Welcome to my world and beyond...

A collection of snippets of the books I write and, occasionally, my life and the things that inspire my writing...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Special Effects in Books vs. Movies

It hit me tonight like a pie in the face--something I couldn't ignore, while I was watching White Christmas.  The difference between books or old movies, and the current crop of movie offerings.

White Christmas, like so many old movies, tells a story that brings characters to life, reveals their flaws, and entertains without relying on special effects.  

Books--so very much like old movies, rely on character building, and the reader's mind.  And there has to be a story--because there is no huge budget for Hollywood style special effects compensating for a lack of a good, solid, story.  

Not that I don't love a good scifi movie now and again, full of things that are food for the imagination.  But such, accompanied by a story that makes me laugh, cry, and wish for more...are just so few and far-between.

As a writer, I think it is my job to feed the reader enough to ignite their imaginations so they can set about creating their own special effects.  I want them to put a face to the protagonist, and I want them to see the world in which my characters live, but I can't give them so many details that it is all laid out for them.  I want them to see things relative to the world in which they live.  If I overwrite details, then I have stolen that intricate part out of the relationship between the reader and the book--the intimacy of living in a fictional world that is customized by their imaginations.  Those are real special effects.


  1. you nailed it..!! it is rightly said, "some things should be left to the imagination.." you are indeed a successful writer AND story-teller!!! bravo

  2. I so totally agree. When I read a book with too much detail, I find myself skipping over it or worse...giving up on the book.

  3. Marjaan, thank you, dear girl! :-)

    Dianna, I have done the same. We call it "skimming" in my house :-)

    It can be challenging, though, deciding how much is too much..or too little. Just like Goldilocks...

    Thank you both for taking the time to read this post :-)

  4. I agree with this for the most part. There is room for sweeping books with intricate details, but for the most part, reader's tend to be happier with that happy medium.

  5. Hi Rainy, thanks for giving this a read. By the way, I spell my middle name (Kaye) with an "e" at the end, also...

    I agree that there likely is room for overwriting, and some authors might even do some "under"writing. I reckon that (unwittingly) we writers do both, lol, weaving from one to the other like we have drunken pens or fingertips ;-)I know people who think it is nice to have detail upon detail in the books they read. (Not many, though)

    When I think of nothing left to the imagination, I immediately think of Tolstoy. I have tried, have honestly tried. War and Peace has been on my bookshelf for years. Anna Karenina is close by it. But I find that I skim...and worse, my mind wanders while my brain reads the words, lol... It is one of the questions that I always ask people who volunteer to read my WIPs, "Did you skim over any parts?" And the answer has been "Yes" at times. I don't know...all I can do is project my personal preference on the topic. :-)

  6. So true about overwriting! I love the imagination part of reading. Characters shouldn't be so stalemated that they can't be fluid in a reader's mind. You're so wise.
    Thank you, dear friend, for all of your caring and support this year. You don't know how much it has meant to me.
    I'm praying that God will bless you with every good thing in 2012. Hugs, Deborah

  7. PS: I do take note, however, that "A Bookish Libraria~The Bookish Dame Reviews" is not on your Blogs I Read blog roll! Agast! LOL

  8. Deb... I am so sorry for the delay in updating my blogroll but it has been taken care of :-) Several times over... :-D

    Online, sometimes we meet people whose goodness and sincerity come right through even the digital translation. You are one such person...bless your heart. I wish that a thousand miles did not separate us. I think it would be nice to share cups of tea with you and talk books and such. It was my good fortune to have "met" you :-) !

    I do hope that this year brings blessing after blessing to your world, and that you know the joyful wonder of love--each and every day...

  9. I know, right? They don't make'em like the used to. I'm taking a vow to watch more classics in the new year =)

  10. :-) Right, lol... The stories infused into the movies--the plots were better, in my humble opinion. Hi Raymund. Thanks for stopping by. Will check out your webpage shortly :-)

  11. Hi Teresa,

    I really like what you have to say here about the intimacy between reader and book. I am new to writing and will always keep this in mind. Sally

  12. Thank you, Sally! I am glad that you found a useful tidbit in the post. Nice to see you "out and about" :-)