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60. Make Stuff Up

60. Make Stuff Up

“The great instrument of moral good is the imagination.” -Percy Shelly

For creative storytelling, don’t be afraid to make a few things up. If you find yourself trapped by your own rules, remember that you made them and you can shift them around a bit to serve the plot.

Your job is to be consistent and to communicate, avoid getting hamstrung by too many details outside of this. Often allowing yourself the freedom to experiment will give you the tools to tell better stories.

We can draw an example from our friends at IDEO. They come up with dozens of completely irrational ideas before locking in on the way they are going to use. The reason? At the core of most of these ideas is some conceptual truth that can be harvested and used to make something better.

Dr. Seuss put it nicely, “My alphabet starts with this letter called yuzz. It’s the letter I use to spell yuzz-a-ma-tuzz. You’ll be sort of surprised what there is to be found once you go beyond ‘Z’ and start poking around!” Great stories come from taking practical, normal and completely ordinary concepts and shifting them by a few degrees. If you don’t give yourself the freedom to make stuff up, you’ll find that your stories will always be traveling down well worn paths.

Hey, why not. Take a look above for another Dr. Seuss clip, he’s always good for a lesson on making things up.

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