4 Easy Writing Tricks You Can Steal from the Movies

Film (c) Douglas Arruda

Film-makers and scriptwriters are a clever bunch of people.

They know which buttons to press to make your heartbeat increase, have you grabbing a cushion to hide behind, and even make grown men blub like babies. And when it comes to creating hype about the forthcoming movie? Wow.

These are skills worth noting, so let’s take a look at what you can emulate to keep your audience captive from a writing perspective.

Ready? OK then – lights, camera, action


1. There are five Acts, not three

That tricky middle section? Split it into three parts, giving you five in total. For a start, it makes it more manageable.

Secondly, it ensures you “lift” the action at the end of each of those extra Acts – the critical points for the reader.

2. People don’t really talk like that, do they?

Listen to how people talk. For example, gang members don’t enunciate properly. They don’t say “is not”, they say “isn’t”.

If you’re writing genre fiction, don’t worry about your characters speaking the way they might in, say, literary fiction. Use short sentences, questions to create tension, and don’t forget that in real life, people always interrupt each oth –

Film (c) Leo Hildago

3. Credit, credit, credit

At the end of your novel. Not at the beginning when people are impatiently waiting for the story to start.

When you watch a movie, the only names you see at the beginning are that of the director, producer(s) and actors. Nothing else.  With your book, you only want the title and your name at the beginning (after the usual copyright particulars).

This is even more vital now that eBooks are here to stay. You need to grab your audience’s attention within that free sample they can download. So, keep everything else to the last pages.

Get on with telling the story.


4. I’d like to thank the Academy…

Following on from (3) above, your friends, family, writing tribe, and pet dog aren’t going to mind if you put your acknowledgements section at the end of the book after the story is finished.

This is the time to put together your acceptance speech – and plug your other books, or direct people to your social media outlets. And don’t forget to ask for a review.

Next week, we’ll take a look at marketing. Now, pass the popcorn – the film’s about to start.

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