Friday, December 10, 2010

Stuff to watch for

I watched a new movie recently.

To be kind, I won't say the title, but I don't think it was very well done. However, while watching, I was reminded of a few things that can apply to writing stories:

1 - Strong plots can carry poor actors. Even though the actors were...well...pretty amateur, I still wanted to see what happened next.

2 - Characters shouldn't sound like they are reading their lines. At first thought, this applies only to actors, but I think it translates to book characters too. They shouldn't sound so...bookish. Would a person in really life say that? Would they say it like that? Think before they talk.

3 - Action and plot isn't enough. You still have to connect with the characters. Ideally, you should bond with the character before they are placed in action, or in danger. Otherwise, you simply don't care. Don't plunge right into things before your reader gets his footing and identifies in some way with the character. Do something to make him/her catch the interest of the reader - even if it's only a sentence or two before you plunge into that opening action scene. (This was a good reminder for me.)

Have you ever learned things about writing from watching a movie? Or reading a poorly-written book? Have you trained yourself to watch for mistakes, and see them as a way to learn, not just annoy you? What have you been taught through this habit?

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