helps you find your people and figure out how to appeal best to them.For queries, you generally want your comps to be books, but for marketing exercises and brainstorms they can be anything you want!

If you’re writing something fun, inoffensive, kid-friendly, and friendship-themed, you could put down Avatar: The Last Airbender, Steven Universe, or Gravity Falls. Fairy Tale-inspired works can be compared to books like Gail Carson Levine’s and Three Dark Crowns, but you can also think about Once Upon a Time or Shrek films, or The Stinky Cheese Man.


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Many big brands like Lululemon have created “personas” for their ideal customer and detail their whole lifestyles from their average income to their relationships and hobbies. While it may seem a little silly – and no, you don’t have to give them goofy names like “Ocean” and “Duke” – it can be helpful to get into the mindset of your future readers to find out how to catch their eye. 

Mine are named Aurora and Apollo (Because Space) and they are twentysomethings who like media that makes them think and like to dream about the future.

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Because Space

Yours may be older or younger depending on who you’re looking to appeal to and while their salary might not matter a whole lot, they’re exactly the kind of people who’s days your looking to brighten with your wonderful stories.

Look to Your Current Fans

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Everyone remembers who their first real “fan” was. Maybe it was a parent or a sibling, maybe it’s a friend from college, maybe it’s someone you met on Twitter who was just REALLY into it. Even though you’re just starting out, you’re bound to have a few who are already watching your career with great interest and can’t wait to hear more from you.

So look closer. Who are they, what ages and genders? What things do they like and what do they watch and read? What made them so interested in your work in the first place (and being related to you carries less weight than you think – ask any author you know if their relatives read their stuff)?Finding the answers to these questions can help build your roadmap to audience success!

How are you going to reach out to your audience?
Mention it below in the comments!

If you’ve made it this far, you’re already a welcome member of my audience! Come join me!

inter_linked The Series is the fun, sarcastic story of a girl and her android.

Follow the adventures of Anny and WISR as they try to help every robot they can, while the hardest part of the journey is putting up with each other.

Absolutely free to read:

Steven Universe: The Movie: The Review

I’ve been a fan of Steven Universe for a couple of years, for all that I was a late-joiner, hopping on the bandwagon of its technicolor emotions in the hiatus following Season 4.

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You get zero points for guessing who my favorite character is… YOU CLODS!

It was kind of magical thing for me personally because it was something my brother and I bonded over in the depths of a wintry tempest in which we also decided a very chilly beer run was in order.

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But hey, it stayed cold!

We watched all the episodes one after another in a marathon of twists and turns and skipping the “boardies” episodes because honestly, how much of the french-fry-themed family can one put up with?

So before I delve into this list of barely-coherent thoughts, I just want to say that I love this show. I adore its warm and cozy vibe, its beautiful message, and the wonderfully terrifically LGBTIA+ overtones. Just in case it seems like I’m tearing this thing apart.

This will have some mild, unavoidable spoilers but I’ll do my best to keep them relatively low.

The Good

The Villain Is The Best Part – and Kinda Familiar

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I’m not sure when we entered what I like to call “The Age of the Villain”, but between characters like Cersei Lannister and Thanos, we’re seeing a real rise in villains who just steal the show.

The villain of Steven Universe: The Movie is sinister, vengeful, and a genuine threat. They give us some of the most interesting development and also some of the most amazing fight scenes we’ve seen in the show.

Their story and how they handle their development may seem a little familiar, though. It feels like a more nuanced examination of similar themes and situations we’ve seen before, a new look at the same dynamics.

They’re also wicked cool-looking.

The Music Was Just Wonderful

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While many reviewers will be talking about the musical numbers and character songs, but those being mind-blowingly amazing is just kind of par for the course.

I just want to take a moment to appreciate the score. It takes a special kind of show to pair a truly apocalyptic event with a smooth chill-hop groove.

The Animation Is Amped Up To Amazing

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More fluid, brighter colors, and better effects make the show still recognizable compared to the early episodes, but it’s a noticeable improvement.

Things like hair and liquid seem to have better movement, and the villain’s motions are handled brilliantly.

The hands also look more detailed and cool, which I know is a strange thing to notice but hey.

More Random Goodness:

  • Steven has a neck now and that’s just great.
  • The characterization is spot-on.
  • Garnet wears two wedding bands, and I’m not sure if that was in the show, but it made me so happy to see (again).
  • Steven has his natural voice! Finally! You could hear his poor VA cracking in later seasons and it’s so nice to hear him not trying to sound 12.
  • Holy wow is some of this just utterly surreal. I’m getting residual flashbacks to when I owned Yellow Submarine on VHS.
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The ‘Eh’

The Ending Just Sort Of… Happens

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Not to spoil too heavily, but the resolution to everything just sort of shows up and it’s over just like that.

Who knew that healing millennia-long scars was just 30 seconds of harmonizing away?

The Solution To the Great Big Problem is Kinda Iffy

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The villain’s actions are a little easily undone thanks to a pretty major flaw that probably shouldn’t logically exist.

The solution to Steven’s particular problem kinda made no sense to me and still makes very little after having it explained to me.

There’s a New Fusion And I Literally Screamed At My TV When I Saw It

No spoilers, but it gave me complicated feelings.

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Steven Universe: The Movie was excellent and definitely worth watching, although like many story arcs in this show, don’t expect much by way of follow-through.

The music is catchy and lovely, the characters show some amazing development, and the villain was the best part on top of it all.

Did you like Steven Universe: The Movie?
Leave a comment below – but please avoid spoilers!

Read More Reviews:

The Lies of Locke Lamora book review
The Umbrella Academy Netflix review
The Elder Scrolls 25th Anniversary review

If you like warm and cozy stories about family and friendship, you’re gonna love this!

inter_linked The Series is the fun, sarcastic story of a girl and her android.

Follow the adventures of Anny and WISR as they try to help every robot they can, while the hardest part of the journey is putting up with each other.

Absolutely free to read: