Whatever we’re writing, it never hurts to go for visual appeal and immediacy. That’s why I was excited when I came across an article on the super-helpful marketing site Where Writers Win by a young writer named Alex Strike who captured some key points from screenwriting guru John McKee’s classic guide, Story. Here are some helpful takeaways Alex gathered that we can all apply to our writing:
Choose the most important events in the life of a hero: Every hero has a main goal; any event that takes place in a story should signal an important change in the hero’s life as he/she pursues a goal that matters — one that involves high stakes and risk.
Create some obstacles for your hero: “Place him under pressure. A story is the set of obstacles your hero overcomes to search for his dreams, and these obstacles should be both serious and clear to the audience. The hero should risk something really important to reach his goal; the choices made under pressure show his true essence. Raise your stakes with every act, revealing the max risk in the culmination.”
Include a “turning point” in every scene: A story must constantly move forward, propelled by the actions and deeds of the hero as he/she struggles to reach a powerful goal. “Do not create a “scene for exhibition,” where nothing significant happens.” Information that explains a hero’s past and motivation should be given in such a way that it doesn’t require a scene to reveal it.
Create a strong antagonist: “The more interesting opposing forces are – the more interesting your story will be. Negative must be as strong as positive.”
Write clear dialogue: Dialogue is a vehicle for saying “the most with the least words.” Dialogue should be simple and clear. Do not use dialogue if you can express the same idea through action. Be creative visually.
Do Your Research: Sometimes a lack of information leads to “сreative stupor.” Use your experience and your imagination… “But if nothing works, go to a library! Books will provide you with all the information needed. Even if you are very experienced in your subject you have only one perspective.”
Write about what you truly believe in: Your story should have a big idea and reflect your own vision of life and the world. Be honest with your readers and audience. Write on!