Combat Writer’s Block: Go to the Movies!

Movies

Let’s say you have an idea for a story, but you still can’t seem to put pen to paper. Try going to the movies! No, not actually leaving your house and catching the latest blockbuster (although you can do that too, “for inspiration.”)

If you don’t have an idea for a story yet, don’t worry! You can still do these activities; just use a book or short story you are already familiar with.

  • Make an adaptation:

If you tried to write a story without dialogue, it would be pretty difficult, not to mention dull for the reader. Why not practise writing dialogue by making it so that your story is entirely in dialogue. This will free up your mind from the daunting task of crafting perfectly descriptive sentences because this is just talking. You can decide later whether you want to actually use this dialogue in your story or if you would rather just have the dialogue as a blueprint you can reference as you write. Of course, there is more than one way of writing a movie adaptation. Some simply turn a story into a different form, but some use a story as a jumping off point and transform the original into something that stands well on its own, You can do this too: in your story, is there a character to whom you would like to give more say or development throughout the film version? Or maybe you would like to tell the same story, but from a completely different perspective? More subtly, perhaps your story has a moral, or takes a certain stand on an issue; what would happen if it were written by someone who had the opposite opinion to yours? Whatever you choose to do, the next step is to write out a script of dialogue with minimal stage directions.

Because I did not want to adapt a book that some people hadn’t read, I decided to turn a news story into a dialogue as an example. Here’s an imaginary account of Brother Cream, the famous cat of TST East was stolen:

Maybe you’re one of those people who always says, “I liked the book better than the movie,” (admittedly, I’d say you’re often right) and adapting a story does not appeal to you. You can still do something fun and movie-themed: write a sequel or alternative ending to your story. To write a sequel, simply ask yourself: what happens next? Will another character see all the action while your protagonist takes a break? Will one of the main characters die or move or be otherwise removed from the story? What unsettled business is left over from the original story? What new conflicts might arise based on the personality traits of these characters?

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