What makes a great story?

"Creative" Writing?

As we start this Creative Writing class, we will explore how story-tellers make us laugh, cry, fume, gasp, snort, and ultimately... care. We have all read "good" books and "bad" books. We've seen great blockbusters and cheesy comedies. Ones we want to buy and keep on our shelf and ones for which we ask for a refund. Our goal for these first days of class is to explore the following resources to determine "What makes a good story?" Because whether we write a poem, a greeting card, a short story, a fan-fiction, a comic book, or an inspirational cat poster, we need to tell a story.

Andrew Stanton and Film. Who are you?

In the TED Talk linked below, you will hear from one filmmaker on his techniques to tell a great story. (Note: some language at the beginning) What techniques does he share?

Same text, different illustrations. How does the story change?

The following comics are from a site called Zen Pencils by Gavin Aung Than, who takes famous quotes and illustrates them in a paneled comic format. These are from the poem "Invictus" by William Ernest Henley.
  1. The first was posted February 10, 2012
  2. The second, December 13, 2013 (shortly after the death of Nelson Mandela)

Pixar. Why am I crying in a "kid's" movie?

When a storyboard artist from Pixar named Emma Coats tweeted 22 Tips on Storytelling from Pixar, it was reposted relentlessly on the web. Once such blogger is linked above. While many say these "tips" do not originate solely with Pixar, how does this production company tell stories that people from almost any age or background can relate to? Whether it's a fish trying to find his son or a robot discovering the wonders of the universe.

Stephan Vladimir Bugaj took those 22 tips and analyzed them over a series of articles which he complied into a free online eBook called Pixar's 22 Rules of Story (that aren't really Pixar's) Analyzed.

*Photo credit: "John Lasseter-Up-66th Mostra" by nicolas genin - originally posted to Flickr as 66ème Festival de Venise (Mostra). Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -