It has been a few months after I have completed my first novel’s first draft and I have started on my second novel. I am going to send the first one to an editor I have met and then I will self publish it.
Today I want to talk about one of the mistakes many writers make, because of their love for the silver screen. It is important to distinguish between films and novels. Sounds simple, right? Yes, it does, but we do love to try and implement things that doesn’t work in novels, because it works in films. How do I put this? Subtlety is the master storyteller.
We tend to do what films do subtly: we will focus on expressions by characters and point them in detail. However, this only works in films, because of its subtlety. Writers on the other hand also have an awesome tool that they either utilize too much or too little. It is has almost been declared a sin in many films. Though I think it can work to great effect, comically. We have the ability to put a characters thoughts down. In film, the best way this can be done is through gestures. No novelist wants to over explain gestures. That is bad writing. I am not saying that you should leave it out, but I am saying is that we could tone it down. I also firmly believe in the show and tell. (Not don’t tell, because that would make it kind of impossible)
Writers need to utilize the thoughts of their characters more often, because we lack an ace of spades that directors do not lack. A soundtrack. Imagine a heartbreaking scene with the violin trying to tear the audience down. As a writer I would love to make my readers emotional, but I can’t use lighting and music. However, I can slip in a subtle thought of a character or perhaps a memory. Dialogue will of course work in both. We are working with the differences.
Remember dear writers that we don’t have an orchestra. We don’t want to use too many angles. We don’t have lighting or acoustics. We can however explain these through the eyes of our protagonist or antagonist. We have a strong POV and we need not forget this. I also love movies and have made these mistakes. One day I would want to write scripts as well.
Just know that silver is not white.