Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Where's My Montage, Damn It!

Once again I have come to the conclusion that screenplay writers have it too easy. They don't have to provide explanations for things, things just are the way you see it. They can work deus ex machinas like a stage hand in ancient Athens, and if that isn't enough, they get to use montages all the time, complete with awesome music.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love writing the middle of my romances. I love the building a relationship moments, but when your characters are in a holding pattern and you just want to show the passage of time, nothing beats a montage. You can't shift settings and time and make two sentences of dialogue work like that for you in text, you just can't. Plus, like I said, the soundtrack is an amazing bonus.

I can see a dozen scenes quick cut right here in this WIP, set to the jaunty beat of "Bohemian Like You" by the Dandy Warhols. Trust me, it would be perfect. Instead, I'll spend the next two days ripping out my hair as I try to figure out how to condense what I see in my head into the right two or three scenes to convey all that passage of time and incremental shifts in intimacy until I get to this next big show down. See, look at that bald spot. Man, screenwriters have all the luck.

Of course, when it comes to that next big scene, I don't have to pull a fade out, use tricky camera angles, or worry that my actors are going to lose their privacy socks. (See what kind of scene I'm eager to montage my way through to?) Hmmm. I'm thinking maybe being able to get extremely up close and personal—without a cheesy bow-chicka-wow-wow for the soundtrack—is a big point in an author's favor. And in keeping with the season, something I'm thankful for. What say you? Any screenwriters care to tell me I've got it all wrong?


Tam said...

Privacy socks? You've just crushed my dreams. :-P

I can see a montage would be handy at times. I love science fiction movies and TV but not books, I think because they can show me in one 2 or 3 minute scene what would take an author pages and pages to describe. So in essence, I'm lazy.

Relationships though I like to read about which is why I fly through the descriptions and get to the meat. Well, you know I mean. Umm. Yeah, okay.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

Would there be a hula-hoop in the montage??? lol

I actually have been known to write the word "montage" in my timelines. The thing that always really gets me, though, is describing odd body positioning. Get yer minds out of the gutters - I don't mean THAT. Like, I had a guy in the Arena fighting a wild wolf and the wolf chomped down on his arm, and he was using that elbow to hold the critter down and... yeah. I can picture it so clearly, yet there just isn't a graceful way to describe it.

Hey, the WIP isn't the next Fragments story, right? The excerpt didn't seem like a Fragments story...


K.A. Mitchell said...


I have had it pointed out to me that some actors just say to hell with their privacy socks or shields, which I guess matters only to whoever was being socked or shielded. :)

But yeah, SF and fantasy can get bogged down in description. Some people like Ray Bradbury in "The Veldt" are masters of dropping it in with just enough to make you see it without making you tune out.


No, this WIP isn't the next Fragments, which I plan to do next--if I can get this secondary character in this WIP to stop telling me his story. This WIP has been fun, minimal angst for the boys, lots of banter and sexual tension.

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