Thursday, March 26, 2015

I Saw it in a Movie

I absolutely love movies, whether they're on the big screen or coming to me through Netflix while I vegetate on my couch, I can't get enough of them.
It's safe to say that I'm a movieholic! 
(I'm sure there are plenty more of you out there)

The other day, I was reading through some old writing I had done while I was still in high school when I came across a vampire story (I'm pretty sure every teen goes through a vampire stage) and as I read it, I got a strong sense of jà vu, but couldn't place it.
A few days later, it finally hit me why the story had sounded so familiar...I saw it in a movie!
(Not my entire story, mind you, but just enough that I rolled my eyes and laughed at young Crystyl.
I guess everyone has to start somewhere.)

Well, that got me to thinking, how much is my writing today effected by the media around me?
Probably more than you'd think.
Media is everywhere now-a-days. With phones easily accessible, we have media at our very fingertips; music, movies, art, books, you name it! 
With all that stuff flooding our world, it's no surprise to find traces of it in your own work.

Movies can be the simplest form of inspiration; what better way to get an idea than by something you SEE with your own eyes?

The longer I've been a writer, the more I find that I zero in on details. Doesn't matter if I'm reading or watching something, I break down story plots and predict outcomes (most of the time). I do this by thinking of what sort of twist I would write into it, and most of the time it comes true. It happens naturally now. 
(If you've even predicted know that people don't always appreciate your genius). 
I kinda think that becoming a writer has ruined a lot of things for me. Haha

I don't bring this up to discourage writers from going to the movies or using any media to influence their writing. Actually, I'm encouraging you!

Cinema can help give you a different perspective and tips on those little details you never thought about.

Nothing really takes place of good old fashioned research; I think its safe to add movies to the research pile.
For example, say I'm writing a story set during the glory of Rome, I would definitely want to research their culture, clothing, social system, etc...but I could also tune into some movies for simple character ideas and even get a feel for their vocabulary. (Careful: sometimes Hollywood takes liberties with their ideas and aren't always historically accurate) 
If my main character was a soldier in the Roman army, there would be plenty of videos to choose from to help me capture a soldier's passion and brutality. You can't always get that kind of emotion from a Wiki page.
Also, Google isn't going to help me come up with a wicked awesome fight scene
Since I am not an actual fighter, I have to settle for the second best thing, watching it! I can then take what I see and recreate an excellent fight for my characters.

Now, I'm not saying you should go and copy the plot and characters from the movies you watch...that is, in fact, plagiarism. 
I feel the need to reiterate, don't plagiarize
Imagine how hard you work to write a story, well that person worked equally as hard for theirs. (Take it from someone who's a victim of this.) Respect each other. 
Get inspiration, but don't steal their idea, if you know what I mean.
Latch on to some details and turn it into your own creation. 
It could even be something as simple as "I love how this bad guy cocks his eyebrow when he's being maniacal". Then come up with an entire story with a setting where that detail could be used. Make sense?
Media is an awesome source for inspiration. Recycle, throw in details from numerous sources (including your imagination), add your own flare and you've got a great idea.

Don't be afraid to use what's around you; after all, you can only recreate yourself so many times. Eventually, you need a boost from somewhere else.