Monday, December 21, 2009

Rambling about writing

My mother buried three husbands, and two of them were just napping.
  - Rita Rudner

This sounds like a funny suspense or something. I don't know about any other writers out there, but I study films or books. Now that I write as a career I never seem to read or watch a movie for the pure enjoyment any more. Even simple things, like the above quote I analyze. 

Movies, I watch for the transition from scene to scene, how they build suspense. How different directors build the tension in different ways. I love Dexter on Showtime, and this last season with John Lithgow has been one of my favorites, but I found myself waiting to see how the author would write their next scene. How Dex's sister is working her way toward discovering his true identity, etc.

Books, I find myself watching how they phrase things, do they over use fragments? How do they write their hook at the beginning of the book. Is there a hook at the end of each paragraph so you can't put it down?

Five years ago, I would sit down to a movie and enjoy, none of this stuff crossed my mind. Or I'd read a book, and though I was writing at the time, I never thought about the hook.

Now I can't seem to stop.
What about any of you other writers? Readers, do you ever think about the hook?

4 comments:

Lesli said...

Since I studied screenwriting 15 years ago, I've never been able to look at movies the same. I've discussed them so much with my hubby, now he and I would make excellent critics.
"You can't take back knowledge."

darceeyates said...

Everything I watch or read gets filtered through whichever instructive book I'm currently reading on writing. Right now that's THe Writer's Journey. (Love this book BTW. IMO it could be re-titled The Writer's Bible.) And I haven't watched or read anything but a love story in over a year. If it ain't about love? What good is it?

stanalei said...

I think about hook, about the plot, about why the author wrote that particular story. My frustration comes from when I can see what the author is doing in her work, but I can't seem to find it in mine. This forest for the trees thing is for the birds.
The upside is that the more I study the more some of the good stuff has to rub off.

Great food for thought, Mary. Thanks
Stanalei

Mary said...

All of you are so right. Kim I know what you mean. I can always find things in other's work, but never in mine.

Lesli, I need to get with you about screenwriting.

Darcee, that sounds like something I need to pick up. On Writing by The master--Stephen King is still my favorite!