Friday, January 4, 2013

Get that story down!

Write the cliche first, then recognize you just wrote a cliche and rewrite it.” - Pete Docter.

What a fantastic quote for the start of the new year!

How many times have you sat down to write or ached to create something brilliant but the thought that it might be rubbish, that you weren't feeling very creative or that you wouldn't be able to realise something brilliant enough allowed you to procrastinate?

And then you felt even worse and more frustrated -- and angry at yourself for wasting real writing time.

So there's Pete Doctor of Pixar, the man behind so many great films, saying it's okay to write rubbish first.

Once it's on paper, you can make it better. While it's in your head, unrealised, chased into corners by your own internal critic - and let's face it, that guy is usually the worst - there is nothing to work from and rewrite into something brilliant.

I was told at 16, when I said I wanted to write for the stage, that it was impossible to write the second play until you wrote the first.

So I lay on my belly in my front garden and wrote my first play. The subject was the bitchiness of an all girl convent school. It had a cast of 40, vivid and detailed character biographies such as, "Clare, a bitch" and it runs for about 15 minutes though at the time I thought it was an hour long!

Fortunately, my writing started to get better about four plays later!



Another piece of advice I received not long after -- and try to drum into students -- is that you have to FINISH a script/ story/ book/ screenplay. Even if it is all cliche's.

Abandon it half way and you might never find the confidence to start another one.

Mind you, planning the story out in a rough outline first at least will give you the confidence that it's a story you want to write. But sometimes, if you write fast, the excitement will carry you through to the end while outlining it in too much detail can leave the idea feeling stale.

What I have learnt is that if you get stuck, summarise those scenes and move on. You can go back to those sections once you've finished but the main thing is to get to the end!.

It's a good feeling and one you will want to experience again and again!

Happy New year!

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