Monday, September 15, 2014

Sorry to be a downer, but there are millions of stories. Yours is just one.

 by Jules

I was recently reading a book. I doubt any of you will have heard of it. Its called The Doomsday kids Liam's promise. The book is one of only a few printings. The book was written by a friend's mom's friend. The book is about a boy who must go on a journey to his doomsday prepping dad's cabin in the mountains because a nuclear bomb has gone off in Washington, D.C. Its a lot more complicated then that and I'm not giving the plot enough credit in that short sentence, but I'm not focusing on the story. In this blog post I'm focusing on writing your own story. This book isn't a huge hit. In fact no one knows about it. The truth is the story you write might never get big. Sorry to be a downer, but there are millions of stories. Yours is just one. Another point on a more positive note, there are billions of people in the world and someone will read your story and they might share it with someone and they might share it with someone and it could become a hit. It might be a global hit, national hit or a local hit, but someone will read it. I guess what I'm trying to say is that everyone has a story and don't be afraid to write it. Yes, at first it will be messy. Yes, it might seem like a train wreck and yes it might even be unintelligible babble. But that's just the first draft it will get better. The important thing is just getting it down on paper. You can always fix it up later. When I write I find it really helpful to write any idea I have down on paper so I don't forget and so I can come back to it later. I do this so that if I have a place in my story where I can't think of anything to write I can go back to that sheet of paper and see if anything on there fits in the part that I'm currently writing it is also very helpful for editing. Also here are 22 tips from Emma Coats that she learned while writing for Pixar. So 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 d'you 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.

Thank you for reading and remember to keep writing you never know what might happen.


  1. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat

  2. Finally! A realist! I now absolutely love this blog! Keep it up, Jules!

    1. If I could "like" this comment I would do so. 100 times! Very true!
      --Jonathan Knocks

  3. This post is blunt, offensive, brutal, and simple. I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!