I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I distinctly remember a science fiction story I wrote as a child about a girl who was a star’s daughter. (I was obviously influenced by Dogsbody, which I only just now realized was written by the excellent Diana Wynne Jones). I read it to some relatives who were over for dinner, to much acclaim, and thus a monster was created.
But my style and interests in writing have changed over the years, as well as my technique. Today, I try to keep my style clear and easy to read. That may not impress the more literary in the world, but it makes for a more pleasant reading experience for many.
I’m also experimenting with making things up as I go along, rather than plot it all out beforehand. For short stories, that’s not too much of a problem. For novels, I may end up writing myself into a corner — luckily, it’s easy to write myself out again.
I was excited to learn that Emma Coats of Pixar has tweeted 22 Pixar story basics. It’s a different medium, you say — ah, but a good story must still be the basis of any movie or TV series that’s designed to stand the test of time.
The one that blew me away as a technique on first read was number 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.”
I need to try that one the next time I’m staring at the page (or screen), wondering what I’ve gotten my characters (myself) into.
Read the list yourself, and if you’re a writer, let me know your favorite. Here’s one more to tide you over:
#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.
Thank you, Emma. And I can’t wait to see Brave when it hits the theaters on June 22nd!