1. Loaded-Dice

    Loaded-Dice New Member

    Jul 30, 2010
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    Sheffield, England

    Writing a 'film'

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Loaded-Dice, Aug 8, 2010.

    Everytime I read a book, I am either in the bath, or laid in bed. (Steady ladies) Because this is usually at the end of the day, I can really let go of whatever has happened during the day and let my imagination run wild, which greatly enhances the story. The novel is no longer just words on a page, but a full 3D high definition surround sound enabled movie, smellovision included.

    Now, I'm sure lots of people have experienced this, it's what makes novels so great. However, when it comes to writing one, I have trouble doing the reverse. I can see exactly what I want to happen in microscopic detail, I can see the scene changes, the action and the drama just like I'm watching a movie.

    However, as I said, I have trouble turning images into words. Sounds a little weird but I seem to imagine in too much detail, far too much to write in a simple story. I'm getting by, but could use a few tips just to sort of refresh my memory of how other people visualise their novels.

    Also finding it difficult to convey exactly what I mean, so good luck understanding any of this post :p
  2. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Jul 11, 2010
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    Near Los Angeles
    Sounds to me like what you're having trouble with is what's commonly known as "writing".

    That's what it comes down to, isn't it? How to get that amazing experience in your head down onto the page. Every writer of fiction since the dawn of time has struggled with this.

    You're not unique. We all imagine in far more detail than we can get down in words. But that's a good thing. We are depending on the reader's imagination to turn our sentences and paragraphs into that immersive experience you described. And readers have great imaginations. So don't worry about describing the ordinary. If your scene is a room in a house, trust your reader to be able to picture a room in a house. Tell the reader what makes this particular room different from all other rooms in all other houses. Give the reader that interesting and important detail that he's not likely to picture on his own. Don't bother describing each chair, each end-table. Instead, mention that Civil War rifle over the mantlepiece. Mention that portrait of Ulysses S. Grant. Mention that chest against the wall that's just big enough to hold the body of the missing girl.

    Take one of those books you like to read, one that gives you a really vivid movie in your head. See what the writer of that book did - what words did he use to stimulate your imagination so much? What techniques? What details? Study what has worked for other writers, and you'll know what to do yourself.
  3. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
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    Massachusetts, USA
    They are two different media.

    Cinema is visual and auditory, and two dimensional. It is also limited to a less than four hour presentation (approximately). It can truly present mutiple overlapping events, provided they can be fit into the same visual field.

    Novels are linear, but their coverage in presentation time is much less restricted. Visual elements mustbe constructed in the reader's mind with concise data, but nonvisual information is priocessed as easily as visual or auditory data, if not more easily.

    Television is like cinema, except the time restrictions are relaxed. Character development can proceed at a more natural pace in television than in cinema, but the visual and auditory elements are often more restricted for economic reasons.

    Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your medium, and develop your story to best exploit the strengths and to best minimize the impact of the weaknesses.
    If you visualize your story cinematically, it will require a great deal of rethinking to shape it suitably for a novel. Instead of conceiving your novel cinematically, you should instead think of it in terms of character entry, event injection, and scene sequencing.
  4. Northern Phil

    Northern Phil Active Member

    May 29, 2009
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    It sounds like you're trying to put far to much detail into your first draft.

    A good tip to do would be to break the writing down into layers. For the first draft you could just write all the neccessary information, such as the actions and the words that the characters will say. From there you can start to build it up, in the second draft you could add in descriptive langauge and then gradually build it up until it is a novel.

    Try it out on a short story and see what effect it has on the writing process.
  5. Islander

    Islander Contributor Contributor

    Jul 29, 2008
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    Try to capture the feeling of things instead of the details. Describe how the point-of-view character subjectively experiences them.

    Compare these two renderings of the same event:
  6. Elgaisma

    Elgaisma Contributor Contributor

    Jun 12, 2010
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    I find it a lot easier to put all the detail in and then take out what I don't need. I wrote my first draft unfettered with everything I wanted in it, my punctuation was unimportant, the tense all over the place, I switched between third and first person, it was a mess, but my story was out and completed.. my subsequent drafts I have pulled out many scenes, characters have not made it in etc I find it easier writing in first person present tense, as my character is having a conversation with the reader, allows for him to put in asides and add a little more detail.

    Just get your story out of your head onto the page then decide what it is going to be. My very first draft was an action thriller for adults. It lacked something, moving it to another world in another universe has added to the story visually, its given me deviced I wouldn't have had before. The devices then reduced it to a young adult novel, and the decision to tell it from the point of view of a 17 year old boy.

    How you write is so personal, but until you have finished your first draft don't worry too much about content it doesn't matter its for your eyes only and maybe a dedicated reader.
  7. Show

    Show Contributor Contributor

    Jul 25, 2008
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    I picture my novels as a movie all the time. It's how I get stories.
  8. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
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    Coquille, Oregon
    how much do you read?... if you're not reading novels and only seeing movies, then you'll need to read more, to get into a writing mode...

    or you may just want to write screenplays and not novels...
  9. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Jun 13, 2010
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    Queens, NY
    I wrote my first novel picturing it as a film, and I described things in detail to fit the images in my mind. Big mistake. First of all, when I was finished, I hit "word count" and nearly had heart failure when it came up as 420,000 words. But more importantly, much of that extra verbiage was poor writing, leaving too little to the reader's imagination and way too much dialogue.
  10. Mantha Hendrix

    Mantha Hendrix New Member

    May 10, 2010
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    Northern Ireland... the place I've taken for grant
    It's ok to visualize it as a film for plot purposes, when I do so I try not to imagine specifics.

    When it comes to specifics I only write about what the central character will notice. I don't see it as lazy. Some characters will notice more than others.

    That's just me though.

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