The Art of Storytelling

September 2, 2017

I cannot tell you how often I hear people say "I can't write." But they totally CAN. I'm not saying writing is necessarily easy, I mean, I'm a writer and that shit is fucking hard. 


But I'm going to give you a basic outline about how to get you started and the three things you need to have underneath your belt to tap into your inner Hemingway. ;) 


1. Honesty —

If you're going to write, it needs to come from an honest place. If you are writing about something you know nothing about, it is going to be obvious to the reader, viewer, or whichever medium you're writing for. For example, I've never been to New York. But say I want to write a story that takes place there — I better be doing some damn good research (like Google Maps) so that whoever is reading my book feels like they know what New York looks like better than if they went there themselves. Start with the basics...start with what you know. 




2. Shitty writing —

When you're writing, it is easy to be a self critic and want to erase everything you've jotted down. DON'T DO IT. If it's bad, write. If it's good, write it. Keep it. Editing is for later. There really isn't any such thing as writer's block — it's really just fear of writing something BAD. There are no hard and fast rules to writing, no one can tell you that your story sucks. Write down whatever comes to mind and eventually you'll have a story! Remember, remember a first draft is a first draft of MANY. So don't get caught up trying to write the "perfect" first copy. Seriously, write shitty. Write a bad scene. Bad dialogue. It can be erased...later. It is much harder said than done though. Our brains automatically want to criticize our work. You can practice changing this by journaling three pages every day when you wake up. Write three pages of anything. Whatever you are thinking, you write. If you are thinking, "I don't know what to write", write it down until something else comes to your brain. It's not supposed to be some beautiful work of poetry that you're going to share with the world, it's YOUR journal. I learned this technique from a book called "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron —  which I highly recommend. It's great for trying to tap into your creative side. 




3. Stakes —

High stakes! High stakes! And always HIGH STAKES! I cannot stress enough the importance of giving your character the big WHAT IS AT STAKE. What does your character want? How are they going to get it? What is in their way? What could they lose if they do NOT achieve what they want? These are the big questions you have to ask here. People love conflict. People want to see drama. Think about your favorite movies, of any genre, really — let's look at the movie "Whiplash". What does the main character want? To succeed at being a musician, specifically under a certain teacher. How is he going to achieve that? He will literally do whatever this teacher says to do even if it drives him to the edge. What is in his way? This professor is insane and nothing pleases him. What could he lose if he does not achieve this? In his mind, he has failed as a musician...and failure can drive a person mad.




These are just some of the basics of writing. I think writing can be such an outlet for people, whether they want to pursue it professionally or just as something fun to do on the side. Make sure to follow my blog for more content like this coming soon! 






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