Z is for … Zoom Shot

April 30, 2012

Z. We’ve reached Z. And, as the title says, Z is for Zoom Shot.

These days, with everyone’s digital camera having a zoom feature, the term isn’t as film-specific as it once was. It is still, however, a term used in film direction — the director will tell the cameraperson to zoom in (or possibly dolly in, if the camera is on a dolly, but that doesn’t start with Z!) to get a close-up of one of the actors or of a portion of the larger scene as a way of creating emphasis. Or, alternatively, the camera will zoom out and show the viewer what is going on around the smaller scene, to put the scene in context.

We do that in writing, as well.

There are times in the telling of the story when it is necessary to zoom in, after a group scene or a descriptive passage, to home in on what the main character, or the antagonist, or some other key figure is doing. There are also times when it’s necessary to zoom out, to look at the whole scene, to put the character’s actions in context.

As with film, the choice to do a zoom shot in a book must jibe with what the story is trying to tell at that point. It must be integral to the action, and must always serve the advancement of the story and the development of the characters. It can, of course, be used to great effect when the reader is made to think, “why are we focusing here right now?” only later to realize, “ah, that was the reason.” This is particularly effective in mysteries.

Look at what you’re writing right now. Do you need to use a different “camera angle”? Do you need to zoom in on one of your characters, or zoom out to show your readers the full story?

The A to Z Challenge has come to an end. So right now, this series of blogposts needs to

… zoom out and fade to black …

 

 

A to Z Challenge

24 People reacted on this

  1. I like this reminder, Beth, that we may need to zoom in or out on a character or scene. I think it applies a little less to picture books, but definitely applies to chapter books and upward. Thank you.

    1. You’re right, there isn’t often room nor space nor need to do zoom shots in picture books, but they do enhance the story in other genres. Thanks, Joanna.

  2. It’s funny you mention zoom or your Z word. I participated in a church Singles Ministry conference this weekend and was busy doing a lot of zooming to gather photos of attendees and presenters. And I agree with you. With the end of the A to Z blogging challenge, we can all zoom out and fade the challenge, not all blogging (lol!!!) to black.

    1. Sounds like your zooming was fun! And yes, it’s just the challenge, not the blogging, that will fade to black. It will be SO good to get back to normal blogging!

  3. Don’t know that I’ve really thought about Zooming in on my characters, etc. Really good post, and definitely something to keep in mind.

  4. Nice tie into writing. Hadn’t thought of “zooming in on my characters” in such a way. Great post. Can’t believe you were able to pull the entire month off focusuing on the arts, and then relate it to writing. A month well done!

    1. Thank you, Pat! I kind of can’t believe it myself! It was quite a challenge to find anything that would work for some of the letters, and for others there were several terms waiting in the wings. But PHEW! I’m glad the Challenge is over!

  5. LOL That last line made me laugh. And when I am not directly in my character’s eyes, I do see it that way. A zooming in on this or that.

  6. At this point, I just need to zoom myself to my computer and work on something other than poetry! National Poetry Month has been so much fun, but it has truly derailed all other writing. I’m hoping to find a little more balance in May–some poetry, but other things as well.

    1. You’ve written some wonderful poetry this month, Natalie — I’ve so enjoyed your poems. But yes, I hope to find more balance in May as well. Ahhhhhhhhh… it’s going to be good.

    1. Phew!!!! Good pun with zooooomed by, but truthfully, April crawled so very very slowly for me!

      Thanks, Cap’n!

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