A Movie

I don’t know about you, but when I write, it’s like I’m watching a movie.

This is how it works:

I plot out the big events – in some cases, I name the chapters, or at the very least I jot a note on a plot line.  For example, “Twyla joins forces with ….” and so on.  Then I know what kind of movement needs to happen.  But everything in between?  I don’t know what’s going to be until it comes out of my fingertips and onto the screen.

Then, I get writing.  I go back over the manuscript weekly, and jot down potential “seeds” that I may not have realized while writing them.  Of course, I have a list of pre-planned seeds as well.  I read somewhere about seeds – the idea of putting something in place as a way of foreshadowing.  There are items and actions that I write without realizing that they are seeds at all, until I check my list and realize that it only makes sense to use them.  Otherwise, they’re gone during the revision.

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Then, I write.  I watch the movie, hardly looking at the words on the screen.  It’s almost as if I’m watching the movie happening behind the words.  I can see the characters – no, the people.  I can smell the environment.  I can feel the world around them.  I can imagine each camera angle, each slow zoom or sudden pang of dramatic music.  It’s all there.

At the same time, it feels like I’m reading.  Only, when I read, I rarely have as much fun.  Don’t get me wrong – I love to read – but writing is like reading your own “Choose Your Own Ending” story – the kind I would read as a kid, when Goosebumps first released them and I could read the same book for months, there were so many possible endings.

When I reach a fork in the road with writing, I have to decide which way to turn.  I sit back and watch the screen – the imaginary one in my brain.  Then, I write the path that felt the most natural, the one that made the best movie.

I could blame this all on my bachelor’s degree – Radio & Television Arts (focus on video production) from Ryerson University (Toronto, Canada).  Or I could blame it on my fiancee, who loves watching movies almost as much as she loves me (maybe more, who knows?!).  I could just blame it on my very visual learning style.  In the end, it doesn’t matter.  I love my movies, even if they are only in my head (until I sell the manuscript and then it’s optioned for the big screen, that is …).

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I even infect my students with this movie business. Last week, we watched “The Last Mimzy” to help us see the flow of story writing. It is so much simpler to SEE a story than it is for some of us to SAY a story.

 

 
My writer’s notebook – where my seeds are planted and the big events are planned.

How do you write?

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