I love movies. I have always enjoyed all genres of movies – especially mysteries, suspense and thrillers. Oh, and cop thrillers of course. I’ve often wondered if my movie enthusiasm has helped to shape my writing style and subject matter I choose to incorporate into a novel.
It’s true that many movies are adapted from books. But what about movies generating (or inspiring) characters and storylines for novels? Writers have written stories inspired from newspaper headlines. It’s just the idea of some high-profile case or newsworthy article that can prompt an avalanche of ideas.
For me as I outline the action scene, I ask myself questions like:
What pushes the protagonist?
What pushes the antagonist?
What will ultimately be the goal or outcome for all characters involved?
How can these characters use the surrounding to their advantage?
What clever or hair-raising way can the protagonist get out of this predicament? (this is my ultimate favorite)
After I wrote and completed my first Emily Stone Novel, Compulsion, I had a few readers tell me that the warehouse scene made them think of the warehouse in the 1970s blockbuster The French Connection. Wow, I thought that was a huge compliment because it’s one of my absolute favorite cop films. If you have not seen this movie, I strongly suggest checking it out. It has an amazing car chase scene.
Then I started thinking about it. Did I have that image in the back of my mind and my memory produced it when I wrote a particular scene? We view so many images from television, movies, news reports, and the Internet. It is possible that I needed an image ingrained in my subconscious and “poof” The French Connection warehouse came to mind when I needed a creepy, desolate warehouse… I won’t tell you anymore because I hate spoilers.
Here are two photos from The French Connection… Now this is a very spooky, dark, isolated warehouse. Would you want to be trapped here? What kind of storyline would you create from these warehouse images?
I started mentally going through some of my favorite movies like The Abyss, The Flock, Lethal Weapon, L.A. Confidential, Marathon Man, DieHard and many more… There are powerful performances and storylines in these films that help to embrace the imagination of writers. I like to think of it as visual brainstorming.
What are some of your favorite or most memorable scenes from a blockbuster film? Have you written a scene in a novel inspired by something you saw in a film?
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