Writing 101: Always Be a Critic

I haven’t made a lot of time for reading lately, something people are always surprised to find out about me when they also know that I’m a writer. But no matter how much I don’t read, I’m exposed to storytelling every single day -- both good and bad. And I’m a huge critic of all the stories I come into contact with. This is a post about why you should be like me, too.

Picking it Apart

Storytelling is everywhere, from movies to TV shows to songs to commercials. You’ll see short stories, long stories, dramatic stories -- every kind of story is available at all times, and you can probably get to it from your cell phone. And when you encounter any story, you should be criticizing it. This will help you to become a better storyteller. Seriously, it will. I’m not saying that because I like being judgmental.

Me being judgmental is beside the point. The point is, be critical of all the stories you encounter. Your favorite TV show, for example. What do you like about it? What don’t you like about it? Are the characters relatable, does the dialogue ring true, do you enjoy the dramatic twists or the tongue-in-cheek humor? Notice what you like and don’t like about the stories that draw you in, no matter what kind of stories they are or how they get told to you.

You should be noticing what works and what doesn’t. If you can figure out how the story ends before it ends, that’s not really working. Be a critic with every story, and you’ll begin to learn much more about how to tell stories in a better way. Always be a critic when it comes to every story so you can keep polishing up your own stories. And you’ll want them polished...because I’ll be out there somewhere, critiquing you, too.

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