This week’s video is not specifically writing advice, but I definitely wanted to hear this and so y’all are getting it too. Considering the popularity of the character in the latest Captain America: Civil War I have a feeling a lot more folks are going to learn about T’Challa.
Yup, I’m having a bout of writing anxiety. I even took 3 naps this weekend to avoid working on my writing. How is THAT for anxious? But I had a great video conference call with a couple of other writers. Not specifically for this but more as a way for us to motivate each other generally, share our knowledge, skills, and push us towards our goals. The discussion reminded me of a time a few years ago where I was “sprinting” (doing 15 minute writing jaunts) every day. That year I had almost 30 short stories completed. The following year was my “most published.” Since then, I think the not-writing has lead to anxiety that EVERY WORD must be worth something, must mean something, and that is just too much pressure so my productivity has plummeted as my stress has skyrocketed. Thus, today’s quote.
Author Ingrid Sundberg loves collecting words. She collects them, writes them down, makes lists of them and uses them to improve her writing.
“One of my on-going word collections is of colors. I love to stop in the paint section of a hardware store and find new names for red or white or yellow. Having a variety of color names at my fingertips helps me to create specificity in my writing. I can paint a more evocative image in my reader’s mind if I describe a character’s hair as the color of rust or carrot-squash, rather than red.”
And one of the coolest things she has done is put together a color thesaurus that YOU can use to improve your writing. I’ve included a few examples below (only red, white, and blue) but you should take a look at her website to get the full effect: http://ingridsundberg.com/2014/02/04/the-color-thesaurus/.
Audre Lorde’s Life and Career: http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/g_l/lorde/life.htm
Poems by Audre Lorde: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/audre-lorde#about
Via Pixar storyboard artist, Emma Coats. I picked my top
five seven to include here on Unleaded. But you should check out the full list here: http://io9.gizmodo.com/5916970/the-22-rules-of-storytelling-according-to-pixar
#2: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.
#3: Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.
#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
(Note from Day: I really like this fun little “blank” exercise above. It just lets you play and at the same time offers a very basic throughline for a story. How fun is that?!)
#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
#8: Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.
#9: When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
Also the image below is Pixar Star Wars. Although not related to the “22 Rules of Storytelling According to Pixar” I couldn’t resist.