1. lhjfoster
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    lhjfoster New Member

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    picturing my books as films during planning, good technique or not?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by lhjfoster, Aug 2, 2013.

    Hi guys,

    I have never written a book before and had never really thought about it until recently as I have opened it up as another possible career path. I have four ideas for stories but I'm not really sure on how to write them. I am currently planning my first one, and keep picturing it as a film as this way I feel like I can connect with starting off a good story. Is this a good technique or should I really be writing a script for a film instead? Plus has anyone got any template's that I could follow to write a proper book as like I said, I have never thought about writing a book before.

    Thanks,

    lhjfoster
     
  2. Southpaw2380
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    Southpaw2380 Member

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    For your first question, personally I do the same from time to time in an effort to really see what I'm writing. It's not constant for the way I write, however it certainly is a great way to get yourself into the scene. A lot of writers (myself included) will mime different things while writing to really get the description correct and feel the part out. As most people will probably tell you, it all comes down to what feels right for you and your writing process.

    As far as templates, I don't have any nor am I really aware of a template that you'd want to use. Writing a book is all about your own process. I would advise against writing in a template format that tells you how long this chapter should be or where this should happen. That said, there are programs that you can purchase in order to help you better organize your work and such.

    Hope that helps,

    ~~SP
     
  3. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I and KaTrian do this all the time. We even have soundtracks picked for certain scenes (songs off of the playlists we listen to while writing those particular stories / scenes). Sometimes we draw certain scenes to better visualize them, sometimes we act them out. The former we do mostly with scenes involving group battle tactics, the latter we do usually only with fight scenes to ensure that they're realistic. But yeah, I've pictured the opening scenes (while credits and music are still rolling), the endings, camera angles etc. These particular things are mostly just for fun, though; I thoroughly enjoy visualizing our stories, but I usually only do this when I can't write, i.e. while I'm on a train, in the grocery store etc.

    My advice is, visualize your stories if it helps you write. If it gets in the way, don't do it or do it when you can't write so you don't waste your precious writing time on it. Also, if you want to write a screenplay, go ahead, of course. Just don't do so simply because you like visualizing your stories while you'd still prefer writing an actual book.


    What the man said. Let the words flow and focus on formatting and editing later. Sure, some edit while they write, but that doesn't work for everybody. Experiment with both methods and see which works best for you. The trick is not to get caught up in all the little technical aspects, important as they are, but to learn to use them as tools that help the actual writing process, because the most important thing is the material you produce; correct formatting, perfect grammar, diverse syntax, knowledge about your subject matter, they're all great tools, but without the actual story, they do you little good in regards of writing fiction.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    IMHO, you should definitely not put the cart before the horse. It's like planning your rock star wardrobe before you've learned to play the guitar and joined a band.

    OTOH, I imagine my story actually occurring as I plan and write it. My characters talk out loud (usually when I'm walking my dogs in the park) and that helps me see things they would not have said or done and things they would say and do.

    So if you are just talking about imaging your stories then if that style fits, use it. But if you are planning the movie version before you've written the book, that's probably not going to be very helpful.

    You need to start writing then start the long arduous process of learning how to actually put those stories down in print.
     
  5. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I even have the cast set for my Hollywood blockbuster!
     
  6. Robin Murarka
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    Robin Murarka Member

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    Bridging the gap between visualizing scenes and just describing them to writing them in a literary sense is not all that difficult once you train your mind to write in highly descriptive and cohesive manners. In fact, it's more about seeing everything in the scene. When you watch a movie you feel the floor, the wind, the sound of breathing. You don't notice these things as they become part of the experience. Describing them in a literary manner transforms the scene into a story. Nothing wrong with that at all.
     
  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, I think this is true, but there are pitfalls as well.

    It's been said that the big difference between books and movies is that in a movie everything is either seen or heard. Dialogue is all-important.

    Someone watching a film will not be able to get inside a character's head the way they can if they are reading a book. They won't be able to smell anything, or feel hot or cold or pain or sorrow or love. They won't directly experience inner thoughts and emotions. They won't know how someone's past affects their present, unless this past has been shown in some detail beforehand. Subtle connections are harder to make.

    The filmmaker and screenwriter can only show a character physically doing something within a scene, and hope that the actors, screenplay and juxtaposition of events are good enough to convey the necessary emotion, thought, etc.

    It's great to be able to visualise your story happening as if it were a film, but if all you do is describe what the characters look like and what they're do 'on stage' you do risk creating a dull infodump of a book.

    A writer has more tools in the box than a filmmaker does, in my opinion. Also, a writer has total control of the story, while a filmmaker has to deal with actors, producers, budgets, setting problems, weather problems, etc. Personally I love movies, but I'd rather write (and read) a book. For me it's a richer and more personal experience.

    ...............

    The other side of the coin is very good, though. If you can visualise your story as if it were a movie, you're less likely to make silly mistakes, like having a character walk in through a door that doesn't exist! And if you can picture a setting or character very vividly in your head, it certainly helps to bring them to life on the page.
     
  8. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I agree. There's an interesting exception, though, where dialogue is omitted in favor of expressions/looks, namely in Corto Maltese, both the comics and the animated films. One of the notable characteristics of Hugo Pratt's work was his ability to convey a lot of meaning through subtle expressions without any dialogue. For instance, there might be a few consecutive panels in a comic or a scene in a film where two characters would just exchange long looks and it would be almost like you could read their thoughts even though the expressions weren't blatant. Corto Maltese: La Cour secrète des Arcanes is a good example.
     
  9. Robin Murarka
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    Robin Murarka Member

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    I don't actually thing it's a distinction. Just as you would describe the visual nature of a window, or light, you describe the nature of an action or thought. If you have a story, it is "visual" in the sense that events occur just as they do in real life. An individual thinks or an individual acts. So like the details of the window, such as where it came from, when it was made, and where it will be in a thousand years, there are details about an individual we can tap into using words rather than visualizations.

    In a sense, film is more difficult because you cannot manifest the correct feeling or emotion or vibe all the time. With writing, you can, because it is specific to the nature of the words. But then on the other hand when it comes to film, a lot of the mood or emotion can be derived from objects or people that you did not create. In writing, if you don't create it, it does not exist.
     
  10. Steve Day
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    Steve Day Senior Member

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    "The book was better."
    That is often heard when fiction is translated to film.

    As jannert says,
    "A writer has more tools in the box than a filmmaker does"

    Films are 'made' by committee- writer, director, actor, director of photography, sound, yada yada. They all have to be good at their job to make a great film. "Lawrence of Arabia" would not be the film it is without the DP and the (then new) 70MM format. On TV it totally loses is grandeur.

    I am a visual writer, 'seeing' the scene, then describing it- but just the necessary parts. Most fiction is about people, about what they say and do, not what they look like.
     
  11. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    My first attempt at a novel was written this way. The first draft was over 400,000 words (this was back when I was using WordPerfect, and one had to hit an F-key to see word count; I didn't even think about it until I was finished). It had way too much dialogue. A great deal was over-described with way too little being left to the reader's imagination. This last may be the most important distinction, because in film, very little is left to the reader's imagination - everything is there on the screen.

    In other words, it was less of a novel and more of a novelization (and I've never read a good one of those).
     

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