“A successful novel should interrupt the reader’s life, make him or her miss appointments, skip meals, forget to walk the dog.” – Stephen King
I am constantly wanting to learn and better myself in any way possible, particularly when it comes to writing. I want to soak in the lessons learned from the greats and those in the business.
This morning I listened to a Ted Talk by Andrew Stanton titled, The clues to a great story. Stanton is the writer behind the three “Toy Story” movies and the writer/director of “A Bugs Life”, “Finding Nemo” and “WALL-E.” He has two Oscars, as the writer-director of Finding Nemo and WALL-E. He was also the voice of Crush, the laid back turtle in Finding Nemo.
When I was done I was left with the question…. Do our books tell a great story? It’s a question Layne and I are asking ourselves as we get ready to send our first off to agents/publishers and start our second edit to our second book.
Some tidbits I found fascinating from this 19 minute talk:
- All well drawn characters have a spine – an inner motor, a dominate unconscious goal that they are striving for
- Drama is anticipation mingled with uncertainty
- When you are telling a story, have you constructed anticipation? Have you made the reader want to know what happens next?
- Have you contracted conflict with truth that creates doubt in what the outcome might be?
- A strong theme is always running through a well told story
- The best stories infuse wonder – the magic ingredient, the secret sauce
- Use what you know, capture from what you are experiencing, expressing values you personally feel deep down to your core