Good novels and good movies draw the reader/viewer in. They generate emotion and make readers/viewers care. Writing conveys more unspoken thoughts and leaves more visuals to the imagination. Film does the opposite, while paring down complex story to fit within two hours.
Revising an overly introspective passage of fiction a few months ago, I wanted to make it read more like a movie. At the University of Wisconsin Writers’ Institute earlier this month, Tim Storm and Ann Garvin told why this doesn’t work. Stage business in a movie—turning the key in the ignition, taking a bite of salad—adds realism without forcing itself on your attention. On the printed page, by contrast, stage business interrupts the story. Tim and Ann advised novelists to convey only details the character would notice, leaving readers to fill in the background.
I'm a historian who writes novels and literary nonfiction. My home base is Madison, Wisconsin.