Almost two years ago (jesus time flies.) I wrote a blog post about some of my favorite writing tools. Since I’ve learned a lot during this time, and come across even more useful resources, I thought I’d take a second to post three of my favorite ones that I like to share to all my independent/self-publishing friends.
I know there’s at least a few storytelling enthusiasts following this blog, and I hope these will prove as useful to you as they did to me. And even if you aren’t a writer, an artist or any kind of a storyteller, you can still benefit from knowing the basics, and hey – in the best case scenario it’ll enable you to take that step towards being one.
This blog post will cover my favorite book on writing, my favorite podcast/blog and my favorite youtube-video from the last few years. These are the resources I think everyone should have access to.
And lastly, I think the most important message in all these resources is that storytelling is not just magic, but a craft that involves a hefty amount of theory and skill. And if you put enough hours into it, you too can make a story that’s at least okay – which is just one step away from a good one.
So let’s start!
1. The Book: Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
This is the book I wish I had five years ago. It’s about things we see all the time in television, but can’t really put into words because we take them for granted.
Basically, it will teach its readers how the Three Act-format works, the basic story troupes in Hollywood, and how formulaic it can be. Now when I say formulaic, I don’t mean it in a bad sense: this book teaches how to break down your story into points that will take the story forward, bring it to a satisfying end, and make sense of it all at the same time.
It’s not a book about your creative voice and individuality, but about being efficient. Hence, why I wish I’d had it five years ago, I don’t even want to tell you how much time and effort I’ve wasted because I had no idea what to do next. The time I’ve spent wallowing in waves of frustration and anger, because I was guessing the next step. Well, at least now, because of this book I’ve learned a set of tools that allow me to proceed to the next step, and have basic guidelines on what I should be aiming at. Now, what you do with those guidelines, that’s where your creativity should come to work.
Nevertheless, get this book, pronto.
2. The Podcast/Blog: The Creative Penn with Joanna Penn
Joanna Penn is an inspiration among self-published writers. She writers thrillers, self-help books, hosts a podcast/vlog on writing, teaches workshops and shares a lot of it free. The amount of work she manages to put in to get closer to her dreams is incredible, and I can’t but admire her tenacity.
But more than anything, she’s a business woman.
Now, I’ve been brought up in the world of artists; everything we do is for the sake of the fun and self-expression, and when ever we hear business talk we zone out so fast it’s like hypnosis. It’s scary really. It’s the same in the video games industry, as it is in the web comics worlds, as it is in any artist community, and it’s not helping anyone.
Hence my delight, when I noticed how much Joanna Penn is focusing on marketing and business plans alongside the creativity and craftsmanship. I’ve personally learned tons from her massive (over 200) library of podcast interviews, where she talks to select successful authors and really hammers down what strategies they used in their whole operation.
3. Youtube-video: Mr Plinkett reviews Star Wars episode 1
So this video is kind of like a summary of the two previous resources. He breaks down the movie step by step, and educates us what went wrong. While the video has a peculiar kind of sarcastic humor (hilarious), it’s also extremely helpful and I recommend to anyone who is even remotely interested in storytelling, or just throwing poo at the Star Wars prequels.
Whichever you fancy, check it out!
I’d appreciate if you let me know your favorite writing and storytelling resources, because I’m always looking for new things to study.
And while you’re at it, remember to sign up for our newsletter because I want your souls.
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