Monday, December 2, 2013

Entry # 190 "Camera Angles"

Entry 12/2/13 Panama Canal - Jan Bowman
As a writer, I have been thinking quite a bit about cameras and the world portrayed in a simple photograph, and what that suggests to me as I write scenes for stories.

Whether a scene is from a print story or for a filmed version of a movie, I ask myself what is included and why is it necessary? If I, as the writer, change the vantage point and write from a different perspective, what is the impact of that change? I also think about this as I watch movies.      [Photos - aboard Coral Princess]

Panama Canal - lock from Lake to Atlantic
Writers need to think about camera angles when they write. The story changes when the camera angle shifts. Sometimes I rewrite a scene while pretending I have a camera strapped to my forehead. Where I turn my head becomes the center of the story. And then I must decide if that is where the center of the story is meant to be. Often I discover that the center is a different story, but it is actually the story I needed to tell.

In fact it helps to imagine where a camera would film the opening scene for a story. Does the camera enter from high overhead and zoom into a town, a street, a particular house, or a particular room and observe what is happening to people in that room? The location for an imaginary camera that a writer uses to get inside a character, or a place, or a moment-in-time, depends upon the writer's ability to imagine where to begin filming.
Looking Down from Deck 9

Changing the distance of the camera to the scene is a powerful tool in making vivid scenes and writing powerful fiction. What's outside the frame is as powerful as what's included. At times like these I wonder if I should take a class in screen writing, but I fear it will pull me even more off task.
Out of Canal - back to the Atlantic - Jan Bowman 12/2/13

About Jan Bowman

Winner of the 2011 Roanoke Review Fiction Award, Jan's stories have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, Best American Short Stories, and a Pen/O’Henry award.  Glimmer Train named a recent story as Honorable Mention in the November 2012 Short Story Awards for New Writers.

A recent story was a finalist in the 2013 Phoebe Fiction Contest; another was a 2012 finalist in the “So To Speak” Fiction Contest.  Jan’s fiction has appeared in numerous publications including, Roanoke Review, Big Muddy, The Broadkill Review, Third Wednesday, Minimus, Buffalo Spree (97), Folio, The Potomac Review, Musings, Potato Eyes and others.   She is working on two collections of short stories while shopping for a publisher for a completed story collection, Mermaids & Other Stories.  She has nonfiction publications in Trajectory and Pen-in-Hand. She writes a weekly blog of “Reflections” on the writing life and posts regular interviews with writers and publishers.   Learn more at: or  visit blog:

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