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How to Write Cinematically

Cinematic writing is a narrative point of view to portray the experience of watching a movie and invoke the same emotions by reporting everything your characters do and say.

Cinematic writing is most commonly used in political dramas and thrillers, which is filled with lots of characters, multiple storylines being told simultaneously and big action scenes. Cinematic writing can also be used in novel writing as a tool to strengthen the story and help a string of scenes better flow together. You may find that more and more books are written this way, which is largely because of the modern age, as well as the heavy plots that need to outweigh competitors and prepare books to be converted into a television series or a movie.

The effect cinematic writing creates for the reader is much easier to follow along and move across different scenes within the story, without it being too confusing to understand.

Here are some top tips to help you get started with writing cinematically.

Consider the point of view you will be writing from

Considering the point of view you will be writing from will help tremendously in the direction of the scene and the important details you will need to note. For example, will the story be told from a third-person character, or will it be told in a first-person narrative? From what view will your character be physically when experiencing, and reacting to specific events? Picking your point of view will help you write in a cinematic style.


Cliffhangers are a key element of cinematic writing. Make sure you include cliffhangers in your story, to keep your readers on their toes and turning the pages. Not every scene has to be complete, from beginning to end. It’s perfectly okay to jump from one scene to another. At these points, see where you can work in cliffhangers, that not only tell the story but also show the story. This can be done using more descriptive language.


Set the mood and provide your readers with a visual image by taking time to describe the light in your scenes, for example, moonlit night sky, foggy and hazy morning, bright and sunny afternoon. This will help create the atmosphere for your readers, and create a good metaphor for certain elements, such as depression or happiness, and good or evil, just like you see in movies.


Music plays a huge role in movies and has the power to completely transform the mood of any scene. With the right music, you know what is going to happen before it does, because it tells a story, and contributes to the developments of certain characters and reinforces dramatic scenes. This is another key aspect of cinematic writing, and you can utilise this by describing what the reader would hear if it were a movie. You can do this by directing your character to turn on a playlist, singing, playing a musical instrument, or humming along to the car/superstore radio.

Writing cinematically is all about writing a narrative that creates an intense and detailed vision for your readers.

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