Great writing advise and insights here from novelist, screenwriter, and game designer, Chuck Wendig:
I’m a panster at heart, plotter by necessity — and I always advocate learning how to plot and plan because inevitably someone on the business side of things is going to poke you with a pointy stick and say, “I want this.” Thus you will demonstrate your talent. Even so, in choosing to plot on your own, you aren’t limited to a single path. And so it is that we take a look at the myriad plotting techniques (“plotniques?”) you might use as Storyteller Extraordinaire to get the motherfucking job done. Let us begin.
THE BASIC VANILLA TRIED-AND-TRUE OUTLINE
The basic and essential outline. Numbers, Roman numerals, letters. Items in order. Separated out by section if need be (say, Act I, Act II, Act III). Easy-peazy Lyme-diseasey.
THE REVERSE OUTLINE
Start at the end, instead. Write it down. “Sir Pimdrip Chicory of Bath slays the dragon-badger, but not before the dragon-badger bites the head off Chicory’s one true love, Lady Miss Wermathette Kildare of the Manchester Kildares.” Rewind the clock. Reverse the gears. Find out how you build to that. Find the rest of this piece at Wendig’s blog terribleminds.
Tally wrote the screenplay for The Silence of the Lambs, as well as All the Pretty Horses and The Juror. Tally was speaking at the London Screenwriters’ Festival.
“Sentences have been around since the dawn of paragraphs, and indeed since before that, for sentences are essentially the building blobs of a paragraph. Right here, if you’re looking closely enough, you may notice that what you are now reading in fact is a sentence. But also—some will have noticed even more well—what you are reading is a paragraph. And I could go further than that, even, to declare that you are also reading words, letters, and indeed this entire page. Nobody thought you could do it, but here we are now and aren’t you having a good time?’
Read the full article at The New Yorker.
Follow James Thomas aka @AstonishingSod on Twitter.
“Writing is hard for every last one of us—straight white men included. Coal mining is harder. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig. You need to do the same. … So write… Not like a girl. Not like a boy. Write like a motherfucker.”
Writing advice from Cheryl Strayed, author of the best-selling memoir Wild.
“I moved to New York City, and I needed to make money. I wasn’t having luck getting a job. It’s a common tale,” writes C.D. Hermelin, a 26-year-old writer living in Brooklyn in the US.
Hermelin’s solution to keeping the wolf from the door was kinda unusual. He grabbed the typewriter he bought at a yard sale for 10 dollars, took it to a park, and started to write for cash.
“I’d write stories for people, on the spot—I wouldn’t set a price. People could pay me whatever they wanted. I knew that I had the gift of writing creatively, very quickly, and my anachronistic typewriter (and explanatory sign) would be enough to catch the eye of passersby. Someone might want something specific; they might just want a story straight from my imagination. I was prepared for either situation.” Needless to say as writers, we think Hermelin’s a rock star.
Read the story about an inventive writer who became a hated hipster meme, and survived to tell the tale.
On Twitter Hermelin is @cdhermelin.
“At the heart of game storytelling is the concept of “player agency”. Here, “agency” refers to the ability of a player to make changes within the game environment, or even more importantly, the illusion of being able to do this.
If the game presents a convincing enough illusion of freedom then the player suspends his or her disbelief in the artificiality of the game’s world and the limitations in their choice of pathway.
As a medium of interaction, videogames present the player with different possibilities and ask them to enact stories based on designed structures.
This may take a linear form, as in the clearly defined pathways of the action-adventure The Last of Us (2011), to the relatively non-linear in the sense of freedom experienced playing game Skyrim (2011).”
Read the full story at New Statesman.