Watching Films, and Writing Fiction

Ever since I started to publish fictional stories and longer serials on this blog, many readers have asked me where I get the ideas for them. I usually answer that I get the idea for a title as I am walking around aimlessly with my dog Ollie, lost in thought.

That is the truth, in most cases. The title appears in my head for some reason, and I then begin to construct a story, working back from an ending that I imagine suits that title. I have no idea if this is unique to me. For all I know, many of the better-known writers may well have discovered their own inspiration in a similar fashion.

I started to regularly watch films at exactly the same time I began writing short stories. That was a long time ago, when I was around eight years old. Not that I copied the plots of those films for my stories, you understand.
What happened was that I would see the stories in my head, not unlike the way I had just been immersed in watching a film for two hours. My characters would come to life in my mind, with their clothes, faces, expressions, and actions as real to me as if they were on a screen in front of my eyes.

I soon learned that you cannot just transcribe what you see, and make that into a short story, or longer serial. It would be a huge volume. Imagine trying to write down what you saw in just one long scene in your favourite film. Think of how enormous film scripts are, with their movement directions, and descriptions of scenery, reactions, and close-ups.

By the time I had started to work out how to whittle all this down to a readable story, I had grown up, left school, and started work. I had no time to write fiction any longer, and I was eventually married, and embarking on a career as an EMT.

In 2012, I retired, started to blog, and later tried my hand at fiction again, after a gap of more than forty-five years. I had many misfires, and wondered if I had lost any talent for story-telling. Then I remembered how I had seen those stories like films in my youth, and went back to that method. That definitely improved my writing, and resulted in the long serials and short stories that I was publishing by the early part of 2018.

I conclude that I have to thank a lifetime of watching films for enabling me to rejuvenate my love of writing.

56 thoughts on “Watching Films, and Writing Fiction

  1. Reading a story is like watching a movie in your mind, so writing stories is like making those mind-movies. Every reader’s mind-movie is unique, though, because the reader has to participate in its creation. Maybe this is why reading takes more effort than watching a movie.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very true, Audrey. The way I see the characters in my stories is undoubtedly very different to how readers imagine them. That is why film adaptations of books so often disappoint so many people.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When it comes to creativity, I think the process for everyone is different. Isn’t that what makes life interesting? It would get awful dull if we were all a bunch of clones.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Genius in the house. We still love your stories. I want to read Annie but as you know I like complete stories. So I will just be waiting to read the full story till that keep it secret for me. πŸ˜œπŸ˜ŠπŸ™‚βœŒπŸ™ˆ

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I won’t read any comments, I promise. I hope this story is scarier than the others. I love horror🀩🀩πŸ₯³πŸ‘»

        Sometimes I feel like I might be a witch or a ghost.😏🀨

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  4. I enjoyed learning how ideas come to you. While I was teaching I was always thinking up ways to discuss any given piece of literature. And I read literature many times over in preparation. I am sure that all of that reading has influenced me in the same way films influence you. My ideas always come in the shower.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. We never had a shower until this house. By the time our hot water makes it up to the tub it isn’t hot enough to allow a soak, the only reason I used to like a bath. Now it’s jump in the shower, wash all over, then out!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This is so interesting Pete, I too had a gap in writing when my children were young, and time was of the essence! I went to grad school in my 40’s and that inspired me to write again! I love the movie idea and might give it a go! Keep posting you have a true gift.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Terrific post Pete…I agree that being “lost in thought” can bring out a lot of creativity, such as walking a dog can allow…and your storytelling has a great cinematic quality without losing the texture and depth that writing allows…looking forward to starting your new story tomorrow!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I think I’m going to start walking around aimlessly in the desert with a friendly coyote, so that I can lose myself in thought. As long as I don’t inadvertently step on a rattlesnake, or become the victim of jumping chollas, this should work out just fine.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I think that sort of imagination that you have, Pete, even if it is stimulated by ‘turning your mind off’ as it were, when you dog-walk, is something that not everybody has: I know I don’t, which is why I stick to non-fiction, for which I think I have a passable capability. Just out of curiosity, did you watch the series Bodies, written by Jed Mercurio, who has a background in medicine? I had a featured background part in that, and it was a lot of fun to work on, at a big old disused hospital in West Yorkshire. Cheers, Jon.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I looked that up, sure I would have watched it. But for the life of me, I don’t remember it. 2006 seems a long time ago now, and I was still working shifts with the police, so may well have missed it. I will see if it is on i-player.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I like this quote by Mark Twain, who was a bit of a story teller himself πŸ™‚
    β€œThere is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”

    keep turning Pete!!

    Liked by 5 people

  10. We all get inspiration from different sources, and I’m always fascinated when I read interviews of artists, writers, and creators in general. There are so many approaches as people, although I’ve never understood writers who claim never to read anything or people who want to tell stories but are not interested in movies. Books can do things that movies can’t, and the opposite is also true, of course, but a good movie is a great example of how to tell a story, for sure. Thanks for the reflection and for the stories, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Olga. At one time, film-makers hired excellent writers to create ideas and scripts. Now they have ‘concept artists’, and ‘storyboarders’ in the main. And it is often the case that when they adapt best-selling books, they change all the best bits! πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

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