As many of you know, I am about to go into my last semester at the University of Kansas. (I cannot wait to graduate!) School is a big part of my life right now, so that’s why I like to share my favorite books that we read during my classes. Since my summer semester just ended, I thought I’d do that again–except there’s one big difference: it was History of the International Sound to Film. Basically, we watched a lot of movies during the World War II era (before, during, and right after.)
Before I begin, you might be asking: what does this have to do with writing? I’m getting to that. I promise.
There were too many movies to post on one page (seriously) so I’m only sharing my favorites:
- Under the Roofs of Paris (Rene Clair, 1930, France)
- The Private Life of Henry VIII (Alexander Korda, 1933, Britain)
- Listen to Britain (Humphrey Jennings & Stewart McAllister, 1942)
- Alexander Nevsky (Sergei Eisenstein, 1938)
- Port of Shadows (Marcel Carne, 1938)
- The Bicycle Thief (Vittorio De Sica, 1948)
I don’t think I would’ve ever seen these movies if it weren’t for that class, although I wish I could say I would’ve. They were very enlightening in the sense that I do love older movies, yet I’ve never really watched the ones that were used politically from other countries during the war. It puts a twist on things, and it made me think. So this is where I get into writing tips. I’m always trying to find new ways to look at writing, and, when I look at life a little differently, I decide to line it up with writing. In this case, I thought about two things:
1. Silent Films: Imagine how difficult getting a story across must be when you cannot even tell the story. It’s like playing charades. As writers, we don’t necessarily have to worry about this, because our job is to tell the story. But what if we took a step back? What if we had to make a silent film out of the story? Imagine what would come across the clearest, what would be the most difficult, and how you would set things up to describe everything. I tried this prompt myself, and I might share it in the future ;] But, for now, all I will say is that it forces more emotions to come to the surface (and it might even help you change those pesky scenes that didn’t quite feel right and/or cut them completely)
2. The Other Side: Like I said, most of these films were foreign, so it was interesting to see how the rest of the world artistically displayed the war. Even more interesting? They all had the basic concepts laid out the same. However, I thought you could try an interesting prompt: imagine your story is being told by the other side, (in this case, by the enemy, or someone near the enemy.) How would they see things? Maybe they aren’t so evil, after all.
Who knows? Maybe you can combine the two and come up with a silent expression from the other side. That would be something, even if it were only for you to see.
P.S. Please support these wonderful writers and readers who’ve interviewed me and read Minutes Before Sunset:
Urban fantasy and paranormal romance writer, S.L. Stacy, took a moment to interview me, and it was lovely. My favorite (and fun) question? “If you could be bffs (best friends forever) with any fictional character, who would it be?” Find out who I picked here.
KatrPilr: Writer, Life-Living Extraordinaire: “The concept of Minutes Before Sunset is a breath of fresh air in a YA genre crowded with werewolves and vampires. Shannon A. Thompson artfully weaves two worlds together from two different perspectives: Eric’s, and Jessica’s. The result is well-rounded, in-depth characters, and a seamless story, while still retaining enough mystery to keep me wanting more.” Read the rest here.
Joe Hinojosa, Random thoughts from a random mind: “Thematically, the story deals with issues of prophecy and destiny, responsibility and free-will, and friendship and love. It deals with how people compartmentalize their lives, keeping a public face while at the same time harboring a private identity…Honestly, I have to say that it was an enjoyable read, so much so that I immediately read it again.” Read the rest here.
I’m always available for interviews and reviews at ShannonAThompson@aol.com. I will share it on all of my websites, and I will also supply you with a free ebook copy of Minutes Before Sunset. (My dream right now is to do an interview after someone has read it and asks about details in the book. Wink. Wink.)
But I’m off to complete more edits of Seconds Before Sunrise! Can’t wait for the release this fall!