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The Cinematic Novel

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Devora, Mar 2, 2014.

  1. Devora

    Devora Sage

    I've been thinking to write my WIP as if one could imagine each scene like it was in a movie.

    Do you think this could be done?

    Any examples of books that have, or were close to, getting this style of writing?
  2. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

    In my experience, I don't think it's wise to try to write like scenes being played out in film. There are strengths to film media & there are strengths to the written word, things that film cannot do effectively (like character internal thoughts without the use of clumsy voice overs).

    I feel it's better to focus on the things writing does well.
  3. Devora

    Devora Sage

    I don't mean it is written like a movie. I meant it feels cinematic when you read it, almost like a movie.
  4. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

    What do you mean by a cinematic feel? Robocop has a pretty different feel from The Seventh Seal.
  5. If you want a cinematic feel, you might be better off writing a screenplay. ;) Novels and movies are different media and it's extremely difficult to make one work like the other. They have different strengths and weaknesses. Novels let you trivially see inside a character's mind and thoughts; movies make it much easier to present an expansive canvas and powerful imagery. Neither medium mimics the other's strengths particularly well.

    That said, there's plenty of novels that present an expansive canvas and powerful imagery, it's just a lot harder than it sounds.
  6. Jabrosky

    Jabrosky Banned

    My best guess is that the OP means writing in a way that stimulates the imagination, especially the visual imagination. Therefore I'd recommend he study writing known for its vivid descriptions.
    Devora likes this.
  7. The Dark One

    The Dark One Auror

    I have a different interpretation to Jabrosky (of what constitutes a cinematic novel).

    I've written a few times about my development as a writer (to the extent that anyone can ever usefully and truthfully analyse their own progress), and a really important step in the right direction was when I gave up writing novels for a while and had a go at screenplays. This taught me a lot about such things as telling the story with dialogue and minimal directions, but also scene construction within a story arc.

    After dashing off three screenplays and a stage play in two years, I then went back to my first love (novel writing) and the first thing I produced was accepted by the first publisher who saw it.

    I knew it was different from anything else I'd written before, in a number of ways (not least that I was simply a better writer after completing a few more stories in a different medium), but a really important difference was the way I constructed scenes. It was much tighter and far more coherent than anything I'd done in the past - and people constantly told me that reading the book was like watching a movie.

    They say the same about my recently published book, which has in fact been optioned by Ealing Studios in the UK.

    I have no doubt that the cinematic (or filmic) feel of the books is due to a number of factors (especially very clearly defined characters), but scene construction and tight, purposive dialogue are really important. If you want to write a cinematic story, these are things (IMHO) to concentrate on.
    J. S. Elliot and Devora like this.

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