Too-too long? Too-too complicated?

JohnLeCarreBiographycover

 

Reading the biography of David Cornwell, aka John le Carré, I’ve been having a lot of my opinions validated about the book publishing business and my approach to the craft itself.

This great and wonderful writer had friends, writer friends, who would not read his books. He himself would not always read theirs. The reasons varied and truly do not matter for the sake of this article.

One thing caught my eye in the biography was about his book Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. When it came to the reasons as to why a movie could not be made from it, well, it was simply too-too long and too-too complicated.

When writers were asked to produce a one-sheet synopsis, they said it could not be done.

Yet what do we know about that book?

George Smiley played by Alec Guiness, left; Gary Oldman, right.
George Smiley played by Alec Guiness, left; Gary Oldman, right.

Why, we know it was a seven-part BBC miniseries in the 80s with Alec Guiness as Smiley. We know it was turned into a wonderful movie with Gary Oldham only a couple of years ago or so.

Too long? Too complicated? Unfilmable?

Yes, yes, and yes in the hands of those who couldn’t handle it.

But, no, no, and no to those who weren’t afraid of its scope.

So, when my Dance Floor Wars novel series gets turned down by agents and publishers — and they do — because the project in its scope is too big for them, or will require them to step out of their comfort zone, why, I do not despair.

It took years for some of Mr. David Cornwell/John le Carré’s novels to be judged worthy of publishing and deemed to be good for film.