By Annie Grudeva
“Ok, so here it goes. No filter. Just whatever comes to my head. All 250 words of it (more or less… a lot less so far… ugh). Oh! My thoughts are in English… Strange. Is that Linkin Park? Why am I listening to… My phone light is blinking. Don’t look. Like ser.. oh someone’s texting me on gtalk. DON’T LOOK! SCAB SCAB SCAB SCAB SCAB. Okay I just gotta close this it’s annoying me now. Gee I wanted to write about something cool. Like space travel. I wanted to write a story about a girl that lived under Chelsea bridge (saved in drafts). Or tell you about my comic book or Pixar’s 22 rules of storytelling*.
Sooooooooooooooooooo what should I write about? Maybe I should draw something… I don’t wanna draw because I’d have to set up my desk… Phone is blinking again… Maybe I have ADD? Or was it ADHD? I can never remember those two.
Now Skype is jumping. One of the lecturers at school was right – the biggest commodity of 21st century is having 5 fucking minutes to yourself. Cacophony! Shaaadoooowwww of theeee daaaay. I feel like i’m 14 again and I don’t care, you hear!
You have probably already given up reading this scab… Good! GOOD! Don’t read me, I’m embarrassing! Ugh I just noticed all the spelling mistakes – terrifying (I just misspelt that). No filter… noooo filter. Imagine if TV didn’t have censure – oohhh maaan Top Gear would be even greater!!
So what next? Why do they even make the Art Directors write… Although, to be honest I do enjoy scabbing. I know probably no one reads them (let’s be honest here) but they are fun to write. I like to play with them, push and see when Marc will email me back one day and say ‘You cannot do that’. I’m pretty sure I’ll get an ‘Achievement unlocked’ thingie like in XBoX with the face of Steve Henry saying to me ‘I want you to break some rules’.
Now that we’ve mentioned Steve he says creative people have urge to rebel. Maybe that’s what we’re such an odd mix at school – we’re all rebelling so we’re united in our Anarchy. ANARCHY YEAAAH. Excuse me, this was my 16-year-old self coming. Shut up, we’re grown up now, polite and all.
Maybe I should try for stand up comedy instead or try to find a new species of fish at the bottom of the… Oh Steve! Yeah so Steve is awesome like that – I like creative directors that nurture your creativity while smashing your ideas up. Are you still reading this? I sound pretty clever, don’t I *smirks to self*. So yeah, pearls o’ wisdom and all. He he he. I’m convinced in my previous life I was an English Lord with a monocle. Quite indeed (definitely the two poshest English words).
So now that you have had a taste of my terrible sense of humour let’s go back to the serious stuff.
Don’t ever deny what you once had. I know it’s tempting but don’t. It made you who you are. Actually that’s what I really wanted to say. That’s what I wanted to write a whole SCAB about but the words wouldn’t come so I wrote this instead.
I’m stuck again so might as well go up and fix some of my spelling mistakes.
*Sigh* What else? I don’t think there is much more to it really.
Sorry, no I mean, thank you for reading and read you again soon!
*They are brilliant. Seriously.
#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
#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 ___.
#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
#6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
#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.
#10: Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.
#11: Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
#13: Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.
#14: Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.
#15: If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.
#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.
#17: No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.
#18: You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.
#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.
#20: Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?
#21: You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?
#22: What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.