KICKASS WITCH : Putting The "K" In Magick
Do you ever feel like there's a gigantic gap between the way you're living now and the life of your dreams? Do you sometimes wish you could wave a magick wand and all of your problems would just disappear so that you could finally step into the kickass life you know you were meant to lead? I can't promise you that transformation is as easy as waving a magick wand, but I do have quite a few tricks up my sleeve and am more than happy to share them with you here. So, chin up, Gorgeous, stick around and, most importantly... BELIEVE!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

BOOK NERD : Kickass Quotes from Story - Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles Of Screenwriting by Robert McKee

There are many ways to write a screenplay, craft a novel or even author your own life...

Using the principles presented in Story by Robert McKee has helped me do all of the above in a manner I find endlessly engaging.

For me, it's all about the way structure sets you free and how character under pressure is revealing.

There are people who say that they write by the seat of their pants and that this book is too focused on plot, whereas they are more interested in character development.

Whenever someone says that to me, I silently question whether or not they've actually read the book or tried any of the techniques it outlines.

This book will show you how careful plotting sets up tension in a way that forces characters to make choices that expose what it is they truly value and who they are beneath the surface.

They're not just hanging out, moving from whim to whim, and trying to drum up emotion where there is none. They're acting and reacting and struggling to keep up with the demands of true cause and effect, which is what a life that is fully lived will do for you, as well.

I will give you fair warning here now in saying that my enthusiasm for this book does not denote it's end-all-be-all status as The One True Way...

It's just the way for me, and I think that, if you're a creative person who uses writing or story-telling in any facet of your life, biz or magick, it's worth playing around with to see how it works for you...

"Mastery of craft frees the subconscious." -Robert McKee

"When an idea wraps itself around an emotional charge, it becomes all the more powerful, all the more profound, all the more memorable." -Robert McKee

"Your intellectual life prepares you for emotional experiences... The two realms influence each other, but first one, then the other. In fact, in life, moments that blaze with a fusion of idea and emotion are so rare, when they happen you think you're having a religious experience." -Robert McKee

"The function of structure is to provide progressively building pressures that force characters into more and more difficult dilemmas where they must make more and more difficult risk-taking choices and actions, gradually revealing their true natures, even down to the unconscious self." -Robert McKee

"An unconscious desire is always more powerful and durable, with roots reaching to the protagonist's innermost self." -Robert McKee

"You must doubt appearances and seek the opposite of the obvious. Don't skim the surface, taking things at face value. Rather, peel back the skin of life to find the hidden, the unexpected, the seemingly inappropriate- in other words, the truth." -Robert McKee

"What seems is not what is. People are not what they appear to be. A hidden nature waits concealed behind a facade of traits. No matter what they say, no matter how they comport themselves, the only way we ever come to know characters in depth is through their choices under pressure." -Robert McKee

"Pressure is essential. Choices made when nothing is at risk mean little." -Robert McKee

"...the measure of the value of any human desire is in direct proportion to the risk involved in it's pursuit. The higher the value, the higher the risk." -Robert McKee

"True character can only be expressed though choice in dilemma. How the person chooses to act under pressure is who he is- the greater the pressure, the truer and deeper the choice to character." -Robert McKee

"...decisions are far more difficult to make than actions are to take. We often put off doing something for as long as possible, then as we finally make the decision and step into the action, we're surprised by it's relative ease. We're left to wonder why we dreaded doing it until we realize that most of life's actions are within our reach, but decisions take willpower." -Robert McKee

"An emotion is a relatively short-term, energetic experience that peaks and burns and is over... The Law Of Diminishing Returns, true in life as well as in story, is this : The more often we experience something, the less effect it has. Emotional experience, in other words, cannot be repeated back-to-back with effect." -Robert McKee

"The only reliable source of emotional truth is yourself. If you stay outside your characters, you inevitably write emotional cliches. To create revealing human reactions, you must not only get inside your character, but get inside yourself." -Robert McKee

"The art of story is not about the middle ground, but about the pendulum of existence swinging to the limits, about life lived in it's most intense states." -Robert McKee

"Reality is relentlessly ironic, and this is why stories that end in irony tend to last the longest through time, travel the widest in the world, and draw the greatest love and respect from audiences." -Robert McKee

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  1. Love the idea of creating a (magickal) life through the art of story. Infact, a favourite book of mine, written by Donald Miller, goes into this subject big time.

    The Book is called " A million miles in a thousand years" and YOU HAVE GOT TO READ IT -and let me know what you think =)

    Another book I love is Tristine Rainer´s " Life as story". This woman also wrote the legendary "the new diary" and although I might never be a writer, you should see the stack of journal/diaries laying around here at my place!

    Deep down It feels good to know that words on paper can change peoples lives.
    And the same for blogposts! Thanks again for sharing!

    Sending you High vibes from from Stockholm, Sweden

    1. THANK YOU so much, Charlotte! Love the book recommendations, too!

  2. Hi Joanna!

    For 6 weeks feeling stumped over rewriting the ending of my 175,000 word novel I've worked on for 3 ½ years because my freelance editor I hired almost a year ago doesn't like my “open ending”. Feeling distraught after so many weeks I listened to a Steven King/Lee Childs interview then stumbled upon your fine video about “Story” and more. I didn't want so many YT viewers to see this so I came here. I only paid her to be a Beta Reader, but she all totally on her own accord went way beyond and wrote a detailed outline of the first four chapters, and now an outline of all 14 of the original chapters to my novel! It has expanded from about 113,000 words to 175,000, yet I do feel my story is much better.

    I'm wondering in general what you think about endings. I couldn't afford to pay her more, yet she still kept writing outlines and detail margin notes on all 14 original chapters. I gave her a $100 bonus over the initial $175 beta reader fee, but that's all I could do with her first read as I live in a sliding scale fee apt, ride bike, and take city bus. She kept saying she didn't need any bonus and now as of about 6 weeks ago started reading my latest draft again for $175, but now that's it, all I can afford. I haven't heard from her as she tends to disappear and not answer my emails. So I don't know her reaction to my latest draft writing as about 6 weeks ago I gave her 75% of it all but Act 3. Hemingway had two novels and several highly acclaimed short stories with open endings. In the movie world “Hildalgo” had an open ending and worked.

    I don't know why I'm typing all of this, and sorry it's so long. It's just I feel sometimes like something inside of me is dying over this ending and trying to change it from the way it had gravitated from my soul. I'll see parts where she missed things here and there with such large time gaps between her reading and doing other projects. Now is another example as I gave her one chapter in Act 3 about 2 weeks or more ago and no response, plus she's had for 6 weeks 75% of the story and no response. What do you think about open endings? I don't complain as it is very nice she is doing more than Beta Reading even though that's all I can afford to hire her for. Am I violating some cardinal major rule with an open ending? I'm going back to "Story" again to see too, but just wonder what you think as you speak with such authority. Thanks for your video!

    Sincerely, Winfred

    1. Hi Winfred... It looks like you've written something this reader finds extremely compelling- so much so- she wants to have a hand in shaping it. Perhaps she's a frustrated writer herself? It's lovely that she's helping you, but ultimately it's your story. If you LOVE it the way it is, it stands to reason that others may too... Stand strong in the ending you believe in. We'd all go crazy if we changed our books every time someone thought they knew how to do it better- a quality that writers seem to bring out in other people. I suppose that's why writing takes a great deal of courage. And no- you are NOT violating any cardinal rules. Keep keeping on- and trust your instincts.