As you may have read in this month’s e-letter or on Facebook and Twitter, Helping Writers Become Authors is about to get a complete makeover. I’m really excited about optimizing both the design and functionality of the site and can’t wait to share the new-and-improved version with you all.
The switch to the new design (as well as a new server) will be taking place over the next week, starting this weekend. So if things start going wonky, that’s why. I’m hoping to make this transition as seamless as possible for all of you, so please bear with me as everything gets sorted out.
I’ll be moving Friday’s post up to Thursday this week, and there probably won’t be a Sunday or Wednesday post next week. Stay tuned for more developments!
And now back to your regularly scheduled video.
This week’s video talks about how Guillermo del Toro’s blockbuster Pacific Rim aced its story mission statement—and how your book can too.
Okay, the first thing I’ve got to tell you today is that I’m going to try really hard not to gush about Guillermo del Toro’s recent blockbuster Pacific Rim. The second thing I’m going to tell you is that I’m probably going to fail. This is one of the best movies I’ve seen in years. It was plotted perfectly, structured perfectly, set up perfectly. There is a not single thing about this movie I would want to change. So, really, we could grab a lot of lessons from this to draw upon for our own writing. But what I really want us to focus on today is how completely this story fulfilled every last bit of its potential.
How did it do this? In a nutshell, this is a movie that knew exactly what it wanted to be—and aced it. So often, we see stories that don’t seem to quite know what they want to be. They try to be bigger, or funnier, or more intimate, or more serious than is really good for them. This happens when the writer loses sight of what his story is really about. Reloaded and Revolutions comes to mind. Another great—or bad, depending on how you look at it—example would be Chronicles of Riddick. These are particularly obvious examples, since they’re sequels of stories that did know what they were about.
When we sit down to write a story, we want it to be awesome. It can be really tempting to start throwing in a little of everything. But very few stories are going to be big enough to handle everything. If we chuck too much disparate stuff into a story, we’re only going to water it down.
It’s crazy important for us to identify what our stories are about. What is your goal in creating this story? Who’s your audience? The answers to these questions are your mission statement for your book. Write it down and post it above your computer, where you can remind yourself every day that this is the story you’re writing. You won’t please every reader in the world, but for those who like what you’re doing, you’ll smack it clean out of the park.