Friday, March 13, 2009

To get better ideas, generate more ideas, says _Story_

Apparently I haven't posted before about Robert McKee's book Story, which is a great resource on how stories work. It's aimed at screenwriting, but its advice applies to stories and novels just as well.

One of my favorite tips from this book is aimed at avoiding clichés in writing, but it's good for any creative work. It boils down to this:

Instead of using the first idea that comes to mind for a scene, a tactic, a design, or a solution, try to generate a list of ten ideas...then pick from that list.

And: if you really like your first idea, but it seems overused, try to come up with ten ways to nuance it, change it, make it your own.

After all, the easiest ideas, the ones that are first to mind, are the most common ones: the ones most likely to be clichés.

1 comment:

  1. I'm enjoying this book, by the way. Definitely challenges you to work on the process.