By Sarah Yoon (Sneak Peek of FireStarters)

Looking for ways to hone your creativity this year? Give this writing prompt from our upcoming book, FireStarters, a try! FireStarters is all about inspiration, the differing creative types, and how to harness your particular creative energy to generate your best ideas. 

Avid readers often complain about film adaptations—they didn’t get the character right, or they completely ruined that scene. As separate artistic mediums, films and novels tell stories differently. It’s impossible to translate between mediums while pleasing every fan. So why not try out the challenge for yourself and adapt a movie into writing? Consider the scene’s pacing, the actor’s body language, or lighting cues. Movies employ visual themes through color and select inanimate objects that show up scene after scene. Dramatic music adds tension that is difficult to translate to the page. Filmed fight scenes don’t need any explanation, whereas written scuffles can be difficult to describe well. With these elements in mind, see if you can use the medium of film to enrich your creative expression.

  1. Watch a favorite film—preferably not an adaptation from a book that you’ve read—and find one scene to adapt.
  2. Choose one element to focus on: visual atmosphere, auditory mood-work, or kinesthetic texture.
  3. Jot down notes. Don’t worry about getting all of the details, but make sure to include a brief summary and information about your chosen element.
  4. Write out the scene and limit yourself to 500 words. Keep your prose tight and fluff free, communicating only the essentials.
  5. Set it aside for a day or so. When you come back and reread it, evaluate how your chosen element came through in writing. Did you express it as vividly as the film?

If you’re especially interested in working with visuals, try turning a film or novel scene into a comic. This will make you filter through the material to find poignant snapshots that best express the action, emotion, and atmosphere.