Thursday, May 30, 2013

Finding Inspiration - Look at What's Out There

In fact, it is extremely possible that I have helped myself promiscuously but at present cannot remember from whose stories I have stolen.
Very sincerely, Rudyard Kipling
There is a lot of chatter about the discovery that Rudyard Kipling found inspiration for the Jungle Book in other works.

Which raises the age old question for writers and creative minds alike, where do we get our inspiration. As some talkback comments have called Kipling a thief, others explain the matter as having "executed a work on a similar subject under the same title to much greater effect in a different style."

Namely we can dip into the existing works for creative inspiration, where our project will be wholly unique, with a specific voice we call our own.

As I continue to develop my narrative style, I am looking into what others share about where they get their inspiration, and find the key to the creative voice and stories that we have locked inside.

Infographic: The Hero's Journey

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Hero's Journey: Beat by Beat

Here is the underlyng structure to most narrative.

  1. Hero knows what he/she wants but not what he/she needs
  2. Embarrassing incident that brings a dangerous opportunity
  3. Hero commits and makes progress by doing it the easy way
  4. The easy way leads to a big disaster and loss of safety
  5. The hero tries the hard way, dealing with real consequences
  6. The hero faces a spiritual crisis as a result of those consequences
  7. The strengthened hero deals with the problem once and for all.

This is described in full by Matt Bird over at Cockeyed Caravan in the Hero Project.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


It isn't what your characters say; it's what they really mean. "Subtext"--what characters are saying between the lines. The subtext is all the underlying drives and meanings that are not apparent to the character, but that are apparent to the audience or reader.
Paraphrased from Subtext: The Delicate Art of Doublespeak

Subtext is a fascinating and intellectually stimulating tool in the prose arsenal. This raises the narrative from mere telling what happened, to asking the reader to think about what is being presented and look deeper into the meaning of the words and actions.

Here is a scene with subtext.

Subtext Dramatized
Man puts a log on the fire. His wife says that she wasn't cold, that there is no need to stoke the fire further. He responds that he puts a log on the fire every night, that the house will grow cold otherwise.
"Then put on a blanket," she shoots back, "or a sweater. Why do you need to fiddle with the fireplace."
"It's just a moment, the fire is already burning. Another log doesn't take any preparation."
"You've got to clean the fireplace. Don't you even think before you put on the log!"
"It's just a damn log. Fine I'll take it off, if that will make you happy."
The focus of the argument is about handling the fire in the fireplace, but the subtext is a deeper tension between the wife and her husband.

Story Triggers

This looks cool! 27 story triggers to get the creative juices flowing. No more writer's block. No more excuses.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Monday, May 20, 2013

Brain Pickings: Raymond Chandler on Writing

From the Selected Letters of Raymond Chandler

To say little and convey much, to break the mood of the scene with some completely irrelevant wisecrack without entirely losing the mood — these small things for me stand in lieu of accomplishment. My theory of fiction writing … is that the objective method has hardly been scratched, that if you know how to use it you can tell more in a paragraph than the probing writers can tell in a chapter.

Friday, May 17, 2013

5 Resources for Creating Character Flaws

I am working on giving characters more depth, to create that hypnotic bind that pulls the reader into the story.

I am looking at adding more dimensions to characters, particularly flaws.

Here are some resources I turned up in looking into this.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

4 Things to Address in Your Character

  • Who is the character?
  • What does the character want?
  • What is standing in the character's way to getting what he wants?
  • What does he have to do to overcome the obstacle?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Getting a Story Started

Here are some great places to guide the inner voice to get a story going

  • Outline your Novel In 30 MinutesA quick exercise designed to sketch out the major events of a novel, only giving a map-- you have to make the drive yourself!
  • How to Make a Novel OutlineEasy novel outline techniques to plan a book step by step, along with worksheets for planning characters and scenes, and links to related pages on how to write a novel.
  • Outlining Your Novel: Why and HowOutlining is a matter of dispute among writers, but if you are just starting out – what is outlining, why should you do it and how do you do it.

And to help support the creative process here is a great parable:
Climbing Mt.Story: How to Survive the Creative Journey

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Some Ways to Getting a Novel Done

How to write the first draft of a novel in 30 days
Writing a novel can be daunting. But introducing structure to the process can help you maintain momentum over the course of a month without hampering creativity

First Draft Secrets: Five Simple Steps
No wonder we sometimes resist writing and finishing our first drafts!   It’s not always easy to split our attention between writing and “mind-management.” To write a useful, “flavorful” first draft, it helps to have a helpful mindset and a few tools to help us focus.

Monday, May 6, 2013

About Plot Points

Great article over at Script Shadow on plot points
  • The emergence of a goal (Indiana must go find the Ark).
  • A shocking twist (Cole tells Malcom he can “see dead people”).
  • An upping of the stakes (they realize in Inception that if they die in the dream, they could be stuck in it forever).
  • A mystery is presented (Why is there a naked Chinese man in their trunk in The Hangover?)
  • A key character is introduced (Sgt Powell – the cop – shows up to help McClane in Die Hard).
  • A key character is killed (spoiler – Schultz is killed in Django Unchained).
  • An unplanned interruption of the hero’s life (Neo gets an urgent phone call from Morpheus at work).
  • The emergence of a threat (after the plane crash, the wolves start stalking our characters in The Grey).

Friday, May 3, 2013

Respect Writers

This was a great video on how to pitch a story and...that writers deserve respect

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Save the Cat

They say this is the last site you need to visit for screenwriting

Save the Cat helps to develop motivation and flesh out characters in narrative writing. It's called Save the Cat because when you want the audience to identify with your main character you need to provide something  cute and cuddly that he saves so the audience connects. On the contrary, your villain is more fully fleshed out when he kills the cat.