Turn Your Life into a Movie…or a Book…or a Fortune Cookie…

Sometimes, I need to jolt myself out of creative lethargy. It’s good to shake up your writing style now and then, and it tends to send a beacon to your muse. Muses love it when you try something new.

A while back, I started journaling in the format of the film synopses I write as one of my paying gigs. These brief daily entries combined true events from my life with movie language in a hybrid form I found surprisingly fun to craft.
clapperboard A few samples:

September 21:
While looking out her window during a break, freelance writer Sandy Ackers notices that every single dog who passes pees on the same corner of the building across the street. Launching a personal investigationdog to discover the cause of this phenomenon, she soon realizes the canines may be engaged in a mysterious form of communication. Meanwhile, her work remains untouched as she strives to unravel the deepening mystery.

September 24:
so tiredA weary writer drags herself out of bed Monday morning, her body wracked with pain from yesterday’s 20 hours at the computer. Why, she asks herself, didn’t she work harder last week? With a deadline on Wednesday, she faces two more dreary days of eking words out of her bleary brain, which has become stuck in second gear. She soon spirals down into an existential nightmare, with random words flying around her head like a swarm of angry hornets.

October 1:
In this tense drama, passionate freelancer Sandy keeps vigil at her living room window, waiting for the one man she desires. As if to torment her, he visits every home across the street, ignoring her completely.moneySandy knows from experience that hours may pass before the mailman returns, hopefully bearing the highly anticipated check that will mean the difference between dinner out tonight and another celebration of warmed-up leftovers.

October 10:
Sandy Ackers loves working at home—until the wacky lady across the street starts accordianplaying her accordion. 83-year-old German Anneliese enjoys sitting at her open window and regaling passers-by with her tunes. The only problem? She’s terrible! As Sandy flinches through every missed note during her 99th hearing of “Edelweiss,” she imagines a host of hilarious schemes to wrest the accordion from Anneliese’s grip and restore peace to the neighborhood.

October 14:
Stretching on a Sunday morning, Sandy expects to enjoy a lazy day with her husband. What she doesn’t yet realize is that a malicious fog has been gathering in the night, surrounding her and slowing down her brain. When she fully wakes, she’ll notice the viral cloud hovering around her — and she’ll have to fight hard to avoid becoming its latest victim. This disturbing spine-chiller co-stars Headache, Sluggish Muscles and Creeping Pain.

red movie curtains
Exercises like this can make writing fun when it starts feeling routine, or help nudge you out of a block. I find that keeping myself amused also facilitates my creative flow.

fortune cookieBut this concept can go far beyond movie synopsis journal entries. How about writing your autobiography in the form of book jacket copy? Or discussing your protagonist’s current dilemma through game instructions? You could explore your world or create a fictional one using bubblegum cards, a tarot deck, highway billboards, fortune cookies, horoscopes…the possibilities are endless.

As always, I’d love to hear about or see any creative efforts from people reading this.


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13 Responses to “Turn Your Life into a Movie…or a Book…or a Fortune Cookie…”


  1. 1 eatlivetravelwrite July 20, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    OMG Sandy – I simply LOVE this idea……..

    • 2 stranglingmymuse July 21, 2009 at 12:48 pm

      Thanks, Mardi. I think you should try it with something food-related. Either memoir or fiction told through menus and recipes. Or a travelogue. Just an idea for your spare time…
      –Sandy

  2. 3 slacker-chick July 20, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    This is great Sandy – I’ve always wanted to be a movie star and now I can write about my life in script form and it’ll makes every mundane day feel somehow more exciting – how smart are you anyway?

    Here’s one for today:

    Meet Rochelle, a jobless, goal-less, slacker with no hope in site for sustainable work. Watch her as she attempts to merely check her e-mails before she starts looking for a job…see her slyly checking out her fave blogs, then, unable to stop herself, checking out her fave bloggers fave blogs… watch her struggle with sitting up straight, and unable to remove herself from her computer chair hour after hour…forgetting about jobs, food, her husband, her needy cat…watch as she’s stuck…forever…in the Blogger Zone!

  3. 4 stranglingmymuse July 21, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Love it! I’ve been lost in that Blogger Zone before myself. Thanks for playing, Rochelle.
    –Sandy

  4. 5 K a b l o o e y July 21, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    Sandy: those were funny. And they have the added plus of allowing you to talk about yourself in the third person, as if you were a pro athlete(“Allen Iverson just has to play Allen Iverson’s game tonight…”) or the protagonist of “Bright Lights, Big City” (You stare out your window at the curious procession of synchronized dog-pee-ers and wonder: are they attempting a sophisticaed new form of communication, or are you hopped up on too much Bolivian Marching Powder?)

    Cool ideas.

    Note to Rochelle: If you see little gremlins on the computer speakers, they’re not really there. It’s just a signpost signaling your entrance into …. dum,da, da, da, dum…The Blogger Zone.

    • 6 stranglingmymuse July 22, 2009 at 12:54 pm

      Sandy enjoys talking about herself in the third person — like an athlete or a Jay McInerney character. Or a queen.

      Thanks, as always, for your amusing comments!

      –Sandy

  5. 7 eatlivetravelwrite July 22, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    Haha! We ARE amused, Sandy!


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Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach and Writer.

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