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Time to Put On a New Hat

Now that we’ve dived into the concept of cinematic technique with a general overview, we’re going to take a look at some of the “hats” novelists need to wear when adapting film technique to their fiction writing. Writing with cinematic flair requires us to be not just writers but also directors. So take off your writer hat for a minute and put on a director one—you know, that sun visor you see the director wear as he’s looking through the camera eyepiece on the outdoor set of the big studio lot as he thinks how he’s going to shoot the next scene.

Have you ever watched a behind-the-scenes look at how a movie is being filmed, or a TV series? I love watching and listening to Peter Jackson in his many videos detailing the filming of both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit feature films. Jackson does a wonderful job showing the kinds of decisions he has to make as he ponders the shooting of a scene in order to get across the impact, mood, details, and key moments he desires in the final cut. Continue Reading…

Show, Don’t Tell—But How?

Last week I told a brief joke about a man walking into a bar, accompanied by a piece of asphalt. Like most jokes, this one was short and didn’t give much detail. It had no power or punch, no strong feel of action or movement. I doubt you will remember it a month from now. Other than the man walking and talking and nodding, the “scene” was stagnant, with little to stir the imagination or evoke emotion.

Maybe your own writing feels this way to you—often—and you don’t know what to do to make it better. Maybe you’ve read a dozen books on the writing craft and have attended countless workshops at writers’ conferences and you still can’t seem to “get” how to write powerful, evocative scenes that move your readers. Well, if you sometimes feel like strangling, stabbing, or decapitating your novel because of flat, boring, lackluster scenes, you can shoot your novel instead! Continue Reading…

Shoot Your Novel!

This year we are going to explore writing technique that is rarely, if ever, discussed or taught at writing workshops or by writing instructors, and that’s utilizing cinematic technique in fiction writing. A few well-known teachers on occasion make mention of the need to show scenes in real time or have characters acting in the present moment, but I’ve yet to come across any who delve into the nuts and bolts of filming a story in segments using camera shots to achieve specific results. Continue Reading…

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