This weekend two movies based on novels hit theaters, and they couldn’t be on more opposites of the spectrum from more disparate writers: Nicholas Sparks, whose Nights in Rodanthe (Roe-dan-thee) stars Diane Lane and Richard Gere as star-crossed lovers struck by romance on an East Coast isle during a stormy weekend, and Chuck Palahniuk, whose Choke stars Sam Rockwell as a con man-slash-colonial park employee who cruises sex addict recovery groups for action. If Sparks is cinema’s authorial archangel, does that make Palahniuk screendom’s li’l devil? Read on for our comparison of these two prose procreators and judge for yourself.
|Nicholas Sparks||Chuck Palahniuk|
|From his own website and published interviews...
||From his own website and and published interviews...|
|Family: Married, three sons and two twin daughters.
||Family: Is gay, in committed relationship; two Boston Terriers.|
|Education: Majored in Business Finance and graduated with high honors in 1988 from Notre Dame after receiving a full track and field scholarship. Was high school valedictorian.
||Education: Graduated with a BA in Journalism from the University of Oregon in 1986. Won the “Most-Wittiest” award in high school. |
|Believes in God? Catholic.
||Believes in God? Yes.|
|Why he writes: “I don't live to write, I write to live."
||Why he writes: “Mr. Olsen in the fifth grade made me want to be a writer. He said, 'Chuck, you do this really well. And this is much better than setting fires, so keep it up'” |
|Ideas/inspiration: Primarily family events. His characters are motivated by the nobler parts of their character; the belief in honesty, integrity, kindness, bravery and loyalty.
||Ideas/inspiration: All of his characters run some sort of scam--but not for money. They usually have an unorthodox approach to getting their emotional needs met. He also draws inspiration from anything that pisses him off. |
|When does he write? 3-8 hours a day, 5-6 days a week.
||When does he write? No set schedule. His writing philosophy is "sh*! or get off the pot." |
|The movie critics say: “A Walk to Remember is a love story so sweet, sincere and positive that it sneaks past the defenses built up in this age of irony.”—Roger Ebert
||The movie critics say: “Vincent, you see, is a sex addict, and even though Sam Rockwell may not seem like the studliest actor in the world, he is a fast talker, and that’s half the battle….The sex here is cynical, mutually exploitative, uncaring, and often hilarious. It also turned me on a fair bit.” – the L.A. Weekly, on Choke|
|On how his faith influences his writing: “Morality plays a role in everything that I write because morality plays a big role in my life…I refuse to achieve success by going to the lowest common denominator.”
||On researching Snuff, a book about an aging porn star making a comeback: "I attended the casting and production of hundreds of adult films. It's a tough, tiresome job, but I do get to write off the expenses on my tax return. It's no mystery why it burns so bad when I pee." – S.F. Chronicle|
|On the idea of reading to an audience from A Walk to Remember: “I'd read the second to last chapter --- it's the most emotionally poignant.”
||On reading the short story Guts, causing fainting among his audience: “For a nine-page story, some nights it takes thirty minutes to read. In the first half, you're pausing for so much laughter from your audience. In the second half, you're pausing as your audience is revived.” |
|On sharing the caring: Enjoys the challenge the romance genre presents. In recent history, men tend to have written more successfully in this genre than women.
||On sharing the caring: I secretly know my work is very romantic…because my characters CHOOSE not to react in standard, socially appropriate ways -- that does not mean they don't care.” — Bookslut.com|