Adaptation

I just finished reading 1Q84 for the second time. There are lots of reasons why I love this book but at the top of the list are the parallel stories, parallel worlds and the super creepy “Little People.” Oh man, the Little People. They remind me of the old couple coming back at the end of Mulholland Drive (another of my absolute favorites).

In fact, after reading it the first time I thought it would make a great David Lynch film.


But that doesn’t seem to be happening. Actually, there doesn’t seem to be much happening at all with Murakami novels being turned into movies with the exception of Norwegian Wood (which I just discovered is available on Netflix).

Anyway, I long ago thought I should try adapting a book as a way to finally get all the way though writing a screenplay. Coincidentally, one of the two main plots in 1Q84 involve Tengo, rewriting Fuka-Eri’s novel Air Chrysalis. When asking him to take the project on, Tengo’s editor Komatsu points out what Tengo’s big roadblock is in regards to his own writing.

quoteIt turns out that rewriting Air Chrysalis is what turns things around for Tengo and the story that’s been stuck inside him gets unlocked.wordprocessor2scrivener Inspired by that, I thought that I should finally give that adaptation project a shot. Not that I expect that this will be turned into a film in any way except as a writing exercise—it’s a learning experience.

Another thing inspired by the book that has been helpful is a really distraction free writing setup. The book takes place in 1984 so when Tengo sits down to write, he’s using a word processor and not a computer connected to the internet. So I re-purposed a five year old MacBook Air as a word processor. The only real app installed on it is Scrivener and all networking is as off as I can get it without removing the wi-fi chip. Backup and printing happens via sneaker-net. I love it. It’s super small, lightweight and without a zillion programs running the five year old batter still lasts for about 5 hours.

It’s early yet. I’m only a week in. At this rate it’s going to take me at least six months to get though this giant (925 pages) novel. I’m already seeing how difficult some things are to visualize and how much will need to be condensed or cut. If I end up like this, you’ll know what happened.