I tend to write in a very cinematic fashion, or at least that’s how I think about it. I write things I would like to see or how I see them playing out on film. Now, I don’t know if that’s a modern perception of crafting scenes or if its just a result of me being a performer or because films and the stuff I like to write fills theater screens and DVD libraries the world over.
I’m not sure that say, F. Scot Fitzgerald or Longfellow or James Joyce wrote in a what you might call a “cinematic” style, but I think Shakespeare might have an inkling of what I’m talking about. As a writer you see things, sometimes real, sometimes imagined and you attempt to put them into words, to illustrate them for another person – you want them to see what you see.
Though, they will never truly see things as you see them – you may write about a protagonist who in your mind may look a very certain way, and even though you describe them in this way – the reader will see them not quite as you do, but from another angle, another viewpoint – they will be similar, very very similar. But not exact. With film it’s different. I will see what the person next to me sees. We share the same view.
I think the camera lens makes life look more interesting. It captures angles and views we can’t normally perceive, at least not without using a step ladder or dangling from a line off a cliff. For example, take a look at this: Travel Where You Live.
Now, apart from the premise – which is a great one by the way (re-discovering your home town, city or countryside) look at the variety of the shots in the piece. Notice how the camera tracks people or objects, almost always at an angle that is not one the human eye would see in normal, everyday circumstances. We don’t watch people from behind and knee level, nor do we track things at one speed and then speed up or slow down the view.
I sometimes think that the camera sees the world better than we do, which accounts for why there are so many of us who are drawn to or fascinated by the camera lens. Everything seems sharper viewed through a lens, right? More in focus – you know where to look, to see the moment, to grasp its meaning.
Things flash by us fast in real life, or they happen at such a mundane pace they seem meaningless. We don’t capture them so well, not as clear and distinct as film can. Our memories are constantly over-writing themselves, so what we remember isn’t really what happened, but a memory of a memory of a memory. Film never changes. It plays out the same from beginning to end. We watch our favorite films over and over for that reason I think, or read our favorite books time and again – because, though we know what’s coming or what the ending will be – we want to re-experience them as they were or are, not what we remember them to be.
And so, when I say I write in a cinematic fashion, what I mean is I try to see things in my mind the way the camera would – from different heights, different angles, different speeds. To capture a moment that inspires or makes the eys go wide with some expression or emotion – or recognition, a connection.
I like crafting scenes and describing the action in such a way, that the reader will see what I see – or at least, that’s my hope.
I’m not really sure there’s a point to this post, it’s just me rambling about my writing style I guess. Not justifying it, merely – putting it out there. To see if it resonates with anyone.
Because, even thought he playing with words is fun, the construction of a group of words into a sentence is meaningless with a story, to misquote Anne McCaffery “Tell a story, otherwise its just a bunch of sentences.”
The camera tells a story, it captures a canvas full of words and shows us images that would take a thousand pages to describe – the way a girl’s hair floats on a breeze, or the way the sun shines through the trees, dappling the grass with a pattern of golden diamonds…
Anyway, just wanted to share. Now, back to doing what I should be doing…