Peggy Bechko: The Movie In My head – Writers Advice

seeingthingsby Peggy Bechko

I’m a writer, have been for a very long time and I write a variety of things, novels, articles, blogs, screen scripts. I just plain like writing.

I find it interesting that folks are always giving advice on how to punch up writing.  So, I can’t resist a bit of my own advice today.

Always, when I write novels it’s like a movie running in my head. I don’t know how other writers see it (well some I’ve chatted with have given me their general gist), but that’s the way it is with me. So I’m amused when I hear writers are now using ‘cinematic technique’ to bring their writing to life.

Amused since I’ve always seen things that way, but also fascinated that it’s coming to light. Especially now in a world of computers, movies, iPhones, tablets and whatever. Needless to say people are used to a visually rich experience. So writers have to step it up to get that movie playing in their readers heads.

So, in film there are camera shots and close-ups, but novelists can pretty much do the same with their writing.

Look, I mean a close-up is what we novelists use to keep things tight but give some detail to the story. It’s when we focus in on just a couple of people or just one and maybe allow in a bit of detail. Lots of times we write a scene that’s between two people with  dialog (hopefully dialog that pops). That’s basically a close-up. The little movie playing in my head focuses in on the pair and things in the immediate background that could be pertinent. The point here is what’s pertinent? That is up to the writer. A lot has to be left out or the description would go on on page after page after page. So focus on the details that give life like smells, sounds, faces (and their expressions) that make the moment more real, give insight into character and touch the reader’s emotions and that all important – move the plot forward. It’s not a chat fest – everything must be geared to moving the plot forward, in a novel as much as in a screen script.

Your novel close-up is all about details. The scene shot is a broader view.

You can begin with a scene and pull into close-up.  You can change the angle, reveal details not seen earlier. You  might think of running a movie in your head if you don’t already do so. Move your characters closer to each other or to something of interest. Revel what’s in the background that moves the story forward. Start with a woman on horse-back and bring her to the stable. Start with a guy lounging in a doorway and bring him into the room. Start with an object of little interest at a distance then bring the reader close up to see some detail that is pertinent to the story. A quilt at a distance, a quilt with a stain close up. A beautiful woman at a distance, a beautiful woman with an amazing broach close up.

Run the movie; take your readers into the story like they’re seeing it on the screen. That’s what it’s all about.

Give us some feedback – comment below how you create your stories if writers. If readers let us know what really grabs you about a book you really get immersed in.

Peggy Bechko is a Contributing Editor to TVWriter™. You can learn more about her HERE.

Peggy Bechko: Out Over the Blogisphere


by Peggy Bechko

Over time I’ve done a lot of blog posts, guesting at some sites, creating posts for my own blog. You know, trying to toss out little helps, hints, website links that are fun and helpful for writers and readers. It’s fun and believe it or not it actually adds to my own writing, bolstering it in a way I can’t really explain.

The flip side of writing blogs is reading them. And I follow quite a few. Some make me smile, others are informative, some give me heartburn and others inspire while still others manage a weird combination. I enjoy blogs, squeeze in reading them at lunch with my Kindle online, sometimes late in the evening before bed, sometimes on the move when traveling from one place to another (no, now while I’m actually driving!); on a train, plane (hanging out in an airport actually) or as a passenger.

Why am I telling you all this? Simple, really, I was reading a friend’s blog (a friend I met in cyberspace who’s become quite the blogger) Seumas Gallacher (his blog is over at and he made the point of how valuable it is for bloggers to share with others which blogs out there are great to read. He even started up a hashtag over on twitter #TBSU for The Blog Scratchers Union as a way of bloggers promoting bloggers who have something real to say.

Some blogs are pretty stagnant, yet are worth reading even if the posts are a couple of years old and it doesn’t look like there’ll be many, if any, more.

Some are much more like this one – Larry Brody’s TV Writer. Lots of great posts by lots of folks with lots of information and opinions. Plenty of stuff going on when the blogmaster arranges for new blog posts at least once a week – and many more than that.
I particularly enjoy it when someone goes off on a rant whether I can relate or even if it’s an experience I haven’t had. It can be a real eye-opener and even become fodder for a story. Those types of blogs are usually primarily if not entirely about the blogger him or her self. And that’s okay, that’s great, we don’t all have to be about informing or saving the world.

Now some blogs aren’t going to be to your taste, but the ones that appeal are definitely worth following; and leaving your own little footprint by commenting, mentioning the blog on twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook or wherever. You might even throw in the hashtag TBSU if you tweet. I’ve found a couple of fun blogs using that list. And if you blog yourself you might pick up a few new followers along the way as well.

So I’m going to go ahead and join in the ‘blog scratching’ and mention a couple of blogs I like at the bottom of blogs I do on a frequent basis. Make of them what you will. Meanwhile I’m having a great time.

In addition to TVWriter’s fabulous blog (which you’re plainly now following) I recommend:

My own of course at

M. Pax’s author blog (sci fi writer)

And writer of comic books & animal lover

So until next time folks…