No two persons ever read the same book. ~ Edmund Wilson
Screenwriting versus fiction novels
Unlike screenwriters, the author of fiction has a unique challenge. When a movie or TV show is viewed, the characters are portrayed as the writer intended. Actors give life to the characters and the audience “sees” the characters as imagined by the screenwriter.
Not much imagination is demanded of an audience to envision a character’s appearance or facial expressions. It is the actor’s job to be that character. Whether it is raised eyebrows, smirks, “laugh out loud” moments, sadness, grieving, joy or any other emotion, the actor brings to life a character for the audience to know and experience.
On the other hand, each reader of a book will have a unique mental picture of a character presented in a novel. A reader’s life experiences and personal traits color his or her imaginative process. These cannot be altered by a writer.
How does the creative process take into account these challenges and differences? Does a writer even consider these creative challenges?
Do modern authors take into account technological differences as challenges of competition with modern technology and on-demand “storytelling”?
Do authors rely on book covers to provide a hint of a protagonist’s appearance?
Do these challenges explain why some writers provide trailers on YouTube?