- Shut Up and Write.
Some of you may remember from my last post, writing is the most important thing to be doing if you consider yourself a writer. As easy as it sounds, it’s always harder in practice! This is number one, two and three until you master it! Set small goals for yourself. Grow them over time and eventually old goals become habit. Figure out what helps you write and just go ham. Don’t worry about structure, grammar or the future. If you have writer’s block, write a journal entry of your life or even a poem. This is the part where you can try out different styles and mediums to expand your knowledge over time. Just write.
- Read. Watch. Feel.
Read and watch stories! This seems like traditional advice, “reading more will help you improve your stories,” well duh! What I am saying is, read and watch what you love. What does your heart draw you toward? Why is that so? Figure out why you are drawn to it so much and how it resonates with you personally. Which characters stand out to you and what part of their story do you relate to or like the most. Why? Remember, quality is better than quantity. Doing this will help grow your storytelling ability more than reading 5 books in one week would. People forget most of what they read within just a few days. Always be sensitive to what moves you inside the context of a story and ask why. This step should consist of a lot of questions that you ask yourself to figure out the types of story that lure you. Personally, mythology is the best thing to study when starting out. Myths are the very foundation of storytelling that pulls on the heartstrings of the masses for a reason. Oral traditions was the lifeblood of old civilizations.
- Study People.
This step I am most grateful to have understood through film directing. It is different from text based storytelling because it involves paying close attention to the nuances of the human existence and translating it to screen. A moving painting, if you will. What will they do next physically in lieu of their character development? How do we get characters to make these explosive choices and also isolate them in their darkest nightmares or vice versa? We study how we as humans act and think. Once we start to get the smallest fractioned grasp on the complexity of the human mind, we can then manipulate elements in our story through our characters’ choices, perspective, and flaws to get desired results. Study the people around you, your family, your friends. How do they react to things? How did they grow up? Get to know them and build a genuine bond. What makes them tick? Expanding your circles and paying attention to those close to you will of help elevate your storytelling to new levels.