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9

When a story becomes timeless, I think it is because it tells some universal "truth". The story is just an example of this truth, while the underlying morale can be applied to almost any time in history. And what was present on the earth 2000 years ago, and still is today? People. Human beings. Characters. If you look at the example of 9/11, what mechanisms ...


8

I think the main issue here is "accessibility out of context" i.e. how accessible is the raw emotion behind the event to someone viewing it with very little context to go on. The most immediate and easily accessible example of accessible emotion is the killing of Bambi's mother in Bambi, it's one of the most popularly referenced moments of movie sadness in ...


5

Allusion is a time-honoured writing technique. Copyright only protects the expression, not the idea itself, so as long as the expression is yours (you are saying things in your own words), you should be in the clear. Short quotes will generally be okay as well, under a "fair use" or similar policy, but should be properly attributed and sourced, if possible, ...


5

Consider that the theme in author A's book that is inspiring you was almost certainly found by author A in author B's work and inspired them, and so on. What's important is that you find a unique and original way to weave a story around that theme. For instance: Humble, unremarkable individual finds, quite by accident, some supremely important object ...


4

Some of the most interesting and groundbreaking genre writing was written by authors who have come from literary fiction or another genre. For example, Tolkien was not a Fantasy reader or writer before he wrote the Hobbit and the LotR. The problem with fans writing what they love is that it too often turns into a bad rip off of the original. Just write ...


4

You can't have fast action scenes without slow, wind-down scenes, because if everything is fast, how can you tell it's fast, when you have no slow scenes to compare them to? The same way you can't have light without the dark, good without evil. If everything is the same pace, the same rhythm, it's neither slow nor fast, it becomes the norm. It's monotonous ...


4

I always studied the hero's journey, where the main character goes trough a development process that works for most (if not all) plots. J. K. Rowling used that in all her Harry Potter's books, and I think they are awesome examples. Basically, the character goes trough these steps (I'm sorry if I didn't use the correct English terms): Everyday life The ...


4

There is always the classic, Writers Digest.


4

You need to have express permission from the author before you can translate a book into another language or adapt it into another format -- otherwise, you're liable for copyright infringement. Works that are in the public domain are exempt from this. The rules how a work passes into the public domain vary, but generally it's 70 years after the author's ...


4

The BBC did a great documentary series a while ago called "In Their Own Words", which consisted of great interview footage with a number of famous British authors, including Huxley, Tolkein, Woolf, W Somerset Maugham, Zadie Smith, and a host of others. Some of the interview footage is available at the BBC Archive. I'm not sure if this is available to non-UK ...


4

Misery. ETA Allow me to explain my facetiousness. Misery is a Stephen King story about Paul, a writer of a popular series set in Victorian times starring Misery Chastain. Paul finally gets tired of the character and kills her off in what he believes to be the final book of the series. He gets into a car accident in a snowstorm and is rescued by Annie, ...


4

This sounds like a very scientific approach to something that's not a science. :-) In any case, Wikipedia's article on Genre Fiction is probably as good a place to start as any. From there, you can click on links for more detailed analyses of genres that look interesting to you. That said, you're not actually going to be able to effectively mix genres ...


3

Writers Digest is a fine magazine; another to consider is "the writer" - http://www.writermag.com/ I would also recommend magazines that include writing you consider "good" that can be inspiring; Inc. Magazine (http://www.inc.com/ ) comes to mind. You can generally get a subscription for Inc. for $10/USD per year if you shop around, and most of the ...


3

The only one I can think of was a movie called Freedom Writers, which is about a high school writing class. Each character has to find their own voice and they learn about writing in history as well.


3

Take elements from multiple sources and combine them in a unique way. The reality is that none of us is entirely original; we all borrow (consciously or unconsciously) from others. French writer Georges Polti claimed in the 19th century that there were only 36 dramatic situations that could occur in a story or performance. More recently Christopher Booker ...


1

I have a bit of a writing exercise to suggest. I used it myself when tying to "find my voice", and probably absorbed the idea from someone else. First, pick a simple setting that is fairly open-ended and adaptable to many styles and genres. Then (without any specific characters, plot, or ending in mind) begin to write a scene in that setting in each style ...


1

The difference between copyright violation, plagiarism, and inspiration is a range and not three distinct points. Obviously -- I think this is obvious anyway -- if you copy somebody else's story word for word and put your own title and by-line on it, that's copyright violation. If you take somebody else's story and make just enough changes to avoid ...


1

The "sequencing" of story into slower and faster sections is an old, established technique; think of them as minor climaxes - threads reaching their "special moments". It creates flow, it builds up to every important part, and builds tension. As every rule though, this one can be broken. I don't remember the title, but I still remember the story where the ...


1

If you want the outside layout and a small glimpse of the inside of Chernobyl NPP, follow John Smithers' advice: grab a copy of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Shadow of Chernobyl, read a game guide on how to get the "Good Ending" and play it through. The authors took only minimal amounts of artistic liberties while re-creating the outside layout of the NPP, and while the ...


1

If it's documentaries or similar you want then why not check out some of the many, many website out there dedicated to screenwriting or writing and watch some of the interviews or panel discussions they post. A lot of them are at an hour long, some even longer, and they will inform, encourage, inspire and educate in equal measure. Start with ...


1

If you know German: http://www.textartmagazin.de/


1

Why not just put a blindfold on and walk around your house for a few hours? Take notes into a recorder or a voice note app about what you're feeling, thinking, smelling, hearing, about whether other senses have sharpened, if you're slowing down, etc. Additionally, the children's book Follow My Leader is quite good about showing how a previously sighted boy ...


1

Check out The Quills. That will get your blood pumping. Also, if you're a fan of Robert E. Howard, check out The Whole Wide World. Too much major studio sap, and the score is melodramatic, and his big relationship is overblown. Otherwise, an inspiring biography about an inspired writer. Following those two, I guess I'd recommend The Shining (grin).



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