Friday, August 26, 2011

Why I Wish Writing Were More Like Movies

Okay, so it's no secret that I'm a lover of movies, and relating things I see in movies to writing, and yeah. Well, strap yourselves in for another comparison. I guess this might be more of a complaint, actually.

So think of your favorite movie. It could also be an hour-long drama/comedy on TV. Got it in your head?

Think of the beginning. Then think about half-way through. There are two things that I really, really, REALLY wish I could do in my writing.

1. The voice-over beginning. I'd love to simply voice over the first five pages of my MS to fill in the readers on exactly how my world came to be, and the hierarchy that exists, and who the good guy is, and who the bad guy is.

Think of how many words you could save! In fact, it would be great if a recording began as soon as a reader opened the book, sort of like those greeting cards that play music when you open them.

2. The musical montage. About halfway through every good movie comes the musical montage. You know. The part where a catchy song plays and time is advanced, and the two MC's fall in love, and everything is hunky dory and la-la-la.

In Baywatch, this is where all the running on the beach happens. Ha!

I would basically kill to be able to skip these middle chapters where my MC's spend all this time together getting to know each other and falling in love, and winter becomes spring and spring becomes summer and then bam! The next bad thing can happen.

Maybe in books, when the reader gets to page 250, there can be a CD or something. The reader can listen to it before turning to the next page and continuing the story.

Yeah, I definitely need a voice-over beginning and a musical montage middle.

What aspect of movies would you like to implant into your novel? (And it can't be an actor. Ha!)

28 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'd love to have a movie trailer as the description because they so entice us to want to see the movie. And they don't have to use complete sentences. Great ideas. But sorry, you must that all out.

Anna Banks said...

You know how movies have a song for to set the mood for each part? Like, in the beginning there's an anticipation-type melody, then there's the character's every day life song, then there's the danger song, etc? I write to a soundtrack that I make for my book. I wish somehow while the reader is on the certain pages for each scene, they could be listening to the song I wrote to, to set the mood.

Wow, that was a lot of babble. THAT my friends, is me without coffee. :)

Heather Kelly said...

I love Anna's response about the soundtrack--ditto for me.

Although, Elana, I don't see why books can't go this direction, at least electronically. There's no reason why there can't be visual and musical effects. In the near future that is! So, don't let these desires go--write them out. What would that voice over say in the beginning?

Randy said...

I actually like world building. However, I would love to be able to embed mood music into my stories. That would really take novels to the next level. Maybe you should release the first ever - book with music.

Wendy G. Ewurum said...

I'm really trying to ampathise but failing miserably Elana because without all that slaving away you gotta do to bring it all together we wouldn't be able to create out own movies in our heards over and over again. Which is sooooo much better than TV that does all the work for you and you watching just regurgitating someone's interpretation of the original movie (the book). That's like hearing the story from the third, forth of fifth person.http://fabulosityreads.blogspot.com/

Katya said...

You know how there is always this silent moment when the camera zooms in on a single image, which is totally mundane and yet very significant? Yeah, I wish I could do that in a book, only problem is that you can't do it without telling. And the mantra is show, don't tell. *sigh*

Oh, and the soundtrack. Layers and layers in the story, and yet we're unable to use it.

Isis Rushdan said...

Wouldn't we all kill for a movie quality trailer to help sell our books?

Definitely vote for soundtrack. I also write to music. It'd be great to have a musical score for the action scenes in my book as well as the black moment.

And a couple of scenes in slow motion: when hero and heroine first meet and as the black moment unravels. Geez, think that's quite enough.

Cynthia Lee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cynthia Lee said...

I need a montage in real life so that I can finish up my WIP.

I know that's not what you asked but that's what popped into my head. :)

Kelly said...

Definitely the music!! And the popcorn. :)

John Waverly said...

Elana, you got me thinking. Books used to have the voice-over thing, it's now called an info dump.

As for the montage, that might be possible. Maybe as snippets of journal entries or several short chapters. It would make an interesting writing prompt if nothing else.

John Sankovich said...

I'm coming from a different perspective as I used to write movies before novels.

There are reasons they have to use those techniques in movies is because they only have 120 pages to fill with story and sometimes they won't have time to fill in the backstory very well, so they have the voiceover, which is weak imo.

The montage is also used to showing a passage of time generally of similar things, such as the Rocky work out scenes in all his movies. They are both wonderful techniques if used correctly, but novels are great for other reasons.

Novels allow you to explore the intricacies of your characters, go into their head, detail all the nuances of their life. Screenplays have to depend on the actor showing these nuances and are usually came up with by the actor, not the writer. Also, there is no way you can get as in depth with the character's because a rule in movies is: "if the audience can't see it, or hear it, then you don't write it." Makes it hard to develop character by only using dialog and action sometimes.

However, if I could use one thing from movies in my books it would be a musical score. Something really help set the mood you are going for in a certain scene. Oh an having a movie trailer for my book would be even more awesome instead of a query letter. I wonder when agents will start to accept those. :)

Christine Fonseca said...

Haha! Love this

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

lol. YES! Or how about a little button on the page that the reader pushes and it plays the appropriate song for that scene?

I think it's totally doable.

Carrie said...

I feel like I'd like an awesome soundtrack. I realize I can listen to a play list or include music other ways but sometimes I want a soundtrack. Sometimes I'd like a big musical production number as well.

mshatch said...

I would definitely like to have a theme song for each of my characters - you know, like in star wars. I mean, if I say Darth Vader you know exactly what music I'm talking about, right? Of course, I do sometimes pick out favorite songs for my characters but it would be fun to be able to share them with my readers :)

Mel Fowler said...

I agree with you, books need music. It would be amazing to the story. With music you could capture the ture emotion of your stroy.

Music is amazing!

Carolyn V said...

That would be awesome to have music in books! It would make it so much more awesome!

Marsha Sigman said...

I agree with your ideas! But I also like Anna's about the soundtrack. It builds suspense and I have to admit without a sad song playing in the background...I might not have sobbed during many a movie.

I would like to point out if you have read the Twilight series, Meyer totally cheats in New Moon with pages listing the months as they pass. I say this but I am also totally jealous she got away with it.

Melanie Stanford said...

I wish I could have pictures instead of having to describe what I'm trying to say. Like instead of "the house looked like blah blah blah", just look at this picture.

On the other hand, I wouldn't use the movie montage because those are my favorite chapters to write where the main characters are getting to know each other.

Krispy said...

OMG, I just want the sweeping visuals of landscape and all that because it effectively and efficiently shows 1) the setting and 2) travel. Goodness how I hate describing travel. -__-'

Also, all those subtle non-verbal cues and communications that can happen between characters? So much easier to show in a movie!

Jenna Blake Morris said...

I love/am jealous of how a movie can show much in a few seconds, when it can take so many words to convey the same thing in print.

I'm loving your voice-over idea, by the way!

Carolin said...

Oh god, yes. Can I have the middle music montage, please? Writing the middle of a book is my nemesis. This would solve so many problems! You are a genius, Elana. Ha!

Lola X said...

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Ishta Mercurio said...

"In Baywatch this is where all the running on the beach happens." LOLOLOLOL! Holy kumquats, Elana, that was hilarious! I'd forgotten all about that show.

You know, thinking about voiceovers, isn't a good novel in first person POV pretty much that? Voiceover by the MC, interspersed by dialogue? I wonder if first person POV uses more dialogue than third person, while third person uses more description... I think that's the way it probably is, anyway.

Hmm. I think I'd like to put in a soundtrack - a theme song for the beginning, and then mood music throughout the book to set the tone. That would be fun.

posts said...

Just the other day I considered adding a voice over to my book. Like seriously. And I always want a montage. I'd also love to create scenes from the "killer's POV". I don't want to be IN his head and listen to his thoughts, cause then a lot is given away. I want to see my MC through his eyes. Watch her run, scream, hide. Have her stare at him and say, "Why me?" LOL

Leslie Rose said...

I want to add the love song over the end credits, which usually isn't a stylistic match to the movie - just a cool song.

Brenna Braaten said...

Sometimes I really really really want music. For instance: In Stardust the movie there is this great part where our hero is trying to run and catch a coach. He's running through the woods trying to make it on time and the music is swelling dramatically until ... he slams into the side of the coach, knocking him to the ground hilariously. This is only a movie moment. It's not in the book because it wouldn't have worked the same without the movie and that added drama. A lot of people forget how important music is to a movie or drama, but I always notice it. It completely sets the tone of the situation. In books, authors have to work so much harder to set that tone.

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