What We Can Learn: Movies

Hi guys! Sorry I missed last week. Today, I’ll be starting a series called What We Can Learn. This will focus on what we as writers can get out of other people’s work. Today we’ll be looking at the value of movies.

1. Description and Language. Okay, I hope I’m not the only one who sort of “narrates” movies in my head as they play on the screen. You know, think things like “so-and-so collapsed on the stone floor and so-and-so threw herself down beside him,” etc. If you start thinking like this during movies, you’ll realize that there is SO much you can say, so many rich images, so many “cool” ways you can put what you’re seeing into words. It’s interesting how sometimes, the camera focuses on the smallest details, things that we maybe wouldn’t think to add to our descriptions. Use movies to help you describe images and action, to help hone your language skills. Watch a clip, and then pause it and try to describe what you just saw in words, being as precise and detailed as possible. Movies can also be helpful for describing certain things we likely wouldn’t see in real life, like explosions, wounds, certain types of terrain, etc.

2. Scenes. The next time you watch a movie, pay attention to the different scenes. Where they start, where they end, how they’re laid out in relation to each other. A technique I’ve heard of is to bring the reader into the scene late and take them out early (thank you goteenwriters.com). Pay attention to this in movies.
โ€‹Another thing movies can show us is which scenes are necessary to the story and which are not. Watch a movie that has deleted scenes included on the disk. Try to decide why the scene was deleted. Do you think it should have been left in? Did the plot or characters suffer because it was deleted, or were they better off for it? A good example is the deleted scene on the disk of Captain America: The Winter Soldier (I’m sort of a Marvel geek if you couldn’t tell). I won’t give spoilers, but to me, the deleted scene was deleted for a good reason. It was just another, very fleeting burst of action that didn’t need to be there. Nothing overly vital came out of it, and the action moved on without it just fine. See what you can learn from various movies’ deleted scenes.

Well, that’s all for today! What other aspects of movies could help us as writers?



4 thoughts on “What We Can Learn: Movies

  1. Very good post. And no, you are not the only person who watches movies and narrates what is happening in her head, though, I only do that sometimes with scenes that have no dialogue. ๐Ÿ˜›

  2. I love imagining my books as movies. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I try and take note of dialogue too! Like movie character barely EVER just sit down and have a conversation…there’s always action beats and people doing things while they talk and interruptions and back-ground-noise. That needs to get into books too. Great tips, too!!
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

    • Thanks! And good point about dialogue. There is usually a lot going on when people talk.
      Of course! I love your posts Cait ๐Ÿ™‚

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