Monday, December 30, 2013

How Reading and Watching Movies Makes us Better Writers

Watch Movies - When the movie ends pull out your phone or laptop and jot down notes about what moved you and why.  Remember back to which character you liked the most and why.  Think about what the director did to make you like this person.  What character traits do you remember?  What flaws did the character exhibit?  Recount the synopsis of the movie and what the major plot points were.  Think back and analyze the story taking note of what you liked and what you didn't. If you'd written the screenplay what would you have done differently?  Did you like the ending?  If not why?

Read Movie Reviews - Compare the reviewers description to what you put down in your notes after watching the movie.  Did your impression of the movie compare to that of his or her review?  If not what differed?  What can you learn from this?

Start a Movie Group - Invite friends to join and host a get together at your home to kick off the group. Ask a member to pick a film and host the group at their place for the discussion.  Make a rule that whomever picks the next movie will host the group at their home and rotate through the group with each member picking and hosting.  You'll gain friends and have a reason to go to the movies more often.  Prepare ahead of time for the group and introduce them to the basic principles of Plot, Character, Story Arc, 3-Act Structure, etc. I've been in a cinema group in my own neighborhood for the past year and it's a great way to get to know your neighbors and share a common interest. 

Read the Novels of Great Writers - Take notes as you read their books.  What stands out as a great sentence or paragraph?  Reread that section critically and figure out what it is about these words that invokes a response in you.  The more you read the better you'll write.  Our subconscious mind is an amazing tool.

Study the dialog of books - Read out loud. How does the dialog compare or differ from what you've written in your stories? 

Spend your free time reading - Carry a book with you in your car, on the bus, in your purse or backpack.  Always have something nearby to read. When your waiting in line at the bank or train station pull out a paper back or you kindle and read a few pages.

Read Genres other than what you write - If you normally read mystery, thrillers, and fantasy branch out and try some literary fiction, romance, or science fiction.  As writers we can learn from all types of writing.  Read books by foreign authors.

Support your local independent bookstores and libraries - as authors we all have a vested interest in keeping the institutions that exist to supply our written words to the general public.  While I enjoy reading books on my kindle I also buy books at the local bookstore and frequently check books out at our library.  Encourage your friends and family to visit their local bookstores.  Amazon is great, but variety is the spice of life.

Read before bed - Make a daily habit of turning off the television and reading for one hour before you go to bed.


  1. Love you suggestions
    Nice work

  2. Love the suggestions
    Good info thanks

    1. Hi Mureil, I'm glad you liked this. Bryan

  3. I agree. Some good stuff here, Bryan. I am a big believer in seeking inspiration from movies as well as books.

  4. Thanks Keri. Do you have any of your own tips and tricks that have helped grow your writing craft over the years? Bryan

  5. All good advice, Bryan! I love that you can relax and enjoy - and at the same time learn!