Randomly picked up a book at the library recently. It’s called “Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer” by Roy Peter Clark. I knew nothing of the author, but it looked up-to-date and easy to digest.
After flipping through a few chapters, it’s quite an interesting read. Most of the books I’ve consumed on writing have been screenwriting focused, which tend to be more story-oriented. Clark’s book however (which is intended for all kinds of writing, from poetry to journalism) talks about the joy (and power) of words, sentences, paragraphs… And how to use them effectively. And it’s quite good.
One particular chapter I enjoyed is “Draft a mission statement for your work.”
For myself, I think it’s something I do informally with every script that I write, but I really want to start applying it in a more focused manner.
A lot of times I find myself losing focus. Maybe it’s a producer wanting a rewrite, or maybe it’s just me getting bored with a character. When these issues arise, a mission statement helps me to find that excitement and purpose behind the story.
For myself I divided this mission statement into 4 categories:
• Theme – What is the “big idea” I want to get across, not just the theme that arises in every story, but also my personal beliefs?
• Form – What makes this script different than the one before it? How can I push myself as writer? How can I tell a story in a new way?
• Tone – What emotions do I want to evoke? What “kind” of story is it? Adventure, comedy, drama? How does this affect the themes?
• Character – What is the character journey? Why is it happening? What makes these characters unique?
What other areas can you think of that might be applicable in a writers mission statement?