Wednesday, December 8, 2010

GIVEAWAY WINNER + Your Book: The Movie

Thanks to all who entered my 50 Followers GIVEAWAY, and to all the new people who dropped by afterward. Upon a drawing courtesy of, the winner of a first chapter critique is:

Lynda Young!

Congratulations! Lynda can send her chapter to me at artzicarol [at] gmail [dot] com, and I will be delighted to critique it for her. It looks suspicious that the randomizer picked a cyberbuddy of mine from a blog I regularly haunt, but hey, that's what really happened! More chances to win when I reach 100 followers, everyone.

By the way, Nicole at Where Fantasy and Love Take Flight is offering a Critiques for Christmas giveaway. Your choice of query, synopsis, or one-page critiques if you win. Click to visit and enter; this contest is open until December 17.


Surprises Around the Corner
I usually compose at my keyboard; it's something I've taught myself to do, as it's much easier and faster than writing something in longhand. While I'm in this writing mode, I watch the scene unfold as I go, and I'm exploring it as though I'm walking on a path through a garden (or something like that). I do outline and so I know generally where the path is leading me, but often little surprises pop up. The story and characters take on lives of their own. Such as with my WIP, entitled SAFE ZONE, in which I was writing a dialogue scene, and my secondary characters did this:

Peyton gave Leonard a playful shove on the shoulder. "You read too much."
"You drink too much," Leonard said, shoving her back.

Nah, I thought. I don't want to deal with the subject of drinking. Especially since the novel is post-apocalyptic and I'd have to try to figure out how in the world they'd get alcohol--or how they'd make it. I deleted those lines. Tried to write on. The lines came back. I deleted them again. They persisted. I finally gave up and let it flow, and after a while the whole alcohol issue became an integral part of my plot, fitting in nicely with my MC's dilemma. Nice surprise! I had to let the characters do what they wanted. Sometimes characters are just ornery like that.

Voices and Inner Movies
Along with dealing with ornery characters, many writers are afflicted by a strange malady. They hear voices, and see their characters acting out things in their heads.

This occurs to me sometimes. I hear a simple voice in my head saying a certain line, explaining something, having an argument, or being snarky--and at other time I see the scenes happening in my mental moviemaker. Annoyingly, it's usually as I'm driving down the highway or trying to get to sleep at night. This is true particularly for active, crucial, or highly emotional scenes like at the climax of the story, or the point of a Big Reveal. I try to jot down notes about what I've "seen," and when I write that scene, I describe what went on in the "movie" I've watched. Sort of like taking dictation, or transcribing a real movie.

Movies…for Real
Now, what if your novel became popular enough to be made into a movie, like Harry Potter or Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief ? I'm sure it would play out somewhat different from our inner movies and the way we've written it on the page, but that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. I know many writers have even cast their hypothetical movies (everyone has to dream, right?) with actors and actresses, such as Angelina Jolie as a sophisticated but sultry businesswoman, or Zac Efron as a troubled, chick-magnet teenager.

Movie rights are part of an author's contract with a publisher, after all. Not usually utilized, but there just in case. These are one of the many things an agent will negotiate for a writer.

Have your characters ever insisted on doing something that surprised you? Did you let them?

When you write, do you see scenes play out as though they are happening in a movie?

Have you ever imagined your novel as a real movie? Have you mentally cast the characters with live movie actors and actresses?


  1. Have your characters ever insisted on doing something that surprised you? Did you let them?
    I think the better question is when DON'T they insist. My biggest case-in-point is my semi-villain, affectionately nicknamed Senor Psycho. He originally had a single chapter in one book and was meant to just be...there. Unfortunately, in the revised final draft, he took up 1/3 of the book. Second book, he popped in by like page 75 and stayed all the way through. And now he's demanding his own book. So far I've held him off, but it's not going well. He's stubborn. To say the least. Most of the time my characters let me know what they want and I try to oblige them when possible.

    When you write, do you see scenes play out as though they are happening in a movie?

    Have you ever imagined your novel as a real movie? Have you mentally cast the characters with live movie actors and actresses?
    Heh - yeah. I have a couple of posts on my blog about that, especially my second WIP where I came up with the three main characters and their respective actors and even posted pictures.

  2. I hold a pretty tight leash, but once in a while I will let them off and let them run wild. It scares me how well they can take the lead!

  3. I am having to hold a tight rein on my heroine instead of a regular disorder she wants to have another dysfunction I yelled at her and told her no way, but she would not let it go, so she is on a time out till she behaves.

  4. All the time; to all the questions. I like the movies though - and the voices. Keeps me company :)

    The only time I have to slap my characters around is during the final editing. Otherwise, I let them have their say. I experiment. Sometimes its a yes, sometimes it a no.

    We have a tendency to agree on outcomes most of the time.

    Cool post Carol. Love the mini movies.


  5. Congrats Lynda!

    I have had a few people say they could picture my book as a movie. My mom and I even went as far as casting some characters. :)

  6. Have your characters ever insisted on doing something that surprised you? Did you let them? Yes. They do it all the time. And often I let them... well, depending on how much it screws up the story. But, I have to let the characters be as real to themselves as possible.

    When you write, do you see scenes play out as though they are happening in a movie? Yes. Almost always.

    Have you ever imagined your novel as a real movie? Have you mentally cast the characters with live movie actors and actresses? I haven't cast them with actors or actresses I see in the movies but yes, I write my novels as if they are made into a movie.


  7. Congratulations to Lynda! :) Carol, I think you'll really enjoy Lynda's work.

    Btw, Zac Efron is my Marcus in MONARCHY. I laughed out loud in my office when I read that!

    I always see my scenes as movies, especially when I'm trying to fall asleep. I can never write them down fast enough, or I'm too tired to get up, so I just try and play the scene over and over until I have it "memorized".

    My characters surprise me all the time. I can't think of any good examples right now, but they do, and I love them for it. It means they're "real" people and make their own choices instead of me playing God. I prefer it that way.

  8. It's so weird to see my characters go all nutty on me. Really bizarre, but fun! Mostly I do control them. I need them to do their jobs, so to speak!

  9. Congrats to Linda!

    I love imagining my books as movies! In the one I'm currently trying to market, I've envisioned Leonardo DiCaprio and Kyra Sedgwick as the 1960's southern political couple I've created. Nothing like good old imagination!

  10. congrats to lyn!!!
    and i always see my stories as a movie in my head- so when the character's make their choices- that's where they go. i'm a total panster though.

  11. I totally picture scenes as they would be in a movie, helps me visualize.

  12. Well, right now I'm writing a memoir, so yes, I've envisioned the movie and who would play me! It would have to be somebody who could balance serious with comedy. You were wise to take the drinking out of the novel! That's exactly the type of plot point that would make readers question things...

  13. My characters bully me all the time. Once a whole new protag barged her way into a book I thought was about somebody else.

    Answering comments via email is a great idea. I think some bloggers don't give an address in their profile because they're worried about privacy. But it kind of negates the purpose of a blog if you're unreachable. It's never been a problem with me. I just keep a dedicated blog address.

    Nice blog! I love the look

  14. Yeah, my characters surprise me all the time. It's one of the perks of being an unplotter.

  15. They surprise me all the time. Sometimes in a good way, and sometimes in a horrifying way! ;)

  16. Congrats to Lynda - what an awesome prize!

    Yes, my characters surprise me sometimes, but I think that's where some of the best stuff comes from, so I usually let them get away with it. :)

  17. I haven't gone so far as to cast the movie! But when I'm writing, I do close my eyes and watch the scene play out. I type while this happens, so lots of typos to fix later!

  18. I blogged about this earlier in the year. I have Matthew McConaughy playing the lead role, Jessica Alba the female Assassin, Seth Rogan as the Protagonist's best friend, and so on. This is a fun exercise to do.

  19. I am a new follower! YEAY!!! Hope you will stop by my blog and follow back!

    Emma Michaels

  20. Thank you SO MUCH Carol!! I'll send you that chapter today! (Sorry I've been out for a little while -- still on my break)

  21. Hi Carol: I love when I'm writing and one characters says something that cracks me up. That's the best.

  22. Oh yeah, this happens a lot for me. I close my eyes and watch it, and also sit still and imagine myself as my main character, see everyone else sitting around me and then I put myself in her place and act out her dialogue. I look absolutely crazy but it works lol. And my characters surprise me all the time -- but that is the best part!!


Hi, bloggy buddies! I respond to all comments via email if you have an address linked to your profile. Sorry, I have had to turn OFF comments from Anonymous users due to Spam.