Over the past ten years, I’ve been concentrating on writing scripts. When it came to complete my unfinished novel, I realised that I was having more trouble than I originally thought.
This baffled me for several months. I had plenty of plot ideas for stories/novels so I couldn’t be suffering from writer’s block – at least not that sort. It wasn’t that I didn’t have the characters to bring the story forward. In fact, I had the dialogue pretty much down pat. Then I hit me. My main problem was my inability to write detailed descriptions of certain scenes and characters which make up the bulk of a novel.
So, how did this come about? Well, I came to realise that in scriptwriting, writers are encouraged to limit the amount of detail when used to describe certain scenes or characters. This is purely because you are writing for a visual medium where much of the scene can be seen by the viewer. This, of course, is redundant in books where the reader has to rely on their imagination to visualise what has been written.
Given that I’ve written both novels and scripts, I can safely say that scriptwriting has made me a lazier novelist. Granted, scriptwriting is a special skill and not every writer can do it. Then again, not every script writer can write novels.
My challenge over the next few days is to retrain my brain to write like a novelist. In other words, I need to concentrate on detailed description which basically means knowing exactly what a scene is supposed to look, sound and smell like. I’ll be reading Description and Setting by Ron Rozelle to help me with the technique.