How Movies Can Inspire Your Writing

In Book 1, I needed to create a very important, climactic scene where a character goes from “I don’t want to live anymore” to “I will burn this world to the ground” (which is, suffice to say, a complete 180 degree turn). Writing a sequence with that sort of character turn is daunting, but scenes like that do exist all around us.

In addition to being an avid reader, I’m a movie buff. Sometimes I find that watching something visually similar (rather than reading something similar) can help me write a scene. The biggest benefit is I still need to be the one who applies the words. There’s no skimping on this!

I remember one of the best bits of “research” that I did was to watch this scene from Dark Knight Rises, because Bruce Wayne goes from thinking being willing to die for a cause makes him formidable — to realizing that it’s the fear of death that makes men stronger. I watched this sequence multiple times for insight:

This scene absolutely helped me to think of how my character was going to make that 180 degree shift. I decided to go the route of chipping away at the psyche, as in providing little vignettes that gave insight into who this character was — particularly, how this character’s past translated to the future. It’s one of the most integral and (in my opinion) best scenes of the book.

Oftentimes, I’ll find myself thinking, “I’m going to work on Character X this weekend,” and that influences what movie I decide to put in the blu-ray player. I need frames of reference, even if they aren’t direct correlations.

Here are some of my influences for some of my main characters:

  • Melandor Ormonde (“The Ormonde”) and Selatse: the TV mini-series, Atilla the Hun
  • Helain the White: (my newest influence) Captain America and the Winter Soldier, as in he’s very Winter Soldier-esque. I need to see that movie again! He’s also very Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings trilogy and very Tristan from King Arthur.
  • Caius Raynor: (my favorite movie) Gladiator
  • Book 1’s Peylon Morgenroth: Mordred in Mists of Avalon. Pretty much any incarnation of Mordred will do. I have a thing for brat princes. 🙂

What sort of movies inspires your characters? Do you watch specific scenes to get motivated?

In honor of the upcoming #PitchSlam, I’m going to discuss musical influences next. Be prepared. I’m a geek when it comes to instrumental soundtracks!


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