Writer’s Advice

Why Do Movies Differ So Much From Books They Are Based On?

ATLANTA – Written by M.L. Childs, Paranormal Romance Author, Screenwriter, Copywriter and Dramatic Historian

 

Avid readers tend to despise films based on the novels they read.  What’s the reason?  They believe that the film doesn’t follow the story line in the book the way it should.  So, just why are films so different from books?

After learning screenwriting myself, I now know the answer to this puzzling question and I will try to answer it the best way that I can.  For starters, most people aren’t novel readers.  So, the details that work in a book won’t necessarily work on the big screen because most people will become bored with the details.  Most people want the point to be made as quickly as possible and they want to be thrilled by what they are watching.  This is one major reason why movies differ so much from the books on which they are based.

Another major reason is that screenplays — which are the driving force of any film — are a different beast from novels.  Fiction books can include extensive narrative information but screenplays should not — there simply isn’t enough time to do so.  A film is generally 120 minutes long which equates to one page each of a screenplay.  This is about half or even a quarter of the pages of most novels written.  So, screenwriters are under the pressure to fit everything into a small space.  Not only this, film is dialogue, action and conflict and each scene should be filled with plenty of it; otherwise, people get bored with the movie and leave the theater or turn the television off.  So a screenwriters task is not only to work within the confines of a tight space but also must play up the most interesting and critical scenes from a novel.

So, yes fellow novel readers, some of our favorite scenes in the book just may not make the cut in the screenplay because they may not come across on screen as fantastically as they do in the book.  Or, the budget for some of these novel scenes just isn’t available for film scenes.  Keep in mind that films are expensive projects and one extra minute of action may be costly.

“Trim the fat and get to the meat” is the name of the game when it comes to movies so try to be cognizant of this the next time you judge a film based on a novel.

 

 

How Useful Are Your Post-It Notes?

Board Image with Post-It Notes ID © Roman Milert | Dreamstime.com 2609687

ATLANTA – Written by M.L. Childs, Paranormal Romance Author, Screenwriter, Copywriter and Dramatic Historian

Do you use Post-It notes? I find them repulsive because even though they are meant to keep me organized, they end up looking like a bunch of colorful clutter with words on them that are obscure or obsolete once I go back to review them. Their original intended use may not work well for me, but I have discovered the perfect use for them within my writing process. I am currently working on the sequel to my novel, The Vital Sacrifice. I was pleased with the finished product of my first novel, but I admit that I wasn’t very organized in the writing process the first time around. Since I have many more books to research and write soon, I thought it would be a good idea develop a writing routine that I can apply to each of my projects so that I won’t get tangled up in the production process.

One way that I have planned to keep my book layout and writing plan on track is a technique that I learned in a screenwriting class. Excellent screenwriters (film writers) lay out their scenes using index cards. They usually lay the cards out on the floor or they may have a large cork board on which they pin the index cards.  This method of organization allows them to move scenes around easily if and when they need to make changes to the script before they start writing the screenplay.

While most screenwriters use the index card method, I have found that using the poster board and Post-It notes method is more convenient. I find this process very useful and satisfying because I can see everything that needs to happen in my book scenes laid out in front of me, similar to an outline. Unlike an outline, it is easier to move scenes around as I change my mind about the storyline. Also, having the Post-It notes on poster board is great because, as all you writers know, we need a change of scenery sometimes and this is a light, convenient thing to carry around the house or around the world.

I’m not sure what your approach to writing is but I usually start by laying my book out in acts or parts.  I create a Post- It for each of the acts and put those on the poster board.  From there, I start filling in scenes under each part.   I have moved scenes and gotten rid of them by just moving a Post-It note.  Once I am comfortable with all the things laid out in my acts, I then group scenes together to formulate a chapter.  But I loosely create chapters at this point because I don’t want to restrict my creative process too much. The goal with my poster board and Post-It note method is getting organized enough to avoid writer’s block.

How about you? What techniques do you use to keep yourself organized during the research and writing process? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Image courtesy of © Roman Milert | Dreamstime.com 

Ways to Attract Clients to Your Website Without Being Annoying

Image courtesy of Stocksnap

ATLANTA – Written by M.L. Childs

The game is changing in the world of advertising.  Gone are the days of using gimmicks and tricks to lure customers and in its place has come  an era of intelligent consumers who don’t want to deal with prestidigitation.  Now, there is a level playing field across the board and success lies not in flashy, cheap attempts at getting clients attention.  Success lies in using content not to sell – at least not at first – but to encourage a conversation.

Think of this new age of marketing just like a relationship.  If you went on a date with someone and the person had an agenda behind taking you on this date, then clearly you would not want to go on another date with this person.  This is what old marketing tactics look like – desperate attempts to get someone to do something they don’t want to do.  However, if a date showed up with no set agenda and only wanted to go with the flow and exchange jokes, get better acquainted and help you feel more relaxed, then you would probably want to keep dating that person to see where that relationship could lead.  New aged marketing is just that – taking time to build a relationship rather than going for ‘in for the kill’ immediately.

Keeping this in mind, here are some ways that you can personify your content to make it act as a relationship builder for your company rather than a complete waste of someone’s valuable time.

Don’t Even Think About Selling Anything

This command speaks for itself.  Remember the analogy about the date? If you have a preset agenda, then you go on the ‘date’ with expectations and clients can feel that desperation a mile away.  When sharing on social media, don’t create content that screams “Hey, buy me, please!” Instead, present intriguing information that serves as a hook that will make a reader want to click and continue reading on your site.

Provide Clients With Something That Really Is Helpful and Useful but Free

Keeping in line with the first suggestion, once the client arrives at your site, don’t lure them into a buying situation.  Make sure that what they link to is still the same helpful, free information that they were enjoying while on social media.  If they decide that they want to purchase after reading the article, by all means, provide a call to action that gives them this option.  However, don’t let the social media link lead to nothing but a “buy, buy, buy!” thirst trap.

Be Conversational With Your Tone, Not Prick-ish

That show in the 1980s, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, was a great show and the narrator had quite the pompous voice.  However, in this day in age, content shouldn’t have Robin Leach’s tone.  People don’t want robots or one-sided individuals guiding their buying process.  Entertain them, excite them, and let them get comfortable with your tone of writing, not be turned off by it.  Engagement is key and clients can’t engage if you have a pompous flair in your communication, even in your written communication.

Try a Little Humor

Have you noticed that once insurance companies started creating hilarious commercials, that everyone seems to want to create funny commercials?  Well, funny stuff is memorable and engaging. So, you can’t blame them for incorporating this approach.  When you are out on social media engaging clients, try to sprinkle in a little humor.  It just might make someone’s day and lower their guard enough to at least hear what you have to offer.

Use Quality Images

This can’t be emphasized enough.  But I want to emphasize that quality doesn’t just mean high resolution.  Make sure that your images are retrofitted for social media, too.  Keep in mind that images display differently across different platforms and you should go through the painstaking process of making sure that your posts are displaying images properly across the board.  Have you ever saw a great post on the phone but it displayed differently on a desktop?  Or, have you seen a photo on Instagram that looks quite different on Twitter?  Of course you have.  I wish that whatever image is posted social media retrofitted its own self according to that platform, but until someone creates such a plugin, you are left on your own to make sure that your images are displaying properly.

 

There you have it – five ways to be compelling enough to attract clients without annoying the heck out of them.  Stay tuned for more helpful tips on how to develop engaging content.  Join the conversation by commenting below and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Facebook @thescriptanubis.

 

Image courtesy of Stocksnap.io

How Can I Find Goofs in My Own Work When I Proofread?

ATLANTA – Written by M.L. Childs

Proofreading is an intimidating task and proofreading your work is even more challenging. One reason it is so complicated is that you as the writer see what you think you see on the page, not what is there.

If you just don’t have the resources available to hire an editor, especially if you are a self-published author struggling with a budget, one convenient way to proofread your work is to use the read-out-loud function in Adobe Acrobat Reader.

First, you save your work in Microsoft Word and convert the file into a .pdf file.  Then, open the file using Adobe Acrobat Reader and using the view tab, navigate to the ‘read out loud’ feature in Adobe Acrobat Reader.  This will provide you with the option to ‘activate’ the feature.  Once activated, other options will be made available that will help you to proof your work.  Finally, grab some headphones or speakers and listen for errors in the audio of your written document.

While this simple proofreading technique is not the answer to all of your editing needs, you can get rid of obvious goofs in your writing project because this feature reads your writing on the page as it is and you will hear the errors as you listen.

For instance, if you type “Sally made a trip store to buy groceries” your mind may not see the error. However, Adobe will read this to you exactly as it is and you will be able to hear how ridiculous this sounds, thus be able to correct the error.

 

We will address other editing and proofreading issues in another article, but for now, keep this technique in mind as an affordable way to self-edit.

Share your comments.

 

 

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