The best writing advice I found is this: We are all the hero of our own story. In life, there are no supporting characters. Ask yourself this; have you ever, ever thought to yourself, ‘hmm, this isn’t actually my story. I’m simply here to make [insert person’s] life more interesting’?
So why should a fictional character think that? And I think that is what separates great storytelling from the good, bad and mediocre. I’m struggling with this in my current screenplay. It’s about a group of people that come together for individual reasons fighting for the same cause. Sounds a lot like life, right? And I’m terrified to start putting words down because I don’t feel like I intimately know all these characters yet, and that they will end up being boring and generic plot points instead of fully fleshed out people with personalities and motivations.
I define myself as a ‘flood’ writer. I spend days, weeks, months mulling over something, trying to find all the angles of what I want to say, until one day I just erupt and it all spills out over the keyboard for a few hours in which I don’t censor myself or try to edit too much. It’s a technique that has been working for me so far, but in order to become a ‘proper’ writer, one who writes screenplays, books and 12 episodes television series, I need more structure in my craft. Because a craft is something you work at, chip away at, every day whether you feel like it or not. A hobby is something you do because it feels nice and you’ve got some raw talent for it. But I’m finally coming around to the idea that raw talent means nothing without consistent work.
I really do want to be the hero of my own story. I have lived such a cushioned, comfortable life and I think somewhere in the back of my mind I keep waiting for that day when things get really tough and it will be my time to shine as a hero. That defining moment that every great fictional character get to have. But what if, thankfully, that moment never comes in my life? As much as I fully expect society to collapse in my lifetime, because globalization cannot be sustained in its current form, what if the collapse never comes and I spend my whole life as a white, privileged middle-class girl from a small, wealthy country? I’ll be damned if my tombstone reads something like; She had great ambitions but never mustered the courage to execute her ideas.
How do you overcome your creative hangups and work at your craft? On a scale from one to ten, how important is your art in your life?