Movie Maven, now Scriptchic, How I switched from watching movies to writing them.
What do I write? Thrillers.
The switch didn’t happen overnight. It started as a subtle shift – a nudge from a writer friend, who was critiquing a draft of my first novel, A Trace of Stirling. His first impression: “This would make a killer movie.” I agreed.
So what does it take to switch from fiction writing to writing feature films?
Initially, not much. You’re still writing fiction. You’re still creating a compelling story. Instead of writing a story intended for a fan-base of readers, you’re now writing a story intended to be watched in movie theaters or on TV. Such a story must be visual.
Visual storytelling uses images, sound, and subtext to engage viewers to watch an evolving story from start to finish. Visual storytelling requires a writer to adapt to a slightly different mindset in their story creation and execution. Instead of writing paragraphs of descriptive prose, getting into character thoughts, and using dialogue tags. Screenwriting requires concise, effective writing. There’s more white space on each page. Small blocks of descriptive sentences. Centralized ribbons of dialogue, filled with subtext.
Screenwriting requires different software, new types of reference books, a few online classes, lots of movie-watching research, and just as much practice as fiction writing.
I find screenwriting more challenging to write than short stories, novellas, or novels.
So why did I switch?
I switched to screenwriting because some stories I write I visualize them as movies instead of novels. When I start a project, I take time to consider if the story I’m writing is better told to readers or better enjoyed by movie-goers.