Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lexophile



I love words! 
I love the feel of new words that roll around in my head before they feel comfortable enough to pop out.
I love the  subtle difference in personalities each one has, even from its closest relatives.
I love that they run the full gamut of human experience. Anything we do, of feel, or want, or act on--we can twist words to wrap it up.
I love that we can line them up and march them across a page to inflict joy or sometimes sorrow into another mind through a story we create together, causing readers to question or gasp or cry. 
I love that it only takes words to create new people, civilizations, worlds.
I love words.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Learning

While on Twitter the other day I came across something that @ozzywood said: The 22 rules of storytelling, according to Pixar. So I followed the link and here they are:

#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
#2: 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.
#3: 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.
#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You'll feel like you're losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
#6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
#8: 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.
#9: When you're stuck, make a list of what WOULDN'T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
#10: Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you've got to recognize it before you can use it.
#11: 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.
#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
#13: Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it's poison to the audience.
#14: 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.
#15: If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.
#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don't succeed? Stack the odds against.
#17: No work is ever wasted. If it's not working, let go and move on - it'll come back around to be useful later.
#18: You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.
#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.
#20: Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How you'd rearrange them into what you DO like?
#21: You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can't just write ‘cool'. What would make YOU act that way?
#22: What's the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.
Can I just say how much I love this simple list? There are 22 simple sentences that say how to write a story and hey, if it works for them, maybe it will work for me. (You too.) So I printed it out and now when I feel stuck I pull out the list and read through it and inevitably there's a sentence to get me back writing.  :)

And here's the link if you want to see the full article for yourself: http://io9.com/5916970/the-22-rules-of-storytelling-according-to-pixar

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Inspiration by Neil Gaiman

This video's a little long, but I think it's worth every minute. Neil Gaiman does a wonderful job in this commencement address for the University of Arts, Class of 2012.

Click here. Sorry the embedded video won't show up.


Seriously. Check it out.