Film as Inspiration for Fiction by Jay Cliffix | Resources | Better Fiction Guides | Plotting and Planning
Jay Cliffix

Jay Cliffix

Author Jay Cliffix on how film has played such an integral part of his writing life . . .

After twelve years, I finally managed to publish my second novel. However, a significant portion of my time during the long year gap was dedicated to writing nearly 1,000 online film reviews as a film critic. It struck me as ironic that I was devoting most of my energy to critiquing the creative work of others instead of completing my own.

In addition to reviewing films, I had the opportunity to interview film celebrities from around the world, including actors, actresses, and directors. I didn’t need to ask them banal questions to understand their greatest pursuit: the desire to have their creative work seen, praised, and recognised. Nevertheless, a nagging question persisted throughout my career in the film and entertainment industry: if I firmly believed in my gift for creative writing, what was preventing me from pursuing a career as a productive novelist?

Being involved in the film industry has been a stroke of luck for me. I have witnessed the most imaginative stories and encountered promising talents who undoubtedly faced numerous struggles in order to present their best work to the audience. It serves as a constant reminder that giving up is never an option if I wish to fulfil my own dreams. I must admit that I feel a twinge of jealousy towards successful filmmakers whose dreams are grand and glamorous. However, acknowledging this jealousy is crucial for me as it serves as fuel to propel me forward, to become the very essence that nourishes my own aspirations. I need to remain immersed in such a dreamlike atmosphere, constantly driven by the fact that I still have an unfinished story to tell—a series of novels of which only a small part has been officially published.

StarNeedless to say, my love for films is profound. They have been an integral part of my upbringing, with me watching over a hundred films every year. Films of all genres have nourished and influenced me, except perhaps for hardcore horror or slasher films, which I am not brave enough to watch. As a novelist who delves into swords, spells, and alien creatures, I have a particular fondness for the fantasy genre. While I haven’t actively drawn inspiration from the breathtaking fight scenes or extravagant displays of magic on the silver screen, there is no denying that they have subtly shaped and influenced my approach to constructing and structuring my own stories.

Furthermore, I am constantly given “warnings” in the form of thoughts like, “Oh, I had contemplated that same narrative before!” or “Hah, the director and screenwriter share similar visions with me.” I realised that if I didn’t jot down the ideas that emerged in my mind beforehand, the well of plots and imagery would quickly run dry. And one day, I might regret not having tried harder to achieve what I truly desired when I had the time to do so.

Films, like novels, are subjective forms of literature. However, there are certain formulas that tend to guarantee success in most works of literature (unless, of course, an unusual and unpredictable style is deliberately adopted at the outset of the creative process). Thanks to my continuous practice of writing film reviews, I have become exceptionally discerning in defining what works and what doesn’t in the genre. I have developed a keen understanding of which elements are visually appealing and which may be too risky or complex to handle. This self-awareness has bestowed upon me a cautious mindset, preventing me from “going berserk”—delving into the realm of nonsensical and incoherent storylines.

I heavily rely on sounds and visuals to guide me in my creative writing process. I review the written chapters of my novel repeatedly, as if watching scenes unfold in a film. (This reminds me of Bryce Dallas Howard’s character reviewing her novel in the film “Argylle,” well, if you happened to see it earlier this year.) Additionally, I find it necessary to speak the words aloud. Strangely enough, without this auditory experience, I struggle to maintain focus on my work.

I simply cannot quit this approach; it has become deeply ingrained over the years, although it is undeniably a double-edged sword. It consumes a significant amount of time and adds an extra layer of stress to a process that is inherently stressful for nearly every novelist.

It is possible that one day my novels could also be adapted into films. Who knows? At the moment, it may seem like nothing more than a dream, but having dreams and aspirations is truly invaluable. If that hypothetical moment were to come, I believe the filmmakers would find my novels well-suited for adaptation.

(c) Jay Cliffix

About The Star Souls Mythology by Jay Cliffix :

Wish FulfilmentCelestiloo was a planet full of myths and wonders. Huxtin was the former king of Paralloy Teddix, the heart of Celestiloo, but as a super being who harnessed the most dangerous force in the universe, he now had a much more significant mission: to align with the Auras to seal the existence of the Umbras, or to embrace the inner darkness within himself, ruling over the shadows to destroy the world.

Huxtin needed to collect all twelve Star Souls—powerful weapons that trapped the souls and Elementro powers from the Children of God before everything was too late. The fracture of his family had caused him to stumble further into the abyss, but the arrival of the aliens who came from a planet called Earth gave him a glimmer of hope…

The first two instalments of the series—The Star Shards of Auras/Umbras and The Wish Fulfilment of Life/Death—are up now on Amazon.

Order your copy of The Wish Fulfilment of Life/Death here.

About the author

Jay Cliffix is an author and entertainment industry professional based in Hong Kong. He published his debut novel, 光影星碎, in 2012 and has since worked as a movie journalist, columnist, and critic. For more details, please visit:

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get all of the latest from delivered directly to your inbox.

Featured books