We often see people using movies as reference sources when trying to puzzle out novel writing. There was recently a link to a Writer's Digest article (http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/4-approaches-for-the-first-chapter-of-your-novel) in which the writer used movies to illustrate ways to start a novel. His explanation was that "I often use film and television examples when I teach because they illustrate so perfectly the concepts of storytelling and are so universal." I agree that movies are more universal than novels (ie. it's more likely that everyone in the discussion will have at least a general knowledge of Pirates of the Caribbean than that they'll have similar familiarity with Treasure Island) but I seriously question the idea that they perfectly illustrate storytelling concepts. That is, I think they do a good job of illustrating movie storytelling, but I really don't think they're a good parallel for novel writing. One of the movies mentioned in the article was Juno. I think the original opening sequence for that movie is at (always hard to be sure with YouTube what's been adulterated by users and what hasn't, but this matches what I remember of seeing the film in the theatre). It's a lovely opening sequence for a movie. There's peppy music, some interesting graphics, some dynamic visuals, an idea of the main character's body language and physical attitude... it's fine. I don't love it, but I can sit through it. But the same opening in a novel? To start with, it'd be impossible. If we accept the idea that a picture is worth a thousand words, we'd be at maximum word count just trying to describe this one sequence. So, okay, don't take the advice so literally, we'd really just write about the main happenings. But what the hell is the main happening, here? A girl walks through town, drinking orange juice, then goes into a store. How would we write that in a way that would make someone want to keep reading? Without the music and the graphics and the rest, what is there to make readers care? Honestly, I'd say that, music aside, the Juno opening is more like the cover of a book (graphic text, visuals, general idea of main character's appearance) rather than a good opening scene. And I felt like most of his other examples were similarly problematic. In my opinion, comparing books to movies ignores the different strengths and weaknesses of each medium. Trying to translate the sound and visuals of movies to books doesn't make sense. Movie directors have better control over pacing (the audience isn't likely to skim parts of a movie), etc. And I don't think there's really any way to bring the thoughtfulness and depth of a book to the movie screen effectively. Not that good movies can't be made from books, but they're different from the books, for sure. Does this make sense to you guys? Are there times when it is a useful tool to reference movies while discussing how to write novels?