Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A View from Randy Alcorn's Window - Courageous!

Randy Alcorn was approached by the Kendrick brothers to do a novelization of their soon-to-release film Courageous. This is a project that is usually performed in reverse order. However, Randy accepted the challenge and created a story that really compliments the film that birthed the novel. I was able to sit down with Randy during the International Christian Retail Show in Atlanta and explore this rather unusual writing process. I hope you are as intrigued as I was!

Please give Randy Alcorn a warm welcome to my Window!

How does the creative process differ when you are writing a book based on a film? Fleshing out a story created by someone else?

I was asked by the Kendrick brothers to do this project, and I saw an early cut of the film. I thought the film had a strong message, and I wanted to be part of that. I knew I would have to expand the movie some five times in length to get a novel completed, but the Kendrick brothers agreed and I started working on the project.

What research was required to get a true feel for the story?

The story is set in Albany, Georgia, so I went to Albany and spent four days with a police officer. I was able to observe some gang activity in the area that later allowed me to selectively develop parts of the movie. I was also able to develop a real feel for the setting and the people of the area and create more believable characters.

How hard was it to expand an hour and a half of film into a full length novel?

I always over write, so it was easier for me to take something small and make it big, because I have a lot of practice taking something big an d reducing it! This was the first time I have ever done this type of work, and it was very challenging, but also very rewarding. Almost 80% of the novel is not in the movie, because it would have to be a 12 hour film to include everything in the novel.

I also had to be selective about choosing the characters to develop back story on in the novel. I had to decide who the main characters would be in the novel. I chose to develop Nathan and Adam. (two of the police officers) I also chose to develop more of the gang characters in the story in a way I thought was inevitable as a fiction writer. Many of those changes were not comfortable to the Kendrick brothers, so I respected their opinion and didn’t develop those characters as fully as I once planned.

What impact has the message of the movie had on you personally?

It’s a reminder to everyone, but men in particular, to stop up to the plate and accept the responsibility that God has given them. This is for every man, but if you are a man whose life has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit of God, then you will be empowered to live the righteous and courageous life portrayed in the movie. A non-believer will find it impossible or at least extremely difficult to live the courageous life.

This movie is about a heart change, and with God it is possible to live out the challenge of this movie. This film shouts the redemptive power of the gospel to change lives and change families.

How do you think the movie and novel work together to spread the Courageous challenge?

The value of being a reader is the ability to read God’s Word. Reading God’s Word allows you to lead effectively and understand what it means to be a leader, a husband and good father. I see both the movie and the novel touching on things that challenge men to step up to the plate and accept the role that God sets forth in His Word as fathers and husbands.

Every day is full of teaching opportunities, and men need to invest their lives into their families so they will be available when those teaching moments come to them.

You can learn more about Randy and his work at his website! Pick up a copy of Courageous today!

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