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.