Half The Course Is Over And This Is What I Have Learnt

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With the course having passed its mid-point, we asked the students about their biggest learnings and take-aways from First Draft. Here are some of their answers:

  1. It is easy to intellectually stimulate your audience and far more difficult to make them laugh and cry. A truly memorable story holds its audience through the power of raw emotions, not intellect.

  1. Writing is a painful process, like birthing a child. But staying at it and going through that pain may bless you with a magical moment of creativity.

  2. People usually give importance to finding out what is right for a story. But finding what is wrong helps you just as much. It’s selection by cancellation. Survival of the fittest idea.

  3. A film can follow the established rules of writing and still be groundbreakingly original.

  4. When it feels like everything is going wrong, come back down to the basics.

  1. There are definite methods to writing – ordering emotions, avoiding coincidences, creating your hero’s journey, structuring your film – and these can be learnt.

  1. You need to develop your own process that works for you, and yet allows you to ensure your story stays engaging at every stage.

  1. There is probably nothing more critical to writing than cultivating a discipline.

  1. A story is beautiful only if it is told within the timeframe it deserves. Else it becomes like the sweet guest who overstays his welcome.

  1. Word limits are amazing. They might be challenging, yes, but it keeps the story in check beautifully!

  1. Deadlines are your allies, not the enemy. You need deadlines for discipline, not restriction.

  1. Don’t look for endorsements in the feedback.

  1. Take each day on its own merit and do not worry about the end goal.

  1. It is really important to divide your writing into small tangible goals. It can be writing a perfect, emotionally moving 300-word draft or just charting out your characters’ backstory that day.

  1. You will struggle every day for the rest of your life. Everyone loves a good end product. But getting there takes many frustrating days, multiple drafts and pushing through tons of self-doubt.
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