One of my writing friends once asked me how I do to paint the pictures in my book only using words. You know, I´m an author. I don´t use pencils, colors or even a panel. I use characters, words and paper letting my fingers dance over my computers keyboard. But still, I´m painting pictures. Pictures of suffering, happiness, life and death, pictures of grace, mercy and sorrow. When I write a story I can see how all that happens, when it happens, and obviously so can my readers do. How do I do that?
I told her; pick a film you never seen before. It has to be one in a language you don´t know and without any translation. Then – see the film. You might even turn off the sound, if you want. See the entire film and afterwords write a review of it. It´s a great writing exercise! Tell everybody what the film was about, how people related to each other and how they felt? What was the plot, and how did it end? Would you be able to do that?
Yes you would! Why? Because just looking at people we understand the international language we all “speak”… the body language, the little gestures, and even how the voice sounds. You can tell if a Chinese is angry, ever if you don´t know the language. And that´s how I paint the pictures in my stories. Instead of telling everyone what they do, I explain how they do it; gestures, body language, voice, how they dress, what they eat and how they eat… and in that way people understand who the characters of my stories are and where they are going. I really don´t use much dialogue at all.
Discussion: Have you ever seen a film without the sound? Would you try it? What tools are you using to create that perfect picture of feelings, relations and moods in your writing? How do you look at life – what difference is it between a painting and what we call real life? How do you transfer the real life to the picture you want in your stories?