Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Technique Tuesday!

TV off by ~Helewidis-stocks

Today’s post is for those of you who have asked for easy, non-committal ways to “practice” writing.

Here's an idea:
  1. Think of a scene from a TV show or a movie that you really like. Got it? Good.  Now, *find it online, bust out your DVD collection, or (better yet) prepare to rely on your own memory. It doesn’t matter. Just have it [ || ] paused and ready to go.  
  2. Fire up your word processing program.
  3. Get ready to type…
  4. Press [] play and adapt the scene into written form. Don’t worry about introducing the characters or setting up the series of events that led to that moment. Just immerse yourself and let it flow. Include the dialogue, the atmosphere, the gestures, etc. Whatever you want. (Yes, you’ll need to replay the scene several times to catch everything.) Just don’t turn it into a play-by-play. You want to recreate the magic of whatever hooked you on the scene, not give a report on it.

Feel accomplished?

Great! Now look it over, beam with pride, and torch it. :)  People worked hard to write and produce that scene, so your version should never see the light of day. (Not to mention, claiming it as your own would be all kinds of illegal, and nobody looks good in prison orange.) That’s okay, though. Now that you have this practice under your belt, you’re ready to try writing one of your own scenes. (C’mon, you know you’ve got a gazillion original ideas racing through your mind. Let one out!)

You can do it. Best of luck!

*Stream it or purchase/download it legally, por favor.


Dee Fox said...

Wow...that's a great idea...it's a good practice for scrapbookers too, to help learn to be more descriptive in our journaling and tell the story...Thanks!!!

Carrie Butler said...

Journaling practice hadn't occurred to me, but that's a great idea! Thanks for commenting! :)

Patrick said...

This exercise reminds me of a time I was chatting with a friend. She was able to recreate a whole scene from an anime episode we had seen. It was almost like I was watching it again while reading. This person was able to draw out the critical details in a scene and make them come to live in their writing.

This is a great exercise in my opinion because not only is it good practice, but it also teachers the writer about themselves. A thing I learned about my own writing is the details I choice to include and the ones I don't. I tend to ignore colors of objects and the type of clothes people are wearing. This may sound silly, but when I picture a scene I don't really think about those things.

I could remember the plot of a story, but couldn't tell you what the actors wore at any point in the story. My brain just doesn't put much importance into those details. So this chain of thought spurred some questions, what kind of details do you focus on first when watching a show? Is it the facial expressions? Is it the reaction of characters interactions? Or is it the emotion in the dialogue? Maybe a combination of all these.

You don't really have to answer the questions. It's just that this piece has provoked a lot of thought in me.

Thank you!

Carrie Butler said...

Patrick, thanks for commenting! It really depends on the tone of the scene and how it's set up. If there's tense music in the background and the character is speaking in a neutral tone, I'm trying to decipher their facial expression. If the scene starts with provoking dialogue, I'm tuning into that. Know what I mean? :)

Patrick said...

I didn't even think about music! You are right it depends on the tone of the scene. The key is capturing that tone and having it come across in your writing.