I have a fun guest post up today over at The Girl blog on turning The Shifter into a movie (complete with cast, directors, and soundtrack, so pop on over and check it out). Explaining why I chose someone got me thinking about how this could be a useful writing tool. Deciding who would play who or who would direct forced me to think about aspects of my novel in a way I'd never done before.
Actors, directors, producers, even musicians, all have styles and themes they bring to their projects. Realizing a certain person would be perfect for your novel can help you pinpoint those same aspects in your own work.
For example, you'd probably not want Quentin Tarantino to direct your teen love story. And if you do, that says a lot about the type of story you're writing.
Who Would Play Your Characters?
Casting your characters can help you visualize their physical aspects as well as personality traits. If you know an actor is perfect for a role, try looking deeper at why. What about that person so perfectly portrays your character? Is it a physical element? A personality quick?
My protagonist, Nya, has always been hard to cast for me. But when I did this post, I found a wonderful young actress who fit her, and it was her eyes that sold her on the role. There was a sadness to them that captured Nya's loss, yet a strength that also kept her going.
While you don't want to copy someone else's character, choosing an actor can make you think about what's unique or important about your characters. What that one trait might be that sets them apart from the others. What you'd tell an actor about them so that person could better play the role.
Who Would Write the Screenplay?
Many might want to write their own screenplay, but if you had to pick someone else, who would that be and why? What about that writer's style or strength made you pick them? Are those aspects of your novel you want to develop further? Themes you want to deepen?
Who Would Direct?
Directors often bring a specific look and feel to their work. (It's easy to spot a Tim Burton film.) They tell tales in ways that could hint at how you'd want to tell your story. Personal journeys in epic, sweeping landscapes? Maybe you'd choose Peter Jackson. High-powered action and plot-focused? You could be looking at Michael Bay. On the flip side, if you think Michael Bay is the man for you, then odds are you have a big, summer-blockbuster-action-movie-style story going on.
Who Would Produce?
This one might be harder to answer, since few non-movie buffs are likely know what a producer does let alone know any names. These folks are a bit like which publishing house you might want, which could tell you your genre or market. Are you more the traditional house, or an edgier imprint? Different publishers have different flairs, and if you know you'd want X house, then you might decide to play up elements that fit that house better. (Quick note: I'm not saying write for a particular publisher, just that thinking about where your book would go could help when you're revising, writing, or polishing to bring out things you always wanted in the book but might not have been able to identify or verbalize)
Who Would be on the Soundtrack?
Some writers already have soundtracks for their novels (or at least have playlists they listened to a lot to get into the vibe of the book while writing it). Thinking about the music can help you decide on tone and mood. Music is evocative, and the emotions that come to you when you listen to a specific song or band can be translated into how you describe your scenes.
And my favorite...
What Would the Movie Tagline Be?
The perfect way to think about your hook. A movie tagline hits that one "oooo" factor line that captures what's awesome about the film. It makes you want to see it, just like a hook makes you want to read a book. Studying taglines isn't a bad way to train yourself to think about novel hooks.
This movie technique might not be for everyone, but if you've hit a wall in your story or other brainstorming techniques haven't worked so well, give this one a try. I can even see it being useful after a first draft, when you have the basics down and might be looking for ways to flesh it out or deepen aspects of it.
Who would you pick to do your novel as a movie?