Here at Black Talent TV, our mission is the help the young and creative black community who want to make it into the audiovisual industry of entertainment. To do so, we’ve decided to launch a new series of articles with the intent to help improve the quality of your art. And it all starts here with this question, “What makes a good story?” The truth is inspiration can be found everywhere. The slightest, most insignificant event of your daily life can give birth to the most wonderful plot. But if anything can make a good story then not EVERYTHING is a good story, which is why we decided to share some tips with you.
THE RIGHT AUDIENCE FOR THE GOOD STORY
Before writing anything, a good writer needs to know who he or she is writing for. Knowing the interest of your audience is a primordial step if you’re looking for success. After all, it makes sense that your zombie story doesn’t get any praise for your little sister until you add a prince trying to save a princess in her castle from the horde of dead walkers. In the same way, your high school romance story will be of little interest to your brother until you make it revolve around the basketball team and show the mix of friendship, unity and rivalry that will lead them to win the championship.
So who will be your audience? They can be young, old or in the middle. Man, woman or both (at the same time…?). They can be highly educated, from the eternal school of life, or anything you want.
The easiest place to start is always with the audience that you belong too. This way figuring out what’s good or not becomes based on your personal taste. But no matter how many similarities there are between you and your audience, you should always write a story that you would be willing to watch. Ask yourself, “Is the story surprising enough to be worth my time? Is it different from everything that is already out there?” If not, then the story is not over just yet.
THE TOPIC OF THE MATTER
As said earlier, any topic can do just fine if worked on appropriately. What you should be more concerned about is the thought behind the idea. Your story will be seen as more deep and less cliche if you have this two-level approach.
Basically, what it means is that the topic of a good plot is only there to illustrate a bigger point–that true love always give strength to do the impossible or that the only way to defeat evil is through become evil yourself? As you can see, the knight fighting zombie story can seem a bit far-stretched at first but that doesn’t have to matter, you can just give it any significance that you want. This is about bringing a message to people that can be extremely positive, negative, or even both.
EVERY STORY HAS ITS CATEGORY
Last but not least is the genre that you choose. This is the final touch of the structure of your show. It will allow you to give power to your story. Of course, here to you need to ask if it’s a genre that your audience is likely to watch. By settling into a category, your icing a purpose to yourself and the key reason for wanting to do that is to have a clear idea of the specific mood you want to set. Do you want your show to be a thriller that holds everybody’s breath for a full hour? Do you want an action movie where the protagonist just keeps jumping from one situation into another –each one being more impressive than the last? Or maybe you would prefer having a comedy show?
Once again, your zombie killer knights would go through very different struggles if you took them from one universe to the other. Here, you can also add several genres but be careful not to include too many or it might get confusing. It’s never easy finding the right balance but that’s where the fun begins and when you do, the result is always pretty awesome.
Always ask for feedback along the way. It’s important to ask ourselves if we would like to watch our own show. If not, then it’s a clear sign it’s not over just yet. You have to add something or tweak something else. And, after all this, if you’re still not satisfied ask your family and friends to get an idea of what’s missing. It’s always helpful to get some inspiration. We’re not impartial beings and having an outsiders view and a fresh look on the story can go a long way. Get feedback before you get attached to what you think the plot and the character should be. Otherwise, what may happen is that you get too inflexible and reluctant to adapt what we think is a good idea. Moreover, people are more inclined to give you sincere feedback if you’re asking them to get inspiration rather than to just get the confirmation that you have done an awesome job and should be hired in Hollywood right away.