What Film Can Teach Us About Books

What Books Can teach you About Movies

Hey guys! I hope everyone is looking forward to the Thanksgiving Holidays next week!

Because this blog is concerned with mid-list and new authors, I like to provide anything I find useful as a fellow student of writing. Though I would eventually like to write a book one day, I believe my writing has grown greatly by studying film and screenplay. I think an aspiring writer can learn from the movies.

I admit, at first this notion seems backward. As book writers and booklovers, are we not the first to say that movies ruined a certain book? Left out the best parts? Though movies cut out much material to tell a story in two hours, it is this focus that makes films worth studying. A film has to portray a plot completely, and save no room for fluff. As someone once said, a movie is life with all the boring stuff cut oit. Unlike a book, a movie does not spend a bulk of its time on showcasing scenery or diving into subtext. It does however, consist of a strongly constructed plot filled with characters that show us who they are. Actions move the movie forward, and such should be the case with any page-turner.

To me, movies illustrate a point Flannery O’Connor has made about writing, that “most people do not understand a story”. For the longest time, I don’t think I did. I had developed characters, scenes filled with emotion and reflection but that’s about it. Frankly, not enough happened in my stories.  My characters were not motivated, the circumstances never changed. In films, characters are always acting and the stakes always double within the plot.

Where can you study movies? Most colleges offer interesting listings in genre and screenwriting that maybe available to the community at large. Also, you can find film clubs or interest groups in your locale by checking Meetup.com. In addition, there are some great books about screenwriting, which I’ve listed at the end of this post. The author of one such screenwriting book, Syd Field, died this week. I recommend his book.





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