Writing Saturday: Lessons from Zorro

5:56 PM

Writers can often learn many things from movies about character development, story arcs, and storytelling. Recently, I watched the 1990 Zorro TV series and was very impressed. So many shows of this type become repetitive after the first season. The same types of plots happen, and the good guy uses the same solution. It was different in this series. This series was very different things happen and very different solutions. Okay 90% of the time it was different.

Too often as authors of multiple books, our writing becomes repetitive. It is easy to do.  We like one type of hero or heroin, a plot works so well we twist it and use it again, or we don't want to bother with coming up with new setting. It is so easy to get stuck in a runt so here are some of the tips I learned for this TV show

  1. Never defeat the bad guy the same way. Zorro defeats a bad guy in almost every episode of this series, but how he does it is very different. Sometimes he uses words, swords, whips, explosives, or trickery. Every time you write a book re-image the defeat of your bad guy.
  2. Plots need to change every book. Not long ago, my mom read three books by a very popular author. Although she was a great writer, her plot was basically the same. Make sure every book is different enough your readers won't feel like they are reading the same book over and over again.
  3. In a series, make sure you are building to a climax to keep your readers reading. The in the Zorro series, there were many things that characters keep putting off until; "I can take off the mask" and; "when there is no need for Zorro any longer." You can't wait for the end when all is revealed in the end.
  4. Have character with emotion.  If you do nothing else right in your book, make sure your characters have real emotions. If your readers empathize with them it makes up for a whole lot of short comings.
Do you have an tips out how to keep stories from becoming stale?

All pictures from http://www.newworldzorro.com/

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