Intro Summer 2010

Writing, Place and Film

Selected by Vallie Lynn Watson

I recent­ly spent a semes­ter in Wilmington, NC—also known as Wilmywood, or Hollywood East—drawn by the scenic back­ground I’d seen in var­i­ous movies and tele­vi­sion shows filmed there over the years.  I want­ed to study how film’s use of place could be used with sim­i­lar effect in fic­tion writ­ing.  (Only in acad­e­mia can one get away with call­ing a six-month vaca­tion in a resort town “research.”)

Playing among these Wilmington film sites and see­ing first­hand how set­ting comes to life as a char­ac­ter of its own inspired the Writing, Film, and Place theme for this issue, though I wasn’t sure, until I start­ed read­ing sub­mis­sions, if my idea even made sense.  I chose works that not only refer direct­ly to film, but also pieces that present place in a cin­e­mat­ic man­ner, real­iz­ing how our char­ac­ters and nar­ra­tors visu­al­ize the world around them reveals as much, if not more, than dia­logue.  Ann Beattie’s open­ing essay “Writing Visually,” explores this idea far bet­ter than I can.

This issue would not have been pos­si­ble with­out the kind­ness­es of Melina Reed, Gary Percesepe, Susan Swartwout, and, always, Rick Barthelme.  My thanks.