My mini-review on the movie version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Awesome!
David Yates, director, and Michael Goldenberg, screen writer, not only have taken the longest book and turned it into the shortest of the movies so far (which you've probably already read somewhere else if you're a fan), but they've heightened the tension and action. I loved the book because it showed the characters becoming the people they would be. They made the choices that would impact them in the final two installments. But a lot of the internal struggles were--how to say it?--pounded home.
So how did the movie deal shorten the book so much but maintain the key elements?
By using the medium. We can see the character's reactions on screen. It helps that the actors are older and have become decent actors. But by using what's on the screen, a scene near the end in Dumbledore's office that goes on for pages in the book is handled in a couple lines in the movie. Another big part of the book is also handled in a few carefully constructed scenes or lines within scenes that focus on something else. The issue (and this isn't a spoiler) in the book is Mrs. Weasley thinking that Siruis is confusing Harry with James, Harry's father and Siruis's best friend. It is brought up several times in the book. Not so in the book. But you get it anyway.
What does all this mean to me as a writer? That I need to work on writing in such a way that it doesn't take pages to convey an emotion. To pick the right words to make my point without beating people over the head. I'm not saying Rowling does that, but Books 4 & 5 could be tighter. And I say that with love, to quote Jenny.
Maybe I do need to write some more short stories. I struggle with the format. I always try to cram in too many characters (a recurring issue with my writing) and too many plot points for the words allotted. I've avoided flash fiction like the plague. It might be just what I need.
Is there something you other writers do to help you hone that skill of conveying a lot with just a few words? I'd love to hear about it. And then steal it.