Monday, May 5, 2014

TODAY'S NUGGET: Anatomy of a Murder (1959) - One Key to Great Descriptive Narrative

[Quick Summary: An army man is on trial for murdering his wife's rapist.]

Cinephilia & Beyond pointed me to this script today.

Someone (can't remember who) who said I should "pay particular attention" to the descriptive narrative.

So I did.

I found that:

- It's not a perfect script.
- It's long overall (204 pgs.)
- Some paragraphs are long.
- BUT I can't deny the writer describes things well.

He chooses certain details that make you a participant in the story.

ex. "Paul deposits his fishing gear on the table, lifts a brown paper sack from his coat pocket, stands it on the table. The sack contains the shape of a bottle."

We put 2 + 2 together and surmise the bottle is alcohol = The writer is telling us Paul drinks without TELLING us Paul drinks.

ex. "Laura is dressed in tight Western slacks and boots. Her blouse is Navajo with the laces open, revealing the push of her ample bosom. With open-mouthed attention, the eternal loiterers are following Laura's progress across the lawn."

Laura's clothes say she's provocative and knows it. She expects, and revels in, the reaction.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Good narrative has clear, well-thought out sequencing of images.

Poor narrative doesn't know how to lead the reader from image to image.

Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
by Wendell Mayes
Based on the novel by Robert Traver

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