Alan Asks: Which Is Better, Books Or Films?

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From “Little Women” to “Gone With The Wind”, many favourite books have appeared on the silver screen.

But when it comes to good old-fashioned storytelling, which is better — a novel or its film adaptation?


Reading is very personal experience and can be done pretty much anywhere. A good novel will offer plenty in way of characters’ backgrounds.

Writers have time to build up their characters, and readers often have detailed understanding of characters’ thoughts and feelings.

Unlike film, there are no time constraints. Storylines, too, can weave intricately around each other, with the reader having time to savour different locations.


A visual treat for your senses. Film brings many experiences to the table that you don’t get from a novel.

There is sound — from the dialogue you hear to the music score and special effects. Actors breathe life into characters, just as directors capture scenes for maximum impact. Film can also be instantly enjoyed with others — the laughs, tears and scary jump scenes included.


In my mind, one isn’t better than the other.

With a novel, my imagination can conjure up images of characters wandering along cold, cobbled streets, or bartering with vendors in bustling marketplaces. Plots in novels have me thinking of all possible scenarios before they are resolved.

I love immersing myself in such a world, looking forward to reading where I last left off.

Thanks to the visual impact of being able to transport the viewer to any place and time, film can be spectacular.

I’m not relying on my own imagination to piece scenes together.

With film, there are many creative individuals, and the technology available to them, helping produce memorable scenes. Whether it’s roaming dinosaurs in “Jurassic Park” or ghostly apparitions in “The Woman In Black”.

If I had to compare a novel with its film-adaptation counterpart, nine times out of ten the novel would win. T

his is simply due to the personal and detailed reading journey it offers. But for entertainment value, there is no reason why both can’t be enjoyed individually and together.

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Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one aspiring tip to new writers is to “write from your imagination”.