Saturday, July 4, 2009

100 Days to More Brilliant Writing: Week #3

Monday, July 6 – Sunday July 12, 2009 * Days #11 - #15

This week's prompt: Take a short sequence from one of your favorite movies, and re-write it as a novel. Pay special attention to the camera shots and where it cuts, as though the movie would be made shot-by-shot from what you had written. So if the sequence begins as a wide-shot of a suburb street, be sure to describe what the camera takes in--the trees and houses in rows, etc.

Successfully complete this week's challenge and you earn the rank of Adaptor of Film.

This week's goal: Complete the prompt (1 point possible) and continue to write for at least 15-minutes a day on 5 separate days of the week (5 points possible). (If you exceed our goal in some way, you can earn 1 additional point.) Remember to post your total at the end of the week, along with any of your writing, thoughts, ideas.


Sail said...

I tried to watch the shots of the first few seconds of a TV show and then use them to create a short scene for a novel that I’m going to write at some point. (I didn’t exactly do the assignment correctly, but it was fun adding elements in (e.g., the man in the derby) just because I needed that shot.

My exercise:
The ceiling was a smooth gray, like the walls of Xeri’s room. Xeri sat on the edge of her bed, feet dangling, the gigantic dictionary open across her lap. She flipped a thick section of pages to the left, and flattened the book so that it opened even wider. She moved her face so close to the pages that the words blurred. She wasn’t interested in reading. She had to find something. Xeri studied the deep line where the pages met. It had to be in here, somewhere.

The window behind Xeri was open, and a fly was busy working its way through a small tear in the screen.

“I know I have it right, I know it,” Xeri said to herself.

The fly squeezed through and arced through the room, landing on Xeri’s left hand. She swished the fly off, and kept looking. Thirty seconds later, the fly landed on her cheek.

“Leave me alone, fly,” she said. “I’m busy.”

Outside, a man dressed in a pin-striped suit and derby strode along the sidewalk. He kept his steps an even distance apart, until he saw Xeri’s open window. Then, he paused and unlatched his lunch box-sized briefcase. He had a camera inside and a microphone.

Xeri turned . . .

I used the first seconds of this scene:
11 July 2009 film writing prompt

My point total for week #3: 6

Betty Edit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Betty Edit said...

(spacing issues with the previous post--no paragraphs)

The waves crashed on the moonlit rocks as Vincent watched silently on the shore, his gaze fixed far out at sea. His brother, Anton, stood beside him like a Greek god, his perfect features set in determination. How many years had it been since they’d come here together, as children, to play this same stupid game?

But it wasn’t a game. It never had been.

Anton pulled off his overcoat and let it fall to the sand; his suitcoat followed. Vincent stayed frozen while his brother stripped and headed into the water. It had been so long since that last time, that time when the impossible happened: Anton had seized up and Vincent dragged him back to the shore. That was the last night Vincent had seen his younger brother—until now.

Vincent took off his clothes and the two set out into the waves without a word. The choppy surf battered them as they kicked and stroked (what do you call it with your arms?) their way through. Steam rose off the water’s surface as they passed the pull of the waves, and the two brothers swam neck and neck, sometimes one ahead, sometimes the other.

Clumps of seaweed floated past, and the moon lit the tips of the waves into pointed lamps; Vincent could see them on the upstroke. The men slid through the water much faster than they had when they were children, but Vincent didn’t look back.

“Vincent!” Anton yelled.

Vincent heard the shout at the same time that he realized his brother was no longer beside him, and he turned and treaded water.

“Vincent, where’s the shore?” Anton was turning his head all directions, fear apparent on his face. “We’re too far out!”

“You want to quit?”

“We’re too far out!”

“You want to quit?”

Anton’s perfect features scowled and set once more.


He plunged onward, and the game continued.

Vincent’s breath came shorter the further they went, but neither gave up; neither turned back. The water and the waves formed a rhythm against Vincent’s body, and he focused on the energy of the rhythm as he pushed ahead, ignoring the tiny tinglings of warnings that were coming from his limbs.

“Vincent!” he heard again.

Anton had stopped, and Vincent waited a second time for his brother to speak.

“How are you doing this, Vincent?” Anton asked. “How have you done any of this?”

For a split second, Vincent felt an acute awareness of the difference between his thin twiggy body and his brother’s full-muscled frame.

“We have to go back!” Anton yelled.

“No, it’s too late for that,” Vincent yelled over the water. “We’re closer to the other side.”

Anton knotted his brow in confusion. “What other side? You want to drown us both?”

A new awareness swept over Vincent, the fierceness and the passion that had driven him after that night, had driven him every day and every hour to become what he was now.

“You want to know how I did it?” Vincent yelled. “This is how I did it, Anton: I never saved anything for the swim back.”

The two brothers treaded water in a timeless pause, Vincent waiting to go forward, Anton safely hanging back. At last, Anton made up his mind and headed back toward the shore. Vincent watched him go, then started after him. They’d not gone far when, like before, Anton’s courage failed him, along with his strenth, and he started sinking to the bottom.

Vincent searched the water beneath him, guessed at the location, and took a dive. His brother’s toned silhouette was outlined by the moonlight, and Vincent pulled him above water, his arm across his chest. Anton coughed the water out, but made no attempt to swim, and that was how they returned to shore: Anton resting on Vincent’s chest, and Vincent staring up at the stars, not knowing whether his brother was unconscious or awake.

--From the movie Gattaca
(and that took me 45 minutes, not 15)

Point total: 7 (wrote 5 days + prompt + wrote 30+ minutes every day)