What do you want to say?
- Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.
- Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
- What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.
How you want to say it?
- You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.
- Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
- Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
- Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.
- Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
How do you stay motivated as a writer?
- Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
- Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.
- When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. The material to get you unstuck often shows up.
- No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on - it’ll come back around to be useful later.
- You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, it testing not optimizing.
How to become a better writer:
- Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize to use it.
- Take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?