Write by following your instincts/characters, not a formula

Before I started writing, I read ~30 books on how to write. They covered how to write novels, comics, manga, graphic novels... style... ugh, you get the idea.

I found some good tips and tricks, but they boiled down to two categories:

  1. Follow your instincts/guts/visions/characters
  2. Follow a formula

After getting several scripts under my belt, I firmly believe in the first approach, i.e., follow your instincts/guts/visions/characters.

Honestly, it's too hard to follow all the rules laid out in many of the books anyway. In addition, many of the "gold standards" for screenwriting were written by writers who have never had much commercial success (in writing screenplays/novels).

Having to start Act II on page X doesn't make a great story. In fact, if you have a script that is 120 pages (movie length) with good writing that doesn't follow any rules, it will sell (see Memento).

More proof? 

Successful screenwriters and writers do it. Reading all of William Goldman's books on screenwriting really helped me realize this (highly recommended).

Don't know him? Here are some of his screenplays:

When he writes, he follows his instincts, i.e., follows his visions and his characters. You learn to cut the fat (boring stuff) with experience.

Still don't believe me? 

Check out Stephen King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. He starts a story with a character and follows that character to the end, that's it. He does one revision, then another after his wife reviews it. Next, please.

Your characters and visions are the most important parts of the story. They come from the great unknown, the great collective unconscious, and they resonate with people. That is what Joseph Campbell believed in his writings on story telling (The Hero with a Thousand Faces and The Power of Myth).

Write by following your characters and your gut!


P.S. - If this helped, please support me by reading my free webcomic halfwing, thanks!


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