Friday, February 7, 2020

Visual Storytelling


By Sophia Gholz


Whether you are a picture book author or a novelist, the concept of visual storytelling is important. Now, when I refer to “visual” here, I don’t mean the imagery that accompanies a manuscript. What I’m talking about is the story that you bring to life in your reader’s mind through your words—the movie you’ve created.

Let me rewind for a second and give you a little background. In my twenties I wrote daily, but I was terrified to share my written words with anyone. Instead, I chose to focus on telling stories through art and imagery. I attended a specialty school for photography and focused on fashion. I loved how a magazine or advertising campaign could create a ridiculous fantasy shared like a silent movie across a limited image count. I spent years studying and working with images in a variety of ways. What I didn’t know then was how much that training would come in handy when I finally grew brave enough to focus on writing again.
 
As an author, everything you write is a mini movie for your reader, and you are the director. It is your job to lay out the scenes, set the pace, and the mood. Most importantly, however, you are the one who decides what makes it into your movie and what is left on the cutting room floor. What unique angle are you going to use to capture your viewer’s attention? Which slice of life or facts are essential to telling the story?

Close your eyes and think of your current work in progress. Now imagine your manuscript as a movie or documentary. Is it interesting? Be honest with yourself. Look at your manuscript through the eyes of a cinematographer capturing the film. How do your scenes flow? Are the transitions smooth or are they choppy? What’s the pace like? What is happening in the opening scene? Is there a way to shift the camera slightly to bring a unique perspective to that scene? Perhaps you’re looking straight at your subject. What if you tilt the camera and shoot from a lower angle? There might be a clock on the wall behind your subject, and the ticking of that clock is what actually sets the pace and defines the whole scene. When you write, you are holding the camera that will capture and tell the story. Are you going to film with a wide lens and show us the entire setting or zoom in and tell us the story through the eyes of a supporting character?

You might think the idea of visual storytelling doesn’t apply as much to nonfiction as it does to fiction. But think about some of your favorite documentaries or biographical films and all of the unique ways they presented their information. What techniques did they use that you loved?

The 2019 film, Rocketman, shares the story of Elton John. In Rocketman, we aren’t shown every single detail from life to present-day. The director had to choose a theme—a thread that would tie all of the big moments together—for John’s story and then edit the highlights of John’s life that were pertinent to that theme. In this case, one of the central themes focused on John’s desire to feel loved. Almost all of the big scenes in the movie relate to this central theme. Eventually, in the end, the film showed how John overcame the need to feel loved by learning to love himself. It was the director’s job to balance the theme with the chosen highlights and the pace, in order to create the strongest story possible. As your story’s director this is your job, too.

Do you have a favorite biopic film? If so, how did the director present the subject in the film? Studying films and documentaries is a fantastic way to find inspiration and new techniques that you might apply to your own storytelling.

One of my favorite docuseries is called Planet Earth (produced by BBC). In one episode, Planet Earth explores islands. In this episode, the show director could have given us an overview of the different islands featured. It may have been nice, and we certainly would have learned something. But in today’s tough market we don’t need a nice story, we need a memorable story. On Fernandina Island in the Galapagos, the creators of Planet Earth do not give us a lot of background, yet we learn so much about the island and mother nature through one short riveting scene filmed through the perspective of a snake and a lizard:



You see, the directors were strict editors here and left much of the island on the cutting room floor. They focused on a single nugget that created a visually stimulating story, while giving us a feel for the island as a whole. As you write, look for nuggets that you can focus on that would add a new spin or layer to your manuscript. Do you really need all of the information and details on that page or can you edit some of it out and tell the story from a different angle?

Whether you are writing a picture book or novel, visual storytelling is an essential part of writing. As an author you are capturing the movie in your mind through your words. Imagine, as you write, the camera moving through each spread or chapter and how you might shift the camera to show the reader something never seen before.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sophia Gholz is an artist & children’s book author. Her debut book, The Boy Who Grew a Forest: The True Story of Jadav Payeng, is a 2019 Eureka! Nonfiction Honor Award winner and has been included on numerous lists. Sophia is also the managing owner of RateYourStory.org and board member of KidLiteracy.org. Sophia enjoys writing fiction with humor and heart. When writing nonfiction, she pulls on her love of science and her strong family background in ecology. Since 2017, Sophia has helped oversee the Henry L. Gholz SEEDS National Field Trip Endowment for The Ecological Society of America, funding ecological field experiences for students from diverse backgrounds. For more, visit Sophia online:
www.SophiaGholz.com 
Twitter: @SophiaGholz 
Instagram: @SophiaGholz


ABOUT THE PRIZE

Sophia Gholz is offering the winner a choice of either a free 15-minute Skype visit for a school classroom or a free picture book (fiction or nonfiction) critique (1200-words or less). Prizes must be used before June 1st, 2020. 

Leave one comment below about what struck you in the post.

You’re eligible to win if you’re a registered NF Fest participant and you have contributed one comment below.  
  

194 comments:

  1. Great post, Sophia! I like how you led us through this post as a director would approach a movie. It was a "visual" way for me to approach understanding this material.

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  2. Thanks, Sophia, for reminding us to use a visual focus in our writing.
    Gail Hartman

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  3. Great post. Thank you for sharing!

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  4. Your advice was epic and I loved the film clip, Sophia. Thank you

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  5. Create scenes that support the theme and play with the camera angle to see what happens – thanks for the great tips! I'll never forget the snakes and lizard!

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  6. Wow. That short video was mesmerizing. We are all story directors! Great way to look at our writing.

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  7. Such an interesting and informative post! I love the idea of seeing my WIP as a director and using a different lens to tell the story. Thank you Sophia, for opening up my eyes!

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  8. Thank you so much!!! I will look for the nugget to focus on! You are amazing!!!

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  9. It's not easy but so important to "direct" stories in a focused, thematic, and visual manner, Sophia. Thank you for explaining this perspective so clearly! FYI, I sincerely enjoyed The Boy Who Grew a Forest: The True Story of Jadav Payeng.

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  10. I love the analogy of the director and the idea of trying different angles.

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  11. Sophia, so great to se you here and your success with The Boy That Grew a Forest. Congrats. Finding that through line and nugget is the key to making our movie that becomes our words. TY of the advice.

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  12. Thank you for this "When you write, you are holding the camera that will capture and tell the story."

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  13. Hi, Sophia! Thanks for sharing. My approach is similar coming from a background in theater.

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  14. Thanks for your post. When I imagine my story from several points of view it becomes easier to decide which "angle" is best.

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  15. Thanks for this insight. Trying to figure out what lens to use for your story and what info to keep and what to discard is so difficult! Your examples were so helpful.

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  16. I love the Planet Earth series! I can't imagine the film they left on the floor! Great advice-though hard to pick and choose when writing-or rather editing! Thanks!

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  17. Great post about being the director of our stories. And I loved the Planet Earth clip. I was just yelling at my screen, "Run, Iguana, run!" Thank you!

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  18. So, so helpful to think of changing the camera angle! Thanks!

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  19. Oh, Sophia! Before coffee for that snippet! I may not forgive you! Seriously, great visual reminder we won’t forget!

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  20. Thanks for the wonderful insights. I took notes to add to my current WIP as well as the project I have simmering and hope to start soon.

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  21. Such an intriguing idea=writer as director! Looking forward to reading The Boy Who Grew a Forest: The True Story of Jadav Payeng--it sounds intriguing. And run, iguana, run!

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  22. ❤️capture the movie with your words!

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  23. Oh my gosh, that little iguana! THOSE SNAKES! I've always thought in terms of scenes for my fiction but this was eye-opening re: nonfiction. Thanks!

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  24. Thank you for this advice.
    Becky Hall

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  25. I do see my words as movie scenes in my head when I write them...my problem is that I don't view the scenes critically and as a whole, so thanks to Sophia for the reminder to do cutting room editing of the scenes! That was a terrific explanation (and, yes, David Attenborough is a genius...LOL!).

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  26. I appreciate the advice to think like a director. And I'm a fan of Planet Earth too!

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  27. I like the idea of the camera, and choosing nuggets that tell the story. Need to apply this to my own MS! Thank you.

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  28. I love this way of looking at storytelling. It's true in fiction as well and gets down to POV choices. I'm a huge movie fan, so I think I instinctively do this already. But doing it with intent and focus is even better!

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  29. This is a great way to frame up your thinking on how you tell your story. Thanks for sharing!

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  30. Thanks for providing another way of thinking about story! Creating various angles is a different way of thinking for me!

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  31. I have always had a hard time with picture my words as visual images. Strangely enough, when I'm teaching my students how to write a true story, I always tell them to picture the whole thing happening in their mind like they are watching a movie. I think I need to give this another go! -Sara Ackerman

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  32. Great post, Sophia! Thank you for sharing your tips on why we should become the director of our stories. When I write I am always picturing what I’m writing in my mind’s eye… my problem is making what I see in my mind match the words that I put on the page.

    I also loved the Planet Earth clip… my poor cat, Cricket, came running in to see why Mom was hollering, “No! No No! Run, Iguana, Run!"

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  33. This is so helpful! I will pull out my current nonfiction WIP today and look at it with the critical eye of a film director. Thank you!

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  34. Love this way to view putting the story together!

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  35. Sophia, fantastic post. I'm tempted to try to write this fascinating heart-racing snake chase as a practice, to see how much of the intensity I could capture in words! I have built a short video as a teaser for one of my stories...helped me get a sense for the story in 'movie' form...

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  36. Thank you Sophia - for this post and your Rate Your Story. Both are great resources. I am learning so much about my craft from both of them. Loved the movie/director analogy. Loved your post until the snakes all started attacking!! Oh my! So glad the iguana escaped.

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  37. I love your idea of going back and imaging the story draft as a movie. How would the audience feel? Doing this!

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  38. Wonderful words of advice, especially the movie director role that we can deploy. Love Plant Earth and can't just stop thinking about that miraculous escape! Congratulations on your book. Thank you.

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  39. OK 1. now I have to watch Planet Earth. 2. I love the way you've described editing to create/focus on a theme.

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  40. Wow, what a great video. That is one I island I would not like to live on … or visit!
    Love your post about thinking like a director. My writing does come from movies in my mind, but I need to really work at what ends up on the cutting floor.

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  41. Thank you, Sophia, for this engaging post comparing film making to writing. Love the analogy!

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  42. This really resonates! Thank you, Sophia!

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  43. I love Planet Earth as well! It's so helpful to think of nonfiction from a visual standpoint. There seem to be many similarities between fiction and nonfiction–more than I previously thought. Thanks!

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  44. I wish I could add the dramatic musical soundtrack to my writing that the BBC can employ in their episodes! Or if Attenborough could narrate my audiobook...LOL. Thanks for an intriguing post!

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  45. Great insights! I once had a critique from a mentor that mentioned my background in theatre arts helped me as a writing get in and out of a scene gracefully. I love this metaphor and idea of camerawork and writing as a director

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  46. Printing and taping this on my wall: "When you write, you are holding the camera that will capture and tell the story." Thanks for great insights into how we can use visual storytelling.

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  47. Love the idea of thinking of the manuscript as a movie in my head.

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  48. I have a theater background so I think about the fourth wall in storytelling a lot. I really enjoyed your post...lots of helpful "nuggets" to remember and consider! Thank you:)

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  49. I love that portion of Planet Earth. It's riveting and heart-pounding. The perfect spot to speak about editor's angle. Thanks, Sophia!

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  50. I'm posting this sentence on my wall:"In today's tough market we don't need a nice story, we need a memorable story."

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  51. I love the idea of thinking of moving through your story as a film director.

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  52. Writers are also the cinematographers of our stories. Thank you for the insights!

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  53. Thank you Sophia for your connecting thought of an author as a director in our manuscripts! Perfect!

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  54. I love the metaphor of visualize your writing as scenes in a movie. This will be especially helpful when I think about those transitions or page turns! (And when I decide what to leave on the cutting room floor. Thanks for sharing!

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  55. Thank you for this post! I’m a filmmaker also, so it’s a great reminder to integrate my filmmaking background into my Kidlit writing. 🙂🙂🙂

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  56. The line that stood out for me is:
    "Are you going to film with a wide lens and show us the entire setting or zoom in and tell us the story through the eyes of a supporting character?"
    Very helpful for big and small projects.

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  57. Great post! So many takeaways and a video that left me biting my nails!

    'But in today’s tough market we don’t need a nice story, we need a memorable story.'

    'It was the director’s job to balance the theme with the chosen highlights and the pace, in order to create the strongest story possible. As your story’s director this is your job, too.'

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  58. Super! This is exactly what I am struggling with right now -- how to focus the story.
    Harrowing video!

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  59. Sophia - what a great way to see your words as scenes from a movie. Since I'm such a visual learner, this makes sense to me. I'm going to start checking all my stories for this angle.

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  60. That question of focus is really helpful. And thanks for that video snippet — it did give such a feel for the environment.

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  61. Yes, love it. That video was intense.

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  62. I may not sleep tonight. That video with the snakes is terrifying, like something only Stephen King (or the Indiana Jones folks) could come up with. I think I've just checked the Galapagos off my "to be visited" list. Your point is forever embedded in my limbic brain memory, Sophia, LOL. Shudder.....

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  63. I love the analogy of being a director and editor of a film while writing a biography. It reminds me of all of the movies (actually books) I saw in my mind as a child.

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  64. The video of snakes chasing the lizard was riviting!

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  65. I have used the tactic of thinking about my fiction titles as movies and it has proven enormously helpful in my writing. Thanks for showing us how that approach can work equally well for nonfiction!

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  66. Thank you for this post! Great take on seeing a story as a movie. And interesting how the director focused on two characters to tell a larger story.

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  67. Thank you for sharing your cinematic perspective on storytelling--great stuff! It reminds me of some advice I received a while back to think about the power of zooming in and zooming out in a story.

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  68. Wow! I'm going to look at my pb texts completely differently now. I never thought of the documentary angle. As I read I thought of ways that I need to change some of them. Given some time to go through them, I know I'll be changing all of them. Thanks!

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  69. Sophia, thanks for giving us another way to "view" our manuscripts.

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  70. What a wonderful way to look at our works in progress. I love visualizing my text as a movie, that will be really helpful.

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  71. Love it! As a visual learner, I'm drawn to stories that "feel" like a movie. Panning, zooming in and out, these are part of how I think of writing a story. Thank you for sharing the great examples and your story.

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  72. Every time I see that clip from Planet Earth I want to leap out of my chair. Yikes! Thank you for this excellent post (and thrilling example) about visualizing our stories!

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  73. Thanks for the reminder that we don't have to include everything in our work. Sometimes what you leave out helps to provide a better focus on what's there.

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  74. Thanks for a great post, Sophia! I love Planet Earth! I will definitely watch more documentaries and think about your camera examples.

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  75. OMG! First of all, you offer such tremendous insight into the craft of storytelling from a visual standpoint--even if you are not an illustrator. It completely opened my eyes to a new way of tackling a story. And then I watched that video clip--AWESOME! I grew up watching all the nature shows I possibly could. This was a wonderful reminder that I really need to make time for Planet Earth. I sat open-mouthed during the last part of that entire video!!

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  76. Thank you, Sophia! I'm going to try looking for nuggets to mine on TV tonight.

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  77. As someone who works in film and video I appreciate the comparison of picture books to that format!

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  78. Wrote this: "When you write, you are holding the camera that will capture and tell the story." and a couple of other sentences from your post down as reminders. Thank you for such a great way to think about writing non fiction.

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  79. Your focus truly helps me decide what to cut from my story. Thanks for your help!

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  80. Great post, Sophia, and it has me rethinking my WIP.

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  81. Wow, I loved that video! And I also appreciated the reminder to narrow our focus when telling a narrative...

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  82. Thanks for this post, Sophia. Got to go and "view" my stories and watch the movie!

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  83. Focusing on one nugget is a good mantra. Amazing video! Thanks, Sophia.

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  84. Thanks so much, Sophia. I liked your island example for zooming in on one aspect of a narrative while giving a feel of the larger whole.

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  85. Thank you for the great suggestions. The clip you shared really made the point. I was rooting for the lizard all the way and couldn't stop watching. Very helpful post.

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  86. Thank you, Sophia. Looking for a good nugget to launch and focus a story is wonderful advice. Now let's see if I can follow it.

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  87. Tilting your camera at a different angle. I get it!

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  88. Thank you for the wonderful suggestions. I like the idea of "looking for nuggets that would add a new spin or layer to your manuscript." I think the very best storytelling does exactly that -- capture poignant details that enliven the story and cause the reader to think more profoundly and critically about a topic. Very helpful!

    Celia Viramontes

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  89. Thank you, Sophia, for pointing out the visual aspect that we need in our words. I'm going to work on my directorial abilities and my focus.

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  90. Thank you for the interesting blog. A new way to look at my writing.

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  91. Thanks for this post. Will definitely be thinking more about the visual aspect as I write.

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  92. This is an interesting approach to self-critiquing. Thank you.

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  93. I was really pulling for that lizard. This post is making me think a bit differently about how I present the background information in my WIP. Thanks!

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  94. Write as if you're holding a camera and making a movie! What a unique way of imagining your story - thank you for a different perspective!

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  95. What a great way to look at my manuscript, as a movie! I'll be seeing those snakes in my nightmares, though.

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  96. Thank you for sharing your fascinating perspective for us to consider. It certainly makes much sense and will give us additional insights into ways to improve our manuscripts. I too will have nightmares about snakes though!

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  97. Sophia I love your movie analogy. I always find the book to be better than the movie.

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  98. This is so true. I often picture my stories as animated movies. And sometimes I think of a specific animated movie for its style of animation that I could picture my story as to help visual the emotion and actions.
    -Ashley Congdon

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  99. Thanks for comparing the writing of a non-fiction story to creating a documentary film.
    However, I must disagree on your description of the Planet Earth segment - it was not a snake and a lizard - but SO MANY SNAKES versus ONE lizard that created the tension in this scene. Thanks, again!

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  100. Thank you! You may have helped me find a way to work around the writer’s blick that has plagued me on a particular project.

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  101. I love your analogy comparing writing to movie making and your suggestion to view a story from different angles. Great advice! Thank you - Priscilla

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  102. I've always loved that writers get to create an image in the reader’s mind...thank you for a very relatable way to make that image the best and most interesting it can be!

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  103. This is something I started to practice more after taking Storyteller Academy courses. Your post is very helpful. Congratulations on your book!

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  104. A “mini movie” I love this.

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  105. What a great idea to imagine a manuscript as a movie or documentary, and then ask, "Is it interesting?" Thank you, Sophia!

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  106. This is an exciting, and memorable, take on the editing process! Thank you Sophia.

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  107. This is great! I struggle to think visually, so this was really helpful!

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  108. And the Cinematography Oscar goes to the folks filming that amazing dance between life & death--wow! And who doesn't love Attenborough's voice overs :)

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  109. I loved the "close your eyes" exercise. I'm currently drafting an MS about a larger than life character and his story is so unique I'm getting lost on what to focus on. I never considered viewing it as a movie was very helpful for picking the elements I should focus.

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  110. I love this way of looking at our writing. So helpful.

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  111. Thank you! I like the idea of picturing your work as a movie.

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  112. Although I haven't seen Rocketman yet, I'm glued to the television when shows like Nature are on. As I think back on some of the more memorable episodes, I understand now that it's the focus and threads that make me remember them and want to rewatch - just as I hope readers will want to reread my stories someday. Thanks so much for sharing your perspective.

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  113. Such good advice and such great examples! Action, Cut! Thanks for sharing with us!

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  114. Love the idea of thinking of our stories as mini-movies. Thank you for these insightful tips.

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  115. I would love to have you skype with my fourth graders! I realize I have done this idea of finding a theme or a thread and carrying it through the manuscript in my book From Behind All the Veils: The Story of Táhirih. It wasn't intentional at first but when I revised I saw that theme and strengthened it.

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  116. Sophia, thank you so much for the idea of focusing on the visuals, something I don't think about enough. I like the idea of thinking of my story as a mini-movie.

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  117. Sophia, I come from a journalism background and completely agree with your visual storytelling philosophy. Thanks for sharing!

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  118. This visual storytelling is part of my struggle with my picture book manuscript. I enjoyed how you compared this idea with movies and how you gave examples to help explain and clarify this idea for us.

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  119. Your comparison to movie making made so much sense, especially the part about leaving a lot on the editing room floor. It's hard to decide what to keep and what to cut and your examples of films really helps. Thank you!

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  120. Thanks, Sophia! Imagining my story as a movie is something I’ve never done. It’ll definitely help bring a different perspective to my stories, both F and NF.

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  121. Love your idea of visual storytelling. I am the director of my story! Thanks, Sophia!

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  122. Great post Sophia! The image you created really helps us think about how we're spinning and tightening our stories to make them unique. Brava!

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  123. I love this post! Thank you for your comparison to making a film. Great example in "Planet Earth".

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  124. Thank you! This: "What is happening in the opening scene? Is there a way to shift the camera slightly to bring a unique perspective to that scene?" gave me a new idea for the opening of my NF PB bio.

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  125. Thank you so much! I am going through my NF draft now and making sure there are enough scenes and double checking to see if I have created a "mini movie." Great post!

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  126. Brilliant to think of ourselves as the directors of our stories. Zooming in and panning out, leaving things on the cutting room floor. Great analogy. Thank you.

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  127. I love this perspective on visualizing a story we are writing - I used to tell my students to make a movie in their head as they read in order to help them remember it, but never really flipped the concept for my own writing.

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  128. Love this cinematic lens on creative writing! Thank you.

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  129. I absolutely love thinking about how our scenes would play out on film. I've heard that each page in a PB needs to be its own scene so I do try to visually what elements would be on each page while writing it. Can I see it? Touch it? Feel it? That drives me forward to the next scene.

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  130. What a wonderful way to think about planning out a book. Thank you for sharing this with us!

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  131. Michelle Nott - Thank you for this advice.

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  132. WOW! You gave me as o much to think about. I am going to look at the different angles in scenes I've written to see what the story movie would look like.Thanks!

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  133. Thank you for this post. Very helpful perspective!

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  134. I think visually naturally, so the PB format is ideal for me as a creative nonfiction writer. What struck me about your post is the necessity to think in scenes. Thanks!

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  135. I appreciated your inviting us to tie the big moments together and then draw out those that fit into the theme. And the reminder to watch and re-watch biopic films. Thank you for this wonderful post!

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  136. Go Iguana! Thank you for sharing your mini movie advice. I often write too much, so focusing on one tidbit and angle was good for me to think about.

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  137. BBC nature docs are so good at picking the moments that show (don't tell) a story. What a great reminder of how to direct what we are producing!

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  138. Thank yo Sophia, I like the idea of approaching our MSs as films and "watching"/writing them as scenes. Thanks for a great post.

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  139. Great advice! This post just gave me inspiration for how to fix a scene in a WIP that wasn't quite working.

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  140. Wonderful advice. I especially liked the idea of the different camera angles. I just realized that all my writing is from a straight on angle, so I'll definitely be revisising latern today. Thank you. -Karen Brueggeman :)

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  141. Great perspective! Loved the idea that "when you write, you are holding the camera that will capture and tell the story."

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  142. Thank you for a great post - I love being reminded to look at my ms from different angles.

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  143. Great suggestions to help us visualize our stories.

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  144. Thanks for letting us see the collaborative process that is publishing. Slaving away on our books in our office, we can lose sight of the bigger picture.

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  145. Thank you. I need to copy this and keep it right next to my works in progress! it makes so much sense.

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  146. Love the idea of holding the camera when we write. Your questions are thought provoking. I need to keep that list handy and refer to it as I consider my WIPs.

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  147. Crazy video, really captivating! I enjoyed your suggested exercise to close your eyes and see your story as a movie. Thanks

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  148. Makes a lot of sense to imagine the text as a movie. Thanks so much, Sophia. This will help me with my current WIP.

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  149. This ways a great way to look at your story. I can visually see my story but now I can look at in all different angles just like a movie.

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  150. Thank you so much for this new "lens" with which to view my current WIP, Sophia! This is wonderful. :)

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  151. So interesting and helpful to think of ourselves as story directors.

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  152. Yipes! And as I held my breath for the iguana (knowing that snakes need to eat, too) I felt what you had told me. Made me realize how very much like what can be done in a successful classroom . . .

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  153. An absolutely fantastic post about visual storytelling. Now, I'd rather review all my MSs while this is fresh on my mind instead of doing any "real job" work, but duty calls. Can't wait to apply some of these techniques tonight, then. Thanks for the great post!

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  154. I love your process. When I am writing, I don't see words on the screen, I see a movie in my head. Going back during the editing phase, then I get to see if I captured the movie or left out details that make it work. Thank you!

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  155. My goodness visual storytelling. Choosing the right nuggets and presenting them in a unique, dramatic way. I love this post. I think in pictures as I write, and yet I am still putting to much on the page. What do I leave on the cutting room floor? The parts that do not center on the theme I've articulated. Okay . . . STop, Revision Time!

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  156. I love this! Thank you for this idea of thinking like a movie director. I can't wait to give it a try.
    -Rebecca Blankinship

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  157. Today's readers - even PB readers - are so media savvy and expect a great experience just like when watching a show or movie. Your suggestion to bring the visual elements to life make so much sense when writing for this age group. Finding those "nuggets" and adjusting the camera angle to something new and exciting is key to reaching those readers and getting them interested in and excited about our stories.

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  158. LOVE the video and focusing on visual storytelling. Thank you Sophia! Be Inspired, Nicki Jacobsmeyer

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  159. I love the idea of visualizing the story, and concentrating on the nugget! Priceless advice! Thank you.

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  160. Great advice! I love your book: The Boy Who Grew A Forest. Thank you, Sophia!

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  161. OMG That Planet Earth clip really showed what you were talking. Thanks. Maria Johnson

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  162. Visualizing the story is so helpful and so is acting it out with dialogue. Someone is a writing group once told me that we authors need to know how the actors get onto the stage and off again, but that the audience (readers) only need to see what is on the stage. Thank you for sharing this.

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  163. Kathleen Cornell-BermanFebruary 10, 2020 at 5:31 PM

    Thanks for such a fantastic post about becoming a film director and developing a manuscript into an engaging film.

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  164. I love the idea of being the director of my film/story. Thank you! It's true that as one writes, scenes unfold visually before our mind's eye.

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  165. My heart stopped watching that video! Thanks for the lesson.

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  166. This is a really great post! It gave me a lot to think about!

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  167. Focusing on the single nugget that creates a story, while giving a feel for the whole--that's a challenge! Thanks for this post, which has given me (as someone who struggles to think visually) a lot to think about!

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  168. I was on the edge of my seat watching that video! Love the idea of visualizing a manuscript. Thanks!

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  169. Sophia, you've done a great job of helping us 'focus' on the possibilities for finding new angles from which to tell a story. LOVED the film clip example!

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  170. Sophia, you mad a great case for your post in sharing that video! My heart is pounding. The conflict between two characters is there, action, failures, successes, pacing, tension, oh boy! Thanks for telling about how afraid you were to share your work in the beginning- I was like that also. I really enjoyed your post.

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  171. I need to check out some of the books you mention in this post. Some good points to think about.

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  172. ooh! that was a really heart-thumping lizard escape! Thanks for the powerful example.

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  173. I love the idea of approaching your story as a film. And that video clip was hair raising!

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  174. I remember telling my husband "You have to see this Planet Earth. It was the dramatic scene I have ever seen!" I think every viewer forgot to breath and felt their armpits drip during that scene. That's a new angle to consider when writing picture books!

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  175. Thanks for the post. I like the idea of looking at movies or shows about a person to see how they weaved the thread.

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  176. What a great way to get action and a good story along with the facts. Thank you.

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  177. thanks for the reminder to focus on that "one nugget". It is so easy to get sidetracked and include to much info.

    Another takeaway from this post is "But in today’s tough market we don’t need a nice story, we need a memorable story." Yes. A memorable story will want to be read again and again and again.

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  178. What a terrific idea to "imagine your manuscript as a movie or documentary." This makes it very real for me, thank you! I'm also excited to learn about Rate Your Story.

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  179. Wow! That video! Those snakes sneaking out from every rock, one after the other! So much drama and intrigue! The overall point of writing as though we are movie directors is excellent.

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  180. I love the idea of helping a kid to make their own pictures by using the movie camera technique. I did a weekend class with Darcy Pattison where we practiced the kind of shot we wanted to give our readers.

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  181. I'm revising a manuscript right now and am going to look at it through a different lens.

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  182. Excellent post, Sophia. This is a great take away for me in both creation and revision. I think it will help me look at my manuscript more objectively.

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  183. Sophia, I loved your perspective about using the visual in your story creation. I need that reminder when I write--at the beginning of the process as well as during revision. Thank you!

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  184. I've seen that clip of Planet Earth and it is the stuff of (my) nightmares! And yet, I clicked to watch again because it was so powerful. I appreciate the idea of focusing on a nugget that can add layers to my MS.

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  185. What an amazing way to create and revise! Thank you, Sophia! Fantastic video!

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  186. This is an awesome concept! I tend to visual more when I'm working on illustrations, but it definitely helps with the writing too.

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  187. I love the concept of thinking about how you'll hold the camera. Thanks for sharing these tips!

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  188. Wonderful reminder of how precise editing and what you leave out can shape and impact a reader's experience. Thank you!

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  189. Love this post! Thank you! Such a great idea to think in terms of a movie, and to think about how documentaries present their stories.

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