Shauna Bickley

Book or Film First?

Posted on Monday 29th October 2018 by Shauna Bickley

Do you prefer to read a book first or see the film?

If you read the book first is the film as good?

These questions came up when I was thinking about how much physical description is needed in a book. I’ve recently finished reading a novel with pages of physical description for each character written in a police report fashion giving the character’s weight, height, hair and eye colour etc. In contrast I’ve also read plenty of books where there is very little physical description.

We use more imagination when reading than we do when watching a film. On a second reading of a book I’ve sometimes been surprised to read a detailed description of a character when I’ve imagined them very differently. And I’m sure I’m not the only person who has been disappointed at the choice of an actor when they don’t look anything like the character described in the book or how I imagine them to be.

I generally keep physical descriptions of characters to a minimum as that is my preference, allowing the reader to create their own images.

How much physical description do you like when reading a book?

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