Monday, February 4, 2008

Distraction and Imagination

Last night, it was The Fellowship of the Ring; tonight, The Two Towers.

Sometimes, I need absolute silence in order to write, but sometimes there's something about the distraction of a movie or a CD playing in the background to set the imagination leaping to new connections (and I definitely need to look at the current manuscript with fresh eyes). Whenever I need help with a fantasy story, it's often the LOTR DVDs or the soundtrack CDs that are called into service.

When I'm feeling science fiction-y, Equilibrium or Dark City, Farscape or Firefly might occupy the DVD player. The first couple Spider-man movies also work.

For action or adventure, I might choose Empire (the miniseries about Tyrannus the gladiator), The Last of the Mohicans, Rob Roy, Braveheart, The Ghost and the Darkness, the Bourne series.

For a bit of romance or drama, perhaps Daniel Deronda or Ladyhawke or The Ghost and Mrs. Muir will provide the necessary ambiance. Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights--bless those Brontes--are for the darker moods.

Mystery or suspense? The Bourne movies again, or Hitchcock, or maybe the first or third installment in the Mission:Impossible series. The Illusionist is still fun, and Collateral can still make me tense.

Westerns or history: Open Range, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, either season of the Lonesome Dove television series, maybe Luther or The Four Feathers.

Humor might come from The Importance of Being Earnest, Strictly Ballroom, Much Ado About Nothing.

Notice how many of these films actually cross genres? They don't necessarily fit one hundred percent in an particular category, and that is part of their appeal. They reach wider audiences because many of them have a little something for everyone. That's what I want for my own stories: guys, girls, adventure, mystery, romance, action, humor, and more.

Now, back to work.


The Texican said...

Good Post. I just wanted you to know I was back in business. I also use music to stir the muse. Glad to see you are back in business.

Eaglewing said...

I gotta have music when I'm writing. Just seems to come together better with the right beat in the background.

Good selection of movies too as imagination starters. And the different mix is something I try to aim for sometimes too and what I really loved about the Whedon TV stuff. (Firefly, Angel, Buffy). There was plot, action, humor, and gut wrenching heartbreak for the characters. It wasn't just straight drama or action or comedy - just a lively mix. Kinda like life that way.


Yup. Life is definitely a mix: the good, the bad, and the ugly. The quick and the dead. Saints and soldiers. Uhmm, I think I watch too many movies!

Eamon said...

Some of the best books don't fit neatly into a genre (The Name of the Rose, for example: history, philosophy, crime, thriller).


Yeah, I think part of the reason classics are classics is because they not only defy time but neat classification. They offer a story broader than a genre's narrow definition.