We’ve known since June that three-time Hugo winner N. K. Jemisin was adapting her Broken Earth trilogy for the big screen. And while we still don’t have a timeline on when those scripts will be finished, Jemisin has now shared how she’s approaching adapting the books for film.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, where Jemisin mainly talked about her work on the DC comic, Far Sector, Jemisin also shared her process for writing screenplay versions of The Broken Earth trilogy:
“It’s difficult to describe, but for example, a lot of my characters’ growth and development occurs in internal ways. They will have epiphanies, they will have a moment of revelation where they suddenly understand a thing. That can be a dramatic moment in a book because that moment of understanding is a beat in the character arc. You can get inside their head and you can make that dramatic or powerful or important. You can’t do that in a film. You can’t do it in a comic book. Because we can’t see inside their head. You have to make that moment of revelation visual and physical. And they can talk through some of the revelation, but at the end of the day, there has to be a physical, visual thing that happens that changes this person. So now I have to come up with events instead of epiphanies.”
Jemisin also said that her work on Far Sector helped her convey stories in a more visual medium. “I never thought of myself as a visual person before,” she told EW. “It’s difficult to describe, but when I write my novels, I don’t see images in my head. I see impressions of things, if anything.”
Far Sector, however, trained her to think and write more visually, which she says makes her better equipped to create the screenplay adaptations. There’s no news yet on when those scripts will be finalized much less make their way into production. In the meantime, however, we can (re)read The Broken Earth books and/or her Far Sector comics, which are now available in a collected edition.