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Most writers daydream about two things: the day their book appears on a best seller list and the day it gets made into a movie. I’m quite certain I’m not alone in admitting that I mentally cast all the characters in my novel a long time ago. And, if I’m being completely honest, I’ve also thought about costuming, set design, camera angles, and the award-winning score.

I’m not a fool. I know it’s extremely rare to have your book made into a movie…but it’s fun to dream. Although, there’s one rather enormous detail that I choose to blissfully ignore: the fact that authors aren’t usually involved or consulted when their work gets made into a movie.

Granted, this isn’t always the case – Stephanie Meyer is on the set of every movie in the Twilight Saga, but that’s the exception not the rule. Consequently, authors are sometimes less than thrilled with the end result because any number of things can go wrong: the wrong actors are cast, key scenes are cut, or the author’s original intentions are lost in translation, like these 7 worst film adaptations. One of the most famous examples of an author hating a film adaptation is Stephen King of The Shining.

Unfortunately, it seems like there are more disappointments than successes when it comes to adapting written work for the big screen. But, while I can think of many more book-to-movie adaptations that I didn’t like, there have been a few that I really loved.

For example, I thought Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts was a great representation of Elizabeth Gilbert’s soul-searching journey through Italy, India, Indonesia. I felt Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen was exquisitely translated to the big screen. And, of course, there’s my long-time favorite: Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook which I’ve watched at least a dozen times.

I’ve also heard that the movie version of To Kill a Mockingbird (my favorite classic) was excellent, but I haven’t seen it yet, so I can’t comment.

I’ve racked my brain trying to think of other movies that I loved,  but those three are all I can come up with. So I ask you…which film adaptations do you love?

“My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.”
– Anais Nin

When I was little, my favorite author, Patricia Reilly Giff, came to speak at our school. When it was time for questions, I raised my hand and asked her where she gets the ideas for her stories. And to this day, I’m still amused by her answer: eavesdropping.

Ever since then, I’ve been fascinated by where book ideas come from. I remember hearing that the idea for Twilight came to Stephanie Meyer in a dream. Sarah Gruen’s idea for Water for Elephants was inspired by an article about traveling circuses she read in the Chicago Tribune. Michael Connelly has said that his ideas come from real crimes. Jodi Picoult says hers come from what-if questions that get stuck in her brain like splinters. Stephen King claims his ideas come from everywhere.

The idea for the novel I’m currently writing came from a story I heard about a family friend. I got chills the first time I heard it and I knew I had to write it. Over the past two years, I’ve felt so passionate about this story that it’s motivated me to wake up and write at 5 a.m., beckoned me to spend entire weekends with it. But with the end drawing near, I can’t help but wonder: what’s next?

Will my next book idea come from a song? A news story? Will it come to me in a dream? Will it be a conversation overheard?

I suppose part of this writing adventure is waiting for the next story to walk into your life and introduce itself.

Where do your ideas come from?

“Every artist was first an amateur.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

So often we look at successful people and it seems like they catapulted to the height of their careers overnight or achieved it with little effort. But, most will tell you that success takes a long time and is often a path paved with rejection, criticism and failure.

Believe it or not, even the world’s most successful people started out just like the rest of us:

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.

Walt Disney was fired from his job at a newspaper because, “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas”. After that he started several different businesses that ended in bankruptcy.

Harland David Sanders (a.k.a. Colonel Sanders, of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame) had his famous secret chicken recipe rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant finally accepted it.

Jerry Seinfeld froze the first time he performed and was booed off the stage.

Marilyn Monroe was told by modeling agents that she should consider being a secretary instead.

Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He was fired from his first two jobs for not being productive enough and made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb.

Theodor Seuss Giesel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) had his first book, To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, rejected by 27 different publishers.

Elvis Presley was fired from the Grand Ole Opry after just one performance and was told, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”

Steven Spielberg was rejected three times by the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television.

Stephen King threw his first book, Carrie, in the trash after receiving 30 rejections. Luckily, his wife fished it out and encouraged him to resubmit.

Next time you encounter rejection, criticism or failure, remember all of the successful people who went before you and be confident that you too are on your way.

For more success stories, check out: 50 Famously Successful People Who Failed at First.

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