Writers Write shares writing tips and resources. In this post, we share English author, Warren Ellis’s 3 questions to find a story.
Warren Ellis, born 16 February 1968, is an award-winning English author of comics, novels, graphic novels, video games, and television.
He is the author of the New York Times bestselling Gun Machine and the underground classic novel, Crooked Little Vein. His graphic novels include Transmetropolitan, Ministry of Space, and Planetary. The film Red is based on his graphic novel of the same name. Iron Man 3 is based on his Marvel Comics graphic novel Iron Man: Extremis.
He is well known for his socio-cultural commentary, which includes themes about nanotechnology, cryonics, mind transfer, and human enhancement.
We found this post on his website, and we wanted to share it with you.
Warren Ellis’s 3 Questions To Find A Story
“Identify a character in your idea.
1) What does that character WANT?
2) What does that character need to do to GET what they want?
3) What are they prepared to DO to get what they want?”
He gives examples, including this one from The Silence of the Lambs:
“…Hannibal Lector wants to be free to live in the way he wants, needs to arrange people and incidents in such a way that he can escape his current circumstances, and will kill and eat anybody he feels like in order to be free. (The difference between a “hero” and a “villain” is often the ruthlessness and extremity they’re prepared to go to in order to achieve what they want.)”
He ends by saying:
“… It’s a really simple way to discover a rough one-two-three structure that you can start to build on. You build on it by asking yourself what you can do to make 2) as difficult as possible for the characters.”
If you enjoyed this, you will love:
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- Haruki Murakami On Writing
- Laini Taylor: 5 Really Useful Writing Tips
- William Safire’s 33 Fumblerules Of Grammar
- Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules For Writers
- Writing Advice From The World’s Most Famous Authors
TIP: If you want help writing a book, buy The Novel Writing Exercises Workbook.