Helping you to connect with the writer within
Sometimes to help myself capture the right tone, mood and style for a specific story, I like to imagine it as a film – have you ever given this a go?
Close your eyes and picture it as a mind movie, move through a scene or two – what does it look like? Is it bright, vivid and sharp? Is the camera steadily focused during long scenes? Or is it gritty and grey? Is it fast-paced and filmed in swooping shots?
Think about books that have been adapted into film very well. One of the first examples that come to my mind is Atonement by Ian McEwan, the film was directed by Joe Wright who also worked on Anna Karenina and Hanna. Atonement is one of my favourite novels and when I watched the film, I was amazed to find that pretty much all of the dialogue had been kept the same and not a hell of a lot cut from the original story; everything important was very much treated delicately and poignantly.
The story itself changes in tone and mood as things go horribly wrong for the characters of Robbie and Cecilia and Joe Wright managed to work with these differences in brightness and composition on camera to match it. The Sunwashed cinematography brings to life the hazy, heatwave countryside scenes – the innocence that was before the war. This is contrasted beautifully with the clouded, blue-grey filtered scenes during Robbie’s time in France as a soldier in WWII. Cecilia, played by Keira Knightley, always appears in rich, sharp colours, for this is how she remains in Robbie’s memory. The sorrow in his heart described in the book hangs heavy on the cinema screen, it is translated precisely.
So, if you’re a little stuck with pinning down the mood and tone of your story, ask yourself:
If it was a movie, who would be the Director?