Lights, Camera, Action.

The above title applies specifically to filming. In writing, you have to think in another direction.

Camera; First picture your setting. This is for the author to think about. Just as the film viewer doesn’t have to wonder where the lighting is coming from, the reader shouldn’t be aware primarily of the setting – not in your opening paragraph at any rate. As the writer, you need to know this so you can introduce your reader to it later down the page. It’s important but it isn’t the priority.

Action. This is important. Open the work with something happening – with immediacy from the get-go and your reader gives you their attention at once.

Lights. This is the secret to retain the reader. Throw light on the stage with back-story for your character. Give them depth in what has occurred to bring them to this point. And use every reference possible – psychology, physical appearance – why do they have that scar? What are they wearing in this situation? Even with ‘lights’ you need to feed this in subtly. Don’t slow the pace. Allow this information to filter in along the way. Other characters’ interactions can reveal flaws in your protagonist or allow them to state why they have acted in a certain way at a certain time. Here’s an example;Dark City

Camera; Jane moved forward at a snail pace. The uneven ground impeded silent progress that she sought.

Action; She stopped dead with one foot uplifted. Something moved where it shouldn’t have. She swivelled her eyes sideways. She knew enough not to let the dark form know it had been seen. She knew enough to freeze.

Lights; ‘I’ve been looking for you, Jane.’ The voice came from everywhere at once. She did not turn her head towards the thing that had moved. This creature hugged secrecy like a valued treasure. Far be it from her to allow it the knowledge that she knew exactly where it was. Nor must it know she came from its own lands where everyone knew exactly what to expect of such bloodless beings.

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