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Learning From The Masters

February 19, 2010

I just saw Shutter Island, and my brain is still struggling to rearrange itself. The movie is one heck of a twisty tale, and I’m awestruck by how skillfully the screenwriter (sidebar: yay, female screenwriters!) dropped clues along the way that didn’t seem important or glaringly obvious until all the pieces fell together at the end. Of course, hats must also be tipped to Dennis Lehane, who penned the original novel, but as I’ve not read the book I can only formulate opinions about the movie–and the movie is darn impressive. Its attention to detail is exquisite, and its structure pretty close to perfect. I wouldn’t say it’s at the top of my list in terms of “favorite movies,” but I bow down to its craftsmanship.

That kind of intricate, bread-crumb-trail plotting is something I’ve always admired and envied in the work of others. (I’ve previously raved about J.K. Rowling’s mastery of it.) Sadly, it’s not something I’ve ever been terribly good at. I think part of what impedes me in that regard is my tendency to plot as I write, rather than beforehand–an approach that makes it rather difficult to plant hints the first time around. Being aware of that writing weakness, though, is a step towards improving it, and as I continue work on my WIP I hope to keep better track of all its bits and pieces.

Do you lust after a particular writing skill, or admire a certain writer for a particular strength?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. jschancellor permalink
    February 19, 2010 11:23 pm

    Yup, Carol Berg’s ability to sell incredible detail in first person narrative. She’s truly a master!

  2. jschancellor permalink
    February 19, 2010 11:23 pm

    By the way, I saw Shutter Island today too and holy cow!!!! Awesome isn’t the word…

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