This past weekend—while I was surfing Direct TV channels—I came across a favorite old movie. Immediately the classic movie stars who starred in the picture came to mind. I can hardly pass up a good movie with Grace Kelley.
Rear Window was the picture—with the unmatched, Jimmy Stewart and flawless, Grace Kelley.
Alfred Hitchcock’s depiction of nosey neighbors lands Jimmy Stewart in a mystery—only he knows who did it, but not why and how. The film progresses and Jimmy Stewart’s character, “Jeff”, finds himself in danger as he tries to untangle the motive and prove his mysterious neighbor across the way is guilty of murder.
How does this connect with a writer’s rear window?
Well, for one, did you know writers are people watchers? Not the get-in-your-business, snooping type watchers, but watchers of emotion which eventually leads a writer into thinking about all the what-if possibilities. Before long a story is developing inside that secret apartment in the writer’s mind.
Thickening the plot:
Just like turning up the heat on the stove will thicken sauce, a writer must find something incriminating to create conflict in the story. It must be believable so why not sit in the local park and scope the premises?
A woman jogs along the pathway.
A man walks his dog.
A man dressed in a dark suit and sunglasses checks his wrist watch while waiting at the bus stop.
A black Mercedes makes a quick stop at the curb, the man in the dark suit gives a nod, and the car drives off.
Reality check: In real life, this situation happens all the time and is usually nothing more than everyday life…BUT—
Back to the scenario…
What if the park was being scouted by mob men?
What if the innocent woman jogging through the park was a timed signal for a pick-up or delivery to be made to the dark suit man by the leader of a mob ring in the black Mercedes?
Do you feel the need to panic yet? What if you’re the innocent bystander who sees all this happening and are spotted. Suddenly your life becomes endangered and now you’re the one who’s running.
No, none of these things are really happening except in the mind of a writer—from our rear window to the world.