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Finding a Place for a Daydream

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And now, let’s get into our last blog post in our Shoot Your Novel course!

Last week we started talking about movies that play in our heads. For some of us, perhaps, much of our life is spent envisioning the future and all its “what ifs” or replaying like a broken movie reel the troubled or glorified days of our past. And because we want the characters in our novels to seem as real and believable as possible, they can daydream too. By creating a kind of movie playing in a character’s head, it can emulate in a way what we do perhaps daily, without even noticing.

Daydreaming Is a Part of Life

I imagine if we really paid attention, we’d see how we spend numerous hours of each day imagining ourselves in scenes—whether events that have happened to us or imaginary ones, like the one Goldman created for his character Levy in the novel Marathon Man, which we looked at last week. Novelists often go deep into POV, showing their character thinking about things and reacting to what is happening in the present scene.

Using deep POV is not only common but considered the way great novels are now mostly written. However, often these internalized thoughts and responses, although frequently effective, are not cinematic. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Continue Reading…

Movies that Play in our Characters’ Heads

In novels, we are almost always in our characters’ heads. An entire story is told from the viewpoints of the various characters, colored by how they perceive and experience their world and the story that unfolds in the plot. In real life, we spend a lot of time thinking. Often—sometimes more than often—we spend immersed in imaging. We imagine our futures: what our future spouse might be like, what our dream job might entail, what the future might hold in every which way. Every great achievement and invention in history began as an idea or dream in someone’s head. “Dreaming” like this is common to everyone and a large part of life and who we are. Continue Reading…

The Sound of . . . Sound in Novels

Sound may not be something writers pay much attention to when they work on their novels. Of course, there usually is a significant amount of dialog, and there may occasionally be found a noise shown in the scene, such as a branch cracking underfoot, the whoosh of an arrow zipping by, or the hiss of a snake. But other than the obvious, basic sounds, novelists don’t usually think much about this sensory element. But by looking at some of the ways filmmakers deal with sound, we can see many possibilites of how writers might enrich their books with this often-ignored component.

In the book Cinematic Storytelling by Jennifer Van Sijll, we read this about sound: “Sound effects are as much the purview of the writer as are visual symbols . . . Sound effects can also suggest an extended aural metaphor. They can add layers to a film that are hard to achieve in other ways. Sound effects can be obvious or quite subtle. They can intentionally draw attention to themselves or manipulate with stealth. They can expose, disguise, suggest, establish, or reveal.” Continue Reading…

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