May 30, 2009
A LETTER FROM THE AUTHOR OF DOÑA BARBARA
I've written before about the distance between the public's perceptions about a telenovela and what really happens in the show's creative process. In particular, there is considerable distance between what the audience knows about the writing process and what actually happens in the mind and soul of telenovela writers.
Today I bring a document that bridges the latter distance in a significant way. This document is a window in to the mind (and heart) of the writer who tackled the very difficult job of transforming the Venezuelan classic literary novel Doña Bárbara (Rómulo Gallegos) into telenovela format: Valentina Párraga. This Telemundo telenovela polarized its audience members, who were vocal in their positions regarding the main love story triangle of Doña Bárbara-Santos-Marisela.
After the telenovela's last episode was broadcast, Valentina wrote me a letter where she reflects on her journey writing Doña Bárbara. It's an honest analysis that illuminates the effort behind writing a telenovela and the ever-present tensions between the genre's commercial and creative requirements. Generously, Valentina has agreed that I share her letter with my blog readers. You can read it in Spanish or in English. And, then, let the conversation start in the comments section of this blog!