Thursday, December 6, 2018

On Stakes--Writing Tip

Readers want a character with a goal. 

A goal they pursue relentlessly.

They don't want a story about a guy who sort of likes a girl. They want a story about a guy who can't live without the girl, even if he doesn't realize it right away.

What's at stake?

What does the hero get when she wins?
What does the hero lose if he fails?

The bigger the stakes, the more satisfying the read.

Be Brilliant!


Monday, December 3, 2018

But What Do I Write About?

Write about something you know--some small aspect of your life--a personal experience or a world you're familiar with. Something that requires no research. Forget the facts; tell the story.

Don't worry about being perfect; just make it as good as you can.

Writing a book is hard. 

That doesn't mean you're not capable of doing it or shouldn't give it a shot. 

It just means that it's hard.

Be Brilliant!


Thursday, November 29, 2018

On Conflict -- Writing Tip

-Conflict happens when someone wants something he can't have.
-Conflict happens when someone wants two different things, but can't have both.
-Conflict happens when two people in the same orbit want different things (but also each other).
-Conflict happens when two people want the same thing, but there can only be one winner.
-Conflict happens when two people want the same thing, they can both have said thing, but they disagree over how to get it.

Putting characters at odds with each other (and themselves) is the quickest way to propel the plot and keep those pages turning.

And, let's be real, conflict is super-fun to write. :)

Be Brilliant!


Monday, November 26, 2018

On Killing Those "Darlings"

Note: this is a throwback post from June 2017, but the message is worth repeating.


I'm working my way through Screenwriting for Neurotics by Scott Winfield Sublett, which has valuable information not only for screenwriters but for all writers. The chapters on plotting have been especially helpful, but he also says something truly wonderful about killing your "darlings."

Your darlings, they say, are those words or phrases or sentences (or paragraphs or entire scenes) that you've poured your heart and soul into and that you love more than life itself, despite the fact that they really don't add much to the story.  

Sublett says: 

“You might say, 

'What a pity that my inspiration should go to waste!' 

But saying that is misunderstanding the nature of inspiration: it’s not a scarce resource but rather a limitless river that flows through you. There’s plenty more inspiration in that river, so please waste it.

Building a table would produce sawdust and wood scraps

Would you glue them to the top of the table so that they don’t 'go to waste'?”

Isn't that a fantastic analogy?

No: you wouldn't build a table--carving and sanding--then heap the "unnecessary" back onto it, no matter how interesting or "beautiful" it seems.
If it really bothers you, don't delete the darlings permanently. Move them to a "darlings" file. Maybe you'll be able to use them somewhere else/in some other project one day.
So go ahead. Tap into your limitless river, and don't be afraid to kill those darlings. There's plenty more inspiration where that came from. 

In fact, you are a well of inspiration, and the more you create the more creative you'll be.

Be Brilliant!


Thursday, November 22, 2018

Monday, November 19, 2018

On Taking Risks

Why take risks?

The more risks you take, the more confident you become.
The more confident you become, the more equipped you are to deal with rejection.

The more rejections you accrue, the more likely you are to embrace feedback.
The more feedback you apply, the more you grow

The more you grow, the closer you get to reaching those important goals you've set for yourself.

Take risks.

The more darts you throw, the more targets you'll hit.

Be Brilliant!


Thursday, November 15, 2018

The End--Writing Tip

The key promise you've made to your reader at the beginning of the story is that something will be different by the end.

The main character will not only possess new information, but it's likely she (or he) has done something about it.

The final pages, paragraphs, and sentences should elicit some kind of emotion in your reader (it's up to you to determine what emotion that might be).

An effective end to your story will merge your character's thoughts, symbols, and action to bring about a meaningful close to your story--and that last sentence is most powerful of all.

The feeling in this moment is what will make your story linger in the reader's mind for hours, days, and even weeks to come.

Don't squander the opportunity.

Be Brilliant!