Monday, January 9, 2012

Think Bigger

Okay, so dude, I went to see Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol a week or so ago. And not only was it a fast-paced thriller (just what I like to see), but it taught me a thing or two about writing.

Or at least the kind of writing I want to do.

I need to think bigger--and I'm not talking like Imax bigger, though I did see the movie in Imax.

No, I'm talking THINKING BIGGER. More outside the box. More impossible.

As an author who has a book out and one on the way and hopefully the third the year after that, searching for and finding that next idea (that next series) is stressful and difficult. There are all kinds of worries and variables.

Everything feels too small.

And now that I've seen Mission Impossible, I know why.

I need to think bigger.

Have you seen MI? Or another movie that shifted how you look at your writing? Which one?

49 comments:

Misha Gericke said...

I actually still want to see the new MI.

I can't really think of a single movie that made me think bigger, but there's something about the big screen that inspires me to do so.

:-)

Laura Pauling said...

I haven't recently but I love when movies make me do that. Everything Donald Maass preaches - Go Big!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I haven't seen MI but sometimes watching a movie reminds me that my stories need to be more dramatic and less talk.

Sarah said...

I rarely see movies, but I did see this one! I totally agree with you. I'm struggling to do this with my own writing and storytelling right now, but it's difficult. I keep thinking, "What if I get my characters into a situation and I don't know how to get them out?" Sigh. I need to get over that.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That was one of the best movies of 2011!
I'm thinking bigger for my third book, adjusting the outline to encompass more. Ironically, I went a little smaller with the second, but so far it seems to have paid off.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I was watching We Bought a Zoo the other day (loved it) and thought the same thing. Everything was about going big.

Geez, will I ever be able to watch movies the same way again? I always seem to be analyzing them. :P

How was MI? I'm not a big Tom Cruise fan. Will I still enjoy it (I do enjoy thrillers!)

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Interesting. You're not the first writer who has recently compared Mission Impossible to writing - it must have really had an impact on a lot of people. I have never been a huge MI fan, but you guys are convincing me to go see it LOL.

I agree with you - it's hard to think outside of the box and to "think big". . . but you can:) I have faith!

Matthew MacNish said...

I haven't seen it, but I want to, even if only for the Burj Khalifa scenes.

Journaling Woman said...

I want to see it, but haven't yet. I agree that good (and bad) movies can teach us about writing.

Teresa

LM Preston said...

Shoot for the stars and if you land among the clouds you've accomplished more than half of your goals.

Heather Sunseri said...

I had similar thoughts when I saw MI, Elana. When I decided to make the switch to write young adult, I decided I had to go big. If I truly wanted to break into this crazy industry, I couldn't think small, I had to make unbelievable believable, you know? I think YA readers are the most exciting group of people to write for because they want that too!! They want writers to stretch their minds.

Christine Fonseca said...

You know me - everything influences how I view things - movies, books, etc. And yes - I am THRILLED you are going bigger!

Creepy Query Girl said...

haven't seen it yet but I've heard good things about it. I agree with the need to 'think bigger'. It feels like everything and its mother has already been done on some scale. The challenge is to not only find an idea with a hook but be able to present it in a way that's never been done before and will blow some minds. No problem. Really. lol.

Slamdunk said...

No, I have not seen it.

I love listening to folks like you who are passionate about something. You find inspiration and learning opportunities in every experience. Keep up the good work Elana.

Deana said...

Oh man, I went to see it this weekend too and I thought the exact same thing. When I write, sometimes I get stuck in this whole, "Well, that wouldn't really happen." But, hey, we're writing, so why the heck not! I loved that movie! And the inspiration it gave me:)

Wendy Paine Miller said...

So many movies have done this for me. Crash. The Truman Show. My husband and I have been going through all six of the Swedish version of The Girl w/ the Dragon... and Lisbeth's character has challenged me to think bigger.

Great post.
~ Wendy

salarsenッ said...

Thinking bigger is always a challenge for me. I'm too worried about being accepted, or something. I need to get out of that mode and write on a whim without a care. I believe that's called letting go.

ilima said...

My hands are still sweating from the glass building scene. I would love to make that kind of impression on my readers. *thinking bigger*

Angela Brown said...

That movie is a must see...just not sure if it will happen as soon as I'd like.

Thinking bigger with writing is cool. It's usually the mind bender movies, like The Fountain, that make me really ponder about thinks beyond what's within the safety of the box.

Emily said...

I haven't seen it yet. It's true, though, I find myself analyzing movies and tv shows all the time now. Thinking what works and what doesn't work as a story.

If I really like something, I wonder why and then try to emulate that in my own stories.

I like thinking bigger. Nice.

Meredith said...

That's such a good goal! Thinking bigger has always been a challenge for me. I'll have to go see MI and get inspired now!

Colene Murphy said...

Oooh! How exciting! Can't wait to see what you come up with!

SHANNON O'DONNELL said...

I want to see it but haven't yet. The book ASHES by Ilsa Bick made me realize I need to change the way I think about writing.

Krispy said...

I totally know what you mean, but I can't think of anything at the moment that really gave me an aha! moment.

Do agree that this MI movie was good. I had no interest in seeing it when it first came out, but then I started hearing about how good it was. It lived up to the hype. :)

Talli Roland said...

I hear you on the search for ideas. Lately everything I come up seems small. Maybe I need to see MI. Or maybe not. :)

Melanie Stanford said...

I just saw it on the weekend and thought it was great. Loved how Ethan kept getting beat up (and smacked on the head) but not how he never seemed to show any injuries. ???

Jennifer Hoffine said...

Ideas that seem small at first can sometimes fester then burst into something bigger...that's happened to me before.

Jennifer Hoffine said...

Yuck. I just realized my previous comment sounds more like a rash than a story idea...For a story idea it's agood thing...really!

David P. King said...

That's exactly how I think every day. :)

Cherie Reich said...

I've heard good things about the new MI movie. That's a good idea to think bigger as well. Personally, I would love to be able to write something like Inception. It's such an awesome and complicated movie. It'd be hard to translate something like that into words.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I seriously need to see that movie!!

And I can't wait to see what your new BIG idea will be! #awesome

REINHARDT! said...

Movies often do that for me, especially ones that start with a ludicrous premise and carry it on through like a freight train. Movies like Fight Club, Inception, and Adaptation make me scramble in my seat, hunting for a pen and paper to jot down the flood of ideas that invade my brain.

I agree with you wholeheartedly on thinking big. We all can do it. It's more a matter of finding the way to defeat those things within us that keep us thinking small.

Karen Lange said...

Haven't seen it, wondered if it was any good. Great way to ponder and brainstorm. Wish you well with thinking big! :)

Amber Argyle, author said...

I kinda have the opposite problem. I have so many story ideas it's hard to choose one.

Tere Kirkland said...

I'm kind of thinking the same thing about my own work, which is part of the reason I've stalled on the wip. Again. I just kept imagining this story as bigger, faster-paced, more exciting, but it keeps slowing down on me. Just need to get it finished and go back to fix things. *sigh*

Good luck, Elana!

L.T. Elliot said...

I haven't seen it but the hubs really wants to so we'll be date-nighting it up, soon.

I'm seven kinds of intrigued by the "thinking bigger" epiphany you had. I could use some of those!

lexcade said...

Black Swan changed my life.

The novel I'm trying to sell deals with a main character whose mind is split into two--a human side and an animal side. As I watched Nina's descent into madness and watched her deal with HER two halves, it got my wheels turning and made my manuscript even stronger.

The other movie (also directed by Aronofsky) that changed my life was The Fountain. It's a perfect movie. Indescribably perfect, to be honest. I went on a writing bender for 3 days after the last time I watched it. It's emotional, it's spiritual, it's an incredible experience handled so perfectly that it's mind-blowing.

Oh dear. I might have raised expectations too far... Still, watch it. Hugh Jackman's best non-Wolverine performance ever.

Jemi Fraser said...

I've had troubles with going big. Still learning that one! :)

Nicole Zoltack said...

LOL It's so funny that you posted this today because last night as I was working on my WIP, I was thinking about how to make things more impossible for my characters. I'm such a devious author. ;)

Angie said...

I have to remind myself to do that all the time. But when I do, that's when I fall in love with my story all over again.

Peggy Eddleman said...

I always think I need to think bigger! It's one of my goals as a writer, actually.

I haven't seen the latest MI, but there was one other thing I learned from the last one. Give breathers. It's a little hard to go through an entire story at full speed. It needs to have a slower moment or two, strategically placed, just to give the person a chance to take a breath!

Jade said...

Hey Elana,
Congrats on your book - that's wicked.
I haven't seen MI yet, but planning on going. I can't say a movie has made me think bigger but my own muse made me! I had an idea a few weeks ago that i thought, no, too complicated... too indepth. It could get completely out of control. But it wouldn't leave me alone, so I'm 26,000 words in and loving it. The twists and turns are fast paced and BIG. However, I'm yet to find out if it makes any sense to anyone else but me! :)
Look forward to following you!

Anita Saxena said...

MI4 was hands down one of the most intense movies I've ever seen. Talk about tension and suspense! My mom said I jumped in my seat several times.

Overdue said...

Haven't seen it, don't want to. I think I'm heading the opposite direction. The books and movies I love are about really small things and small incidents. And I've started writing about really small stuff. In fact, now that I think about it, my last story was about bugs. Not 'sssh, the place is bugged!' bugs. Creepy crawly bugs.
Maybe I should go see the movie.

Jennifer said...

That is a great idea! As a reader I love to read about things that are probably not possible. I get enough reality in my real life.

Theresa Milstein said...

Glad you were inspired. Alice in Wonderland from a couple of years ago did that to me, too. And I just saw Midnight in Paris, which I know is going to impact my writing. I just haven't figured out how.

(Did you see it? Excellent movie.)

Kelly Polark said...

I won't see MI. I'm not a huge fan of Tom Cruise.
But I do like fast paced writing. I think you did a fine job of keeping things exciting and unexpected in Possession. Carrie Ryan also keeps your heart pumping in her zombie books as did Shelli's Untraceable!

June G said...

This post is why I love you, Elana. I'm not even published yet and I do obsess over what to write next. I totally get where you're coming from. I've been inspired by movies too. I'm not always sure how to translate that action into words, though! :-)

Jenna Blake Morris said...

I haven't seen any of the MI movies, but it always seems to be character arcs that hit me in movies. Especially every once in a while when those Special characters crop up, which is never often enough.

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