Agile Writers of Richmond

TED Talks

"What makes a great story?" This is the guiding question of Agile Writers. Here are some videos we have found instructional and even inspirational. They have added to the Agile Method and we hope you'll enjoy them as much as we have.

This is possibly my favorite Ted Talk of all time. JJ Abrams (producer of the "Lost" TV show and director of the "Star Trek" reboot) explains how to keep a viewer (reader) involved in the story by maintaining the mystery.

Nancy Duarate has studied compelling speakers and lets us know that they follow a pattern. This dovetails nicely with the Agile Writer Method. And it reminds us that we can all be great storytellers, just as Steve Jobs or Martin Luther King, Jr. were.

Andrew Stanton (writer for Pixar and writer/producer of "Wall-E" and director of "John Carter") gives us the clues to writing a compelling story. Here he tells us that readers want to solve problems and creating situations where the audience is given 2+2 - not '4'. Let the audience do the math.

Scott McCloud takes a circuitous route so you have to hang in there - but what he's telling us is that the shape of storytelling is going to take a turn and computers are going to be part of that. This is an interesting trip through the history of storytelling. Worth a view.

Chip Kidd is not just quirky and funny, but he gives us a peek into what makes a great cover for a great story. It's not as easy as it looks.

Ken Burns talks about what makes a great story. He says it's when 1+1 does not equal 2. "All story is manipulation... it's part of story telling."

James Cameron's big-budget (and even bigger-grossing) films create an unreal world all their own. In this personal talk, he reveals his childhood fascination with the fantastic -- from reading science fiction to deep-sea diving -- and how it ultimately drove the success of his blockbuster hits "Aliens," "The Terminator," "Titanic" and "Avatar." In it he says "Failure *is* an option - but Fear is not."

I share this last video because it is well-known within the Richmond Writers community. I also share it because I believe both of the characters in video are deluded. The writer has unrealistic expectations. The "friend" is trying to be helpful, but is just exposing the usual snobbery that comes with "experienced" writers.

It is our firmly held belief that anyone who has a story to tell can produce a first-draft novel in 6 months. Half of beginning Agile Writers drop out in the first 2 months because writing a novel is a lot of work. Half of those that remain finish their first draft novels in 6 months. Then about half of those create a polished novel that they publish themselves or work to have published.

You don't have to be a great grammarian or great speller to write a novel. You don't have to have connections in the writing world. What you need is a passion for your story and a plan to complete. You bring the passion, we'll bring the plan.


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