What Writers Can Learn From Films to Become More Efficient Storytellers

Film can be an extraordinary vehicle to learn about storytelling says award-winning author and film critic Sam Staley (SR Staley). Screenwriters have the challenging job of telling a comprehensive story within a specific structure and set amount of time. Screenwriting is a skill that requires discipline and a very lean approach to effective storytelling, explains Staley. As a film critic, Staley has learned to watch films with an analytical eye, enhancing his own storytelling abilities. Dialogue and visuals are critical to a film because these are the elements that will move the story forward. While dialogue is equally important when writing fiction, fiction storytellers also have to figure out how to make a reader visualize things through effective descriptions, utilizing the senses. The big advantage that fiction writers have over screenwriters, he says, is that fiction writers can describe touch, which is the most bonding of the five senses.

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  • I love everything he said. I can relate to a lot of the characterizing through words. When writing I did have to define all my characters, even when writing poetry. I wanted to put the readers in certain moods and see my characters in certain ways. So wordings had to specify who was who and emphasize the choiced words for each person. It makes writing fun. 

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