Storytelling Advice: Make Me Care

(Filmmaker Andrew Stanton (“Toy Story,” “WALL-E”) shares what he knows about storytelling — starting at the end and working back to the beginning.)

This is a Ted talk Andrew Stanton gave in 2012. I think it’s an essential view for any writer. Note that there is a poopy word at the beginning of this video.

One of the first points he makes is that a story should make you care. This is what I personally want most in a story. Make. Me. Care.

This is why I don’t go for big dumb boring action movies. You know the type: huge explosions, interchangeable “good guy” with a gun, indistinguishable love interest, and cookie cutter bad guy. Why should I waste my time and money in a world where I don’t care about the outcome?

He makes a few other points in the talk that I’ve cribbed from one of the commenters:

– A story should start off with a well-told “promise”, like a hook or sales pitch

– A story should give the audience the “2+2”, not the “4”

– Characters should have “spines” & itches they’re always trying to scratch

– Change is fundamental; life is never static

– “Drama is anticipation mingled with uncertainty”

– Know your rules and know when to break them

– Strong unifying theme

– Sense of wonder

Bottom line. Check out this video.

4 thoughts on “Storytelling Advice: Make Me Care

  1. That looks like a great TED talk! In particular, I’m interested in how to create a “sense of wonder.” Maybe I’ll go back through some books I loved and see how that works…any ways that you know of to create wonder? (I’m always curious about other people’s reading experiences).

    • Wait, you were supposed to figure that out! 🙂

      Wonder is really hard to define. It’s one of those things you know when you see it, but not until then.

      I guess it could be as simple as giving the reader something they’ve never seen before or something they’ve seen before in a way they’ve never seen it?

      • Haha true… that makes sense–about showing the reader something that they haven’t seen before. Maybe it’s kind of like putting an interesting spin on something that makes people go “wow that’s cool.” It’s an interesting notion to consider for sure!

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