Emma Coats tweeted 22 ideas to follow if you want to create Pixar-quality narratives, and since then the ‘ideas’ have been picked up all across the web, including most enlightening: here and here. Coats knew what she was talking (tweeting?) about because she was a story boarder for the company.
To get a better view of the graphic, and follow through the ideas, just click the image.
Have you unconsciously or consciously used any of these, or do you recognise these in your own stories? Comment below.
Two of my favourite ideas are:
10. Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognise it before you can use it.
When I picked up Lish McBride‘s Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, the first thing that struck me was the realistic/clever dialogue. Introducing the main character through his everyday life, showcasing his witty dialogue and equally witty friends really hooked me. I was also hooked easily by Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the same reasons.
I’m hoping that my characters’ dialogue is catchy, too, although obviously not in the league of the Whedonmesiter. The best thing about realising dialogue was one of my favourite parts of reading/writing was that it gave me free rein to just have fun with 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.
Obviously – and, yet… how many times have you heard someone say they’ve got an idea for a really, really good novel or television pilot or film? You’ve really, really got to start it. Get it on paper, look at it, and then decide whether to continue or shrug it away. I’d obviously recommend not shrugging it away though.
I heard on a Writing Excuses podcast that writers, as professionals, are supposed to write one million words as an apprenticeship. Sure, I’m paraphrasing, but the idea has merit. To get really good you need to write, you need to try new things, express yourself in different ways, and write things out to their conclusion.
I was thinking about how many books I’ve written, which isn’t as easy a question as you might, at first, think.
If I was answering this as ‘how many books have you written to their conclusion?’ I’d answer one – The Miranda Contract (finished July 2012). But before that complete manuscript I wrote a 55,000 novel called This Mutant Life, which, although missing a whole section I titled “Insert Big Battle Here” was a big chunk of writing. And before that I wrote an inward-looking, teen vampire story called Rem’s Story which came in at probably 30,000 words but with no real ending or even middle! And back in high school I scribed a sprawling superhero adventure based on the X-Men style of story which I don’t even think had a name… probably something like Genesis Academy. It was huge and unwieldy, but covered about ten years of the characters’ lives.
Each of those abortive efforts are hanging around somewhere, but my writing has changed significantly since writing them. I’d put them in my apprenticeship, along with short stories and other writings. I doubt I’m anywhere near one million words, but it’s a journey, right?
This graphic comes from www.PBJPublishing.com