So I have a thing for TED talks. For those of you who haven’t heard of them, they’re insightful short videos about subjects ranging from engineering biology to, oddly, new ways to tie your shoes.
Imagine my glee when I discovered a post by Aerogramme Writers’ Studio listing 13 TED talks about the story telling process. Naturally, I watched all 250 minutes of them in one afternoon.
My favorite was Andrew Stanton’s TED. Here are some bits and pieces that stood out to me:
“Storytelling is joke-telling. It’s knowing your punch line, your ending, knowing that everything you’re saying from the first sentence to the last is heading toward a singular goal.” ~ Andrew Stanton
Stanton goes on to talk about character development, which I’ve been struggling with for years. We know that characters have to start with flaws that they overcome by the end of the story, but Stanton also urges writers to remember to make the characters likable from the beginning, too.
This was something I’ve struggled with while writing Becoming Light. Emma, the main character, starts the story with an egotistical, stubborn personality. She’s the type of person who might be difficult to hang out with for more than a few hours, let alone commit to reading about. Some of my beta readers mentioned that they couldn’t form a connection with her, and I think that her flaws are the culprit.
Stanton’s suggestion? Give the character moments when she gets what she wants. For instance, Emma enjoys having all eyes on her. That kind of recognition will naturally put her in a good mood. She’ll put her best face forward, be kind, and maybe even a little funny. That will endear the reader to her, if only on a subconscious level.
So thanks to Stanton, it looks like I’ll be doing another Becoming Light rewrite 🙂
Anybody have more TED Talks that they suggest watching? (I’m kind of addicted).