Front Right. Back Left.

Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert

I don’t read a lot of blogs.  Maybe this makes me like one of those people who uses P2P filesharing apps but doesn’t share themselves. It’s a one way street with me. I either give or take and how much pleasure I derive from it usually determines which I do. Maybe not reading a lot of  different blogs makes me like that. But I do read Roger Ebert’s blog.

It amazes me. I always enjoyed watching him review movies on television, first with Gene Siskel and then with a cadre of other reviewers before settling on Richard Roeper. He was informed, articulate and funny. He is the Image of what I have also found to be every good professor I’ve ever had.
I do not write my blog half as well as he writes his. I’m not yet knowledgeable enough about literature in general, nor aware enough about my own writing process, to do it. But I’m getting there. And Roger Ebert is helping me lately.
I read one of Mr. Ebert’s blogs about how to “read” a movie. In it he talks a bit about his own learning curve when he first became a movie reviewer and he mentions a  few other critics/reviewers/books along with some methods he has picked from those books that he has found useful and right. One of these methods is how to read the physical position of characters on screen and how it helps shape how we, consciously or unconsciously, percieve them.  Roger Ebert eloquently defines it in part as:
In simplistic terms: Right is more positive, left more negative. Movement to the right seems more favorable; to the left, less so. The future seems to live on the right, the past on the left. The top is dominant over the bottom. The foreground is stronger than the background. Symmetrical compositions seem at rest. Diagonals in a composition seem to “move” in the direction of the sharpest angle they form, even though of course they may not move at all.
Thinking about this, I wonder if this couldn’t be applied to fiction as well – in the analyzing of it but also in the writing of it. From action/dialogue to the physical construction of the work, I have been wondering if there is a way to incorporate this “intrinsic weighting” into the construction of a work to lend it the same effect as it lends film.
This is something I’ve only begun thinking about recently, but it is something I think I will start looking for in the works that I read and begin experimenting with in my own writing. If it leads somewhere, I’m curious what it will lend to my work and how it may help in reading the work of others.

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