Cuyahoga River

Cuyahoga River
Cuyahoga River in the Valley

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lights, Camera, Action: Why Writers Should Spend More Time at the Movies

Cinda Williams Chima, the next Word Lovers writer-in-residence, says that the average screenplay for a feature-length film is only 100-120 pages, while the average novel is much longer. The difference is the absence of narrative—those paragraphs where the novelist is ‘splaining, summarizing, describing, or telling the reader what to think and how to feel. Used sparingly and well, narrative is invisible. Too often, it’s the part that the reader skips over. Screenwriters deliver the entire story on stage, in scene, using character, action, story arc and structural techniques to keep the audience engaged. This approach puts the audience in the scene and trust them to “get” it. When it works, it’s the most accessible and effective way to tell a story. Makes sense, and I'm going to work on that at Lakeside, after a walk or two along the lakeshore.

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