on life, ambitions, and dreams


Posts Tagged ‘storytelling’

Sunday Serial: Storytelling, a Photo a Day, Besties, and Success

success baby

Sunday Serial is curated list of the best blogs and articles that I’ve encountered over the past week. Sometimes there’s a theme, but most times there’s not. My goal with these posts is that I introduce you to at least one new idea that you may not have otherwise been exposed to. Enjoy!


The 22 rules of storytelling, according to Pixar by Cyriaque Lamar on iO9

Read this because: Where else are you going to find 22 tips about storytelling from the brilliant minds at Pixar?

Here are a few of my favorites from the list:

#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.
#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.
#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.

What I’ve learned taking photos every day at 8:36 p.m. by Buster Benson on GeekWire

Read this because: Could you commit to doing one thing every day for a month or even a year? Five years ago, Buster Benson (founder of 750 Words) decided to take one photo every day at 8:36pm. As he says, most of the photos are boring, but it also captures things like the day he and his wife got married, got pregnant, and the day their son was born.

I love this idea. I’ve committed to blogging every day for thirty days (twice), and learned so much about myself during the process, and mostly because I committed to it. But a year? Not sure if writing (and posting) a blog for 365-days straight is sustainable, but taking a photo. Yeah, I could do that. Could you?

5 Different Kinds Of Besties by Sydney Nikols on Thought Catalog

Read this because: I’d bet money that you have friends like this, and you might be one of my five.

The 5 traits of radically successful people by Alex Banayan on VentureBeat

Read this because: We all need a recipe for being successful, and this article is the latest one. Here’s an excerpt:

I have a crazy idea: success isn’t just about hard work. We hear about hard work all the time—it’s what Olympic champions talk about when they get to the top of the podium and it’s what the media credits as the sole force behind of multimillion-dollar Internet entrepreneurs. But there has to be something else in the equation of obtaining unimaginable success. What other traits tipped the odds in favor of the world’s most successful people?

What helped propel their careers before they had track records?

For the past year I’ve been fortunate enough to interview some of the world’s most successful people to find the answers to these very questions.

What did you read this week?

On Character Development

a boy meets a girl

I just watched a chick flick of the most classic variety. You know the one – girl meets boy. Boy is not a love interest at first but as their platonic relationship develops so does the web of lies about who she is as a person. He has no idea that this person he’s growing close to is not at all who people think she is. His feelings are genuine and so are hers. But in walks another woman who develops feelings for the man as well.

Things get interesting. The lies run thick and there is no way to untangle the mess and reveal the truth. The other woman takes this opportunity to reveal the girl for who she really is in a way that is most inconvenient for them all. The girl’s world crashes like a tree falling in the forest except everyone is there to watch and listen. The girl’s world as she hoped it would be falls apart dramatically.

Skip to the credits and you’ll miss the last quarter of the movie where the girl reveals her self, apologizes for her motivations, and the girl and the boy are free from the baggage of the lies to celebrate their true feelings; happily ever after.

Cue the music.

These movies exist everywhere and it has me thinking about the role character development plays in fiction and in real life.

In this particular movie, technically the girl was not telling a lie, but others were telling it for her based on her actions. How many times have you met someone and you’ve filled in the gaps about their life and as a result built them up into someone they really weren’t? And from there, when they did something that was out of the character you built for them they disappointed you or changed how you view them?

I do it all the time.

We are each the author of our own life story. You are the person I have created of you based on how we act together, apart, how I watch you engage with others, and the actions you do and don’t do. I can’t help it, and you can’t help doing that to me either. You are going to impress me when you do things that I don’t expect; and you’re going to disappoint me when you do things that I wasn’t prepared for either.

You are your own person, and I’m just the writer, I can’t help it and neither can you. It’s why you say, “Wow, that surprised me,” and I say, “I knew you’d really like this.”

You are the person you are based on who I create you to be through my own eyes and experiences. The best part about stories, movies, and fiction is that they’re all scripted and go according to a formula that works and the audience expects. The problem with real life is the characters I create for the people I know have a high likelihood for being absolutely wrong, in the most pleasant or the worst way. And the character you’ve built me up to be may do exactly the same thing. I may entertain you, shock you, bore you, and disappoint you without you even realizing that I’ve gone against the expectations you set for me.

If you are the author of the story of your life, would you ever tell a character who is acting in a way that is outside the characteristics you wrote for them? Do you even have a right to do so?

Photo Credit: chez_sugi