Below are some of the key elements from our 10 Month Novel and Script First Draft Course that enable our writers to develop powerful stories. We have also included quotes in italics from our writers that highlight these key points.
1. The Power of Process
Writing is very much a process and a journey and it is only by following the process to the end that people come to fully appreciate their talent as writers and the quality of the story they are writing. The story they have at the end of the process is invariably far richer than any idea they may have had when they started.
To fully harness your creative potential, it is essential to grasp the subtleties of the creative process and understand how at first, elements of the craft of writing and storytelling can feel counter-intuitive or counter-instinctive.
Writing longer stories such as a novel or screenplay, requires you learn how to use both sides of your brain.
Pixar Studios, maker of such classic films as Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Up, have had phenomenal success turning out one hit movie after another. In his book, Creativity Inc, Ed Catmull, one of the founders of Pixar, outlines many of the principles behind the studio’s success. From the Writers’ Studio perspective, it is gratifying that just about every principle Catmull articulates matches the approach we passionately follow when conducting writing courses at the Writers’ Studio.Here are four of their guiding principles:
1. Story is kingIn other words, they follow the principles of classic story structure where the action of the story, the character arc or journey and theme are inexorably linked.
At the end of last year, an award-winning Australian film director told me that people often asked him how to best learn to become a filmmaker. His response – study Breaking Bad created by Vince Gilligan.
Like many of the ground-breaking cable television series, Breaking Bad unfolds like a good novel. David Simon, who created The Wire, another great series, pitched the crime writer, George Pelecanos, to join the writing team with the concept that The Wire was like a novel for television.
The last session of our 10-Month Novel and Script Live course is always very special
In the photo below from the group dinner, we are all on a real high after completing the journey together.
Everyone in the group shared how amazed and excited they were about how far their stories and those of their fellow classmates had evolved over the 10 months. As well as that, everyone’s understanding of the process of storytelling and their ability to give constructive feedback to their fellow writers had gone to whole new level of insight.
Writing a novel or screenplay is an art and a craft that requires writers to go outside their comfort zone and understand the challenges of the creative process.
To fully harness your creative potential, it is essential to grasp the subtleties of the creative process and understand how at first, elements of the craft of writing and storytelling can often feel counter-intuitive or counter-instinctive.
Some Key Lessons from the 10-Month Novel & Script First Draft Process
Writing a successful novel or screenplay that resonates with readers doesn’t happen by accident. It is an art and a craft that takes time to master. As John Tullius, author and founder of the Maui Writers’ Conference, said, “I don’t care how talented you are. It’s not about contacting your muse. Success comes from taking the time to learn the craft.”
There are many different facets that go into the process of completing a story. Broadly speaking, they are – planning, writing, re-writing and editing. One mistake many aspiring writers make when starting out is that they mix the tasks up and find it very hard to move forward to completion.
In fiction, particularly commercial fiction, the most important thing is to keep your reader turning the pages. This is what the art and craft of writing fiction is all about.
As the English novelist, E.M. Forster said in his book Aspects of the Novel, a story “… has only one merit: that of making an audience want to know what happens next. And conversely it can only have one fault: that of making the audience not want to know what happens next.”