“Screenwriting is the art of visual storytelling embellished by dialogue – one picture followed by another, and another, until the story concludes. Television (I’m sorry) is radio with pictures. Short stories are almost impossibly hard. And novels live in the imagination of the reader, requiring a kind of painting with words.
It hasn’t been that difficult for me to move between the different disciplines. I think, however, ironically that it took many years of screenwriting to prepare me for novels. The concision of a screenplay, the momentum, the architecture have all bled across into my prose storytelling more than I ever would have believed possible. Initially, the hardest thing was letting go of the rigid discipline of “showing and not telling.” The internal life of a character in a film, or on television, is the product of indirection and suggestion. You can never know what they’re thinking, you must express it with an action, or through dialogue, or in the spaces between the action and the dialogue, like a kind of bastardized free verse poetry with its own syntax and shorthand.”
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