For years, I thought the best way to tell any story is through a film. I've wanted to direct movies (and have, if you count the attempts) since the day I realized that those characters on screen are, in fact, told what to do by a group of hidden someones. That was a while ago.
But NOW. In the last year, I've been trying my hand at script-writing, working as an assistant director, and basically getting involved with movies however I can - and I've realized something.
Movies are not necessarily the best mode of story-telling. They are a great way, and a way that I plan to further explore, BUT. If the story I want to tell is intricately braided together by the thought-threads of several characters - and if those characters don't make a habit of soliloquy - then how can you portray that story through film, which only looks at the outside of a person?
You need more than just character dialogue to tell such a story, my friends.
You need the omniscience of the fictional novel. A film script has on paper only the barest outlines of a character. The writer doesn't write each character's thoughts and feelings - that's for your talent to discover and fill out (unless you incorporate some serious voiceover time).
But a novel - ah, it took me several months of script-writing to realize this - in a novel YOU the writer can decide EXACTLY where the story goes and why. You can write epic action sequences with complete disregard for how much they would cost to film! You can decide - get this - you can decide EXACTLY how your characters look!!!
These are just a few of the freedoms I have discovered.
But - you say - but you've lost the spectacle. Film affords us SPECTACLE. And I do most desperately love the visual splendour of telling a story in film (ok, digital video, to be accurate).
What about a compromise? Visual storytelling can be achieved on paper; that is, in a graphic novel or comic book. This is a great avenue for a story that is heavily character-based. You can present said character exactly how you want to, exactly how you envisioned him/her. Panels even allow you to affect the delivery of their dialogue pretty effectively - think of Spiderman's running commentary, or Deadpool's internal discussions. But like I said - heavily character-based. The character concept must be robust by itself, interesting by him/herself. You don't have the time to develop an involved plot that will gradually reveal who they are, not within the confines of one comic issue. Over many issues, of course you do, but that's if you sell the first one.
The dreaded If. It is the worst, most sleep-depriving-est question for any author. If you can sell that story you worked SO LONG and SO HARD on, that story you spent months and months (years and years?) of your life on.
Well - here's what I think.
All you can do is try it. Think about what you need most to be portrayed - sensationalism (or, visual beauty), complex thoughts, vivid characterizations - and then pick your medium accordingly. Or try them in every medium. Why not?
I tried The Meddler in all three forms, but I started and ended with a novel. I needed room to portray a web of hidden agendas, backstabbings, and quiet masterminding from a variety of characters - and communicate the desperation of one normal girl faced with escaping a criminal underworld.
Only you can say if I succeeded in telling a story... :)