Should Your Novel provide a Movie Experience to a reader?

The most common reader’s feedback that I’ve got for Bloody Green was that it felt like watching a movie.

Being a snob I used to be, I got that as an insult. I used to think that I was some sort of literary genius whose work shouldn’t be compared to a movie.

Luckily, that delusion vanished and I now I feel glad that readers experience my novel as seeing a movie and I see movies as nothing less significant than a book in a form of art.


Until ten years ago, when I decided to become a writer, I’ve seen far more movies than I’ve read books and they had a huge influence on my storytelling style.

Since then, the things have changed, and I read regularly now, both fiction and non-fiction, but I still enjoy watching movies. The Oscar’s season is one of my favorite periods of the year.

I must admit, that I’ve always wanted to be a screenwriter and a director but the things sort of shifted and I’ve chosen a novelist’s path. However, it’s never to late to write a screenplay.

Movies have mastered the story structure

Movies, especially good movies, have nothing sufficient in them. They need to fit a certain time frame and anything redundant is excluded. There aren’t endless descriptions of somebody’s room or a favorite coffee mug. We are lucky if we see a glance of it.

Movies are more about – show and not tell. There are some characters in a scene, they want to achieve something, and you follow them on their journey.

Movies are visual and what fits into several pages of description in a novel, is usually presented in single movie shot. That’s the advantage of movie making. We, novelist, need to imprint these images into readers minds, and that’s not always an easy thing to do.

The arch structure is something that are movies very strict about; again, notice that I’m only talking about the good movies. Most movies follow a strict three-act structure, with exposition, rising action, climax, and resolution.

The three-act structure is something that we, humans tend to enjoy. We’ve been telling each other stories for millenniums in the exact same structure and mostly these, which are written in that shape, sustained the test of time.

Movies are about three-dimensional characters. They are built around the people and their actions. If any of these lack dimensions movies simply fail in artistic and commercial success. Yes, there are people who are interested in beautiful cinematic imagery, but most of us enjoy following a character arch.

Readers are also influenced by movies

Many book readers enjoy watching movies as well. Therefore, they are influenced by that shape of storytelling.

If a book can provide movie-like experience to a reader, then it’s a win-win situation for both, the author and the reader.

A reader who also enjoys movies can have two experiences in one and an author might be summoned to sell his movie rights if the book really resembles the movie structure and has that feel.