Lights, Camera, Action… (from my Patreon page)

Yes, when I write my stories, I actually visualize them as a movie.  I work on scenes like a movie director by thinking whether I am viewing the action coming up from the ground or down from the sky.  Where is the light coming from and how strong?  Do the characters enter from the right, moving to the left or vice versa?  What important bits of dialogue and background do I need to set up the scene and how far do I need to go to exit same?

I first analyze what I want to achieve in a given stretch of story, whether sentence, paragraph, or chapter, to see the plot point I am trying to get across.  Then I begin mixing elements like time of day, interior or exterior, and characters involved.  Another step involves a definition of the type of scene.  Will I need an action scene to portray the struggle between opposing brute forces or a clever dialogue driven scene to depict cunning battles of intelligence?   Am I just bridging scenes to bring a sense of depth to the story or am I building to a major plot point?  Better yet, am I camouflaging an important plot point with a piece of misdirection?

I have to think about the outfits the characters are wearing.  Clothes do make the character you know.  Is this a business scene or a rough outdoor hike, cold or hot, and daytime or night?  Will their be a change in outfits?  What do the outfits say about the characters?  How long will I ramble on about these things?

All of this plays through my head.  Why?  Because I have watched a lot of movies and read a lot of books and I have had many surprises in both.  However, the most fun I have is when I realize that what I mistook for poor writing by an author may actually have been a clever way to bring me into the world as the character is living it.  I do not mean a fully realized character giving you information about the world they know to put you into the story.  I mean a character as confused about the world as you are by the author’s writing style.  Only as you read further and the character learns the ropes do you begin to see what the world is about.  Sometimes the lingering feeling of confusion, even after finishing the story, was placed there to make you feel like a person thrown out of their depth.  “Cowboy Feng’s Space Bar and Grille” by Stephen Brust is a good example of this kind of story.  Someday I hope to pull these kind of things off.


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