The Gift of Wonder

During this holiday season, please take time to enjoy the wonders in your world and the world around you. To paraphrase the words of Dr. Seuss’s Grinch, “The best moments of wonder come without packages, boxes, price tags, or bags.”

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for the New Year!Jillian


A small gift of wonder also comes with the link below. Don’t be fooled by the title. The stars steal the show.

The Twelve Days of Blog Links

I’m avoiding the malls, darning my holiday apparel, and figuring out where to move the Elf on the Shelf. Enjoy the links below all at once or one day at a time. No one is peeking. – Jillian

12 Most Crucial Tips when Communicating Criticism

11 Amazing Writers You Haven’t Heard of Yet

10 Excellent Reading Nooks

9 Brooklyn Writers and How They Work

8 Tutorials to Get Beautiful Holiday Photos

7 The James Bond 007 Guide to Writing

6 Common Plot Fixes

5 Ways to Make Your Novel Unforgettable

4 Simple Steps Writers Can Take to Become Better Proofreaders

3 Types of Character Arcs…

2 Critical Factors for Successful Stories

1 So You Want to Write a Novel by Galen Foley

Writing Tips to Stuff in Your Story

In the spirit of the holiday season, I’m sharing more than a few of my favorite storytelling tips. The ones below are from a speech by Oscar-winning Pixar film director and screenwriter, Andrew Stanton. – Jillian

  1. Storytelling is joke telling. It’s knowing your punch line, your ending, knowing that everything you’re saying, from the first sentence to the last is leading to a singular goal.”
  2. Make me care. Emotionally, intellectually, aesthetically – just make me care.”
  3. “…It’s fundamentally making a promise to viewers that this story will lead to something that’s worth your time.”
  4. “The audience actually wants to work for their meal. They just don’t want to know that they’re doing that. Your job as a storyteller is to hide the fact that you’re making them work for their meal.”
  5. “We’re born problem solvers. We’re compelled to deduce and to deduct, because that’s what we do in real life. It’s this well-organized absence of information that draws us in.”
  6. …The Unifying Theory of Two Plus Two, make the audience put things together. Don’t give them four. Give them two plus two. The elements you provide and the order you place them in is crucial to whether you succeed or fail at engaging the audience.”
  7. “Stories are inevitable, if they’re good. But they’re not predictable.
  8. “…All well-drawn characters have a spine. The character has an inner motor, a dominant, unconscious goal that they’re striving for, an itch that they can’t scratch.”
  9. “Change is fundamental in story. If things go static, stories die, because life is never static.”
  10. “When you’re telling a story, have you constructed anticipation? In the short-term, have you made me want to know what will happen next? But more importantly, have you made me want to know how it will all conclude in the long-term? Have you constructed honest conflicts with truth that creates doubt in what the outcome might be?”
  11. A strong theme is always running through a well-told story.
  12. “The best stories infuse wonderAnd that’s what I think the magic ingredient is, the secret sauce. Can you invoke wonder? For me there’s no greater ability than the gift of another human being giving you that feeling, to hold them still just for a brief moment in their day, and have them surrender to wonder.”

What are your favorite storytelling tips?


To watch Andrew Stanton’s speech, which has language that some viewers may find objectionable, click on the link below. (Run time: 19 minute 16 seconds)