Monday, April 5, 2010


It's my pleasure to welcome award winning romantic suspense author, Patricia Sargeant. I had the opportunity to meet this delightful author last September. I'm please she was willing to stop by and visit us.

I've heard of others mention learning about writing characterizations and plot from watching how movies are put together. Patricia's topic takes this a step further and she discusses three movies and what she learned from them.

Before I get started, I’d like to thank Sia for inviting me over for coffee. I’m excited to be here.

I love watching movies. A really good movie can take you out of the theatre in the same manner that a really good book can pull you off the sofa. You also can learn creative writing tips from a well-written script. That’s what I’d like to explore with you today. What movies can you return to and enjoy time and again? What creative writing tips – if any – have you learned from those movies?

Would you like to start with three movies from my list? Great! But first, a disclaimer; these are old movies. If you haven’t seen them yet, you probably won’t. In any event, this is your first and only spoiler alert. Now pass the popcorn and sit back.

  • Speed: Talk to me

  • Speed, starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, taught me the value of dialogue for characterization. Who else has seen this movie? I see very few hands going up. Seriously, check your library to see whether they have a Speed DVD you could borrow.

    Anyway, Reeves’s character, Jack, is the strong, silent type. He’s a man of action and very few words. An example of his characterization through dialogue – or lack thereof – comes in the scene in which one of the passengers on the bus turns to Jack in fear of the action they’re about to take. Desperate for reassurance, the young man asks, “Is this really going to work?” Jack stares at him without responding. Strong, silent type.

    Bullock’s character, Annie, is a nurturer. She cares a great deal for the welfare of the other passengers on the bus – and that is shown through dialogue. Annie is driving the bus. (It’s a long story; rent the DVD.) She miraculously (It’s Hollywood.) completes the dangerous action that the young man was worried about. The first words out of her mouth are, “Is everyone all right?” Nurturer.

Mulan: What will happen?

Has anyone else seen Mulan? Oh, now that’s just sad. Your library basket is filling up.

This time, we’re going to talk about foreshadowing. Foreshadowing is like story seasoning. Sometimes, you can identify the spices and sometimes, they surprise you. Hopefully, it’s a good surprise.

Mulan is peppered with foreshadowing. Right at the beginning, the Emperor tells the General he wants to draft civilians because, “A single grain of rice can turn the tide.” Then they cut to the scene introducing Mulan. In this scene, Mulan is rigging a device that enables her dog to feed the hens while she does other chores. The scene demonstrates Mulan’s creative intellect. It foreshadows her relying on her mind rather than her muscle to be victorious in battle.

  • Frequency: Larger-than-life heroes

  • Years ago, a multi-published author gave a presentation on larger-than-life heroes. I had no idea what she was talking about. Then I watched Frequency, starring Dennis Quaid and James Caviezel, for a second time. Tell me you’ve seen this movie. No? OK. Add it to your library list.)

    In brief, Quaid’s character, Frank, is a New York City firefighter who’s desperate to save his wife from a serial killer. The opening scene of the movie establishes Frank as a caring risk taker. Therefore, his actions later in the movie are believable. However, they are the actions of a larger-than-life hero. The writers took Frank way out of his comfort zone and put his life at risk. Each time, Frank stood up to the challenge and delivered.

Those are my three movies.

What are some of your favorite movies, and did you get any writing tips from them that you can share with the rest of the us?

  • Heated Rivalry (A Kensington Publishing mass market paperback)

She Wants What He's Got

Valerie Parker is desperate to win the affection of her emotionally distant father and land a promotion at his advertising firm. Her biggest obstacle is junior partner Steven Crennell, a dazzling former NBA star who scores all the big accounts. But Valerie's attempt to outshine her charismatic rival unexpectedly leads her straight into his arms.

And She's Everything He Needs

Steven hopes to dispel the playboy stereotype left in the wake of his NBA career. Between battling his ex-fiancée and focusing on his work, finding his soul mate isn't on the agenda...until he meets his match in Valerie. And when competition leads to explosive passion, he learns that the game of life-and love involve a very different set of rules.

Read an Excerpt from Heated Rivalry

Buy:, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Borders

Patricia will be offering a copy of Tails of Love, to a commentor today. Be sure to leave me a way to contact you if you're the winner.


Award-winning author Patricia Sargeant writes romantic suspense and contemporary romance.

Patricia’s romantic suspense novel, You Belong to Me, earned third place in the 2006 Reviewers International Organization’s award of Excellence in the Favorite Debut Novel Category.

A voracious reader, Patricia first realized she wanted to be a published author at the age of nine. She was drawn to write romances because she loves happy endings. Her romantic suspense novels feature ordinary people in extraordinary situations. Her contemporary romances reveal characters struggling to overcome their inner demons.

In addition to reading, Patricia’s hobbies include music, jogging and hiking. She loves movies and she’s addicted to Law & Order and TruTV.

Raised in New York City, Patricia now lives in Ohio with her husband.

Patricia loves to hear from readers. Her e-mail address is: