old fashioned movie camera

A dear friend of mine is a writer and a movie aficionado extraordinaire. The films she watches fuel her creative process, inspiring her to write better, to delve deeper into her scenes, and to produce prose with an air of excitement and intensity that I think are directly related to her love of the medium. While movies do inspire me to some extent, it’s rare that I watch movies in order to be inspired. My itchy creativity comes more from books than movies.

Or so I thought.

Last night I was trying to fall asleep, and my mind went off on a tangent about how I see my writing, how I see the scenes. And I realized that I write very in a cinematic way, that each of my scenes is “filmed” in my mind. The spaces are defined, the closeups are scripted. I’m literally in the middle of a scene, and every time I think about it, I see the last place the camera left off; I know that Emry is standing slightly to the right, and Cora further up in front, turning slightly to see him. The light is from behind her, and it reflects off of her glasses. You can hear the din of the city from behind her. They are moving right to left. Very specific, but nothing that I write down explicitly. In fact, all of the scenes are like this. While Brick is being taunted by Ander, he is sitting down in a high-walled stall, to the bottom right of the screen. Ander leers at him from the top left, but the camera switches back and forth as they talk.

In essence, there is a movie playing in my head. I hear, and write down, the music. I describe the light, the sounds, but it’s more as if I’m writing down what I observe than describing something into happening.

I suppose, though, this “camera” has one big flaw. In that every once in a while, in certain scenes, the camera fades away and I’m looking through my character’s eyes. As Cora wanders her house at night, waiting to come upon her assailants, I’m seeing through her eyes, watching through her perspective. While this happens occasionally in film, it works to varying degrees, I think. Sometimes it comes off as hokey since it’s truly difficult to simulate first-person perspective through a camera lens.

At any rate, I know a good deal of you who read this also write. I suppose I wonder if you feel the same connection between film and prose, and I wonder how specific the “rooms” of your writing are to you. Or do I just have an overactive imagination?