Pixar has taken over from Disney in the last few years in being the name synonymous with great movie storytelling. Currently doing the rounds on Pinterest is a list of their 22 Golden Rules, most of which are fairly standard stuff (although no less sensible for being common), such as keep what’s interesting for the audience in mind, figure out the end first, give your characters opinions, etc etc. But there was one thing on their list which really jumped out at me for being both original and incredibly useful.
When you’re stuck, make a list of what wouldn’t happen next. Lots of times, the material to get you unstuck shows up.
This is mighty cunning. So often the cause of writer’s block is because all you can think of is what can’t happen next in the plot – the negative is so loud it drowns out the positive. So plot the negative and see what positive white space is left behind.
I’ll be honest – this isn’t helping the type of writer’s block I have at the moment. What I’m currently suffering from is ‘daunting mountain syndrome’, which is by no means unique to writers. The feeling of dread and awe when, whilst standing at the start of a project, you contemplate its ultimate size and wonder whether it would be much easier to just not bother.
Of course it would. But that means you’re not a writer. Strap on those crampons, girl.