Here’s a neat thing. Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling. It’s all great advice from Pixar story boarder Emma Coates, who originally tweeted these rules. She’s got a tumblr chock full of great advice. For example, she recommends creating your own story board from an existing movie.
There’s this thing I’ve done on and off for the last half-decade or so. It’s one of the things that I’d like to add to a daily routine if I can get it together enough. For anywhere from 15 minutes to a half hour, I let my imagination go and write what I see in my head. I heard once that author Terry Pratchett wrote their novels as if they were transcribing a movie that was playing in their head. (I tried to find the actual quote but couldn’t). That’s what I try to do. The less I use the part of my brain that decides and plans and the more I just let my imagination just do its thing without interference, the better.
Did you ever hear an author talk as if their characters had life of their own? I once hear that Mary Poppins author, Pamela Lyndon Travers, once said (again I can’t find the damned quote! :) ) that Mary Poppins just flew in from a window one day and into her stories. The public radio program, To The Best Of Our Knowledge has an episode devoted to the idea that the creative part of ourselves is also a separate, less conscious part of our minds. Animator Don Hertzfeldt spoke at length in an interview (in two parts) about how they thought of their creative process being largely out of their control and they relate this idea to free will experiments.
This is the thing I’m trying to tap into when I do anything “creative”. Now that I think of it, that’s probably more stuff than just writing and drawing. I should try to tap into that with more stuff than that.