I’m a big movie fan and even though the price of going to the movies have become a little too much for my purse strings, Netflix is my lifeline and I spend most of my time watching that then regular TV. As a writer, I’ve taken a lot from the craft of a making a really good movie to apply to my writing. I’ve read on many of the blogs a writer can learn a lot from screenwriting, so movies should be any different right?
Watching a ridiculous amount of movies has taught me to:
Not To Over-do it with Setting Description
This is super important for me, because in fantasy writing worldbuilding is key. However, could you imagine a director spending a good 15 minutes analyzing every single thing in a room or every single house on a street? You would be bored to death! Instead, they focus on key room in a house , a particular building, or a specific item. You know that when he does that, that room, building, and/or object is super important to the story and therefore you’ll remember it. If it didn’t serve a purpose, he wouldn’t waste his time. I try to remember that in my writing when I’m describing my world and making sure my descriptions are significant and directly relevant to the story.
How to Show and Not Tell in Dialogue
Does a character in a movie flat out tell another one in a scene every single thing he’s feeling? Probably not! She is engaging in dialogue that is moving the story along while showing how’s she’s feeling. If her face is flushed, her eyes squinted, or even throwing a glass vase at her boyfriends head, you have a pretty good idea she’s mad. The same concept applies to dialogue. Instead of a main character telling someone, “I am angry that you lied,” she would simply say, “You lied!” as she crosses her arms and pouts. The reader still gets the information they need to know, while showing the character doing something that shows his/her mood.
How to Write Action Scenes
Writing action scenes can be really challenging, especially when trying to find the words to describe a sword fighting scene or an epic battle. So to get over that hurdle, I sat down and watched my favorite movies with awesome fight scenes like LOTR, Gladiator, and 300 to get an idea of how the action takes place, while writing down movements, adjectives, and body positions that I saw. With that I was able to go back and right effective (and believable!) action scenes.
Are you a big movie buff? Has watching movies helped you with your writing?