Why Structure Will Never Make Your Stories Stand Out from the Crowd with Paul Guyot
Updated: Nov 6
Do you want to unlock your potential as a writer and create stories that captivate and resonate with readers and viewers? Wondering how you can develop your unique voice in storytelling? Well, then this is the episode for you.
POP QUIZ, Hotshot!
You want to be a writer.
You KEEP hearing all the gurus tell you about the specific formulas and structures you MUST follow to be successful and sell your writing.
But nothing happens.
Nobody is beating down your door to pay you for your writing, watch your content, or even listen to your stories.
You're confused! You followed the exact equation for successful writing in all those books you bought on story structure. You used the Hero's Journey and everything!
So you become discouraged. And you stop writing consistently.
What do you do... ?
WHAT DO YOU DO?!!
You listen to Paul Guyot's episode on The Storytelling Lab and immediately go buy his book, Kill the Dog: The First Book on Screenwriting to Tell You the Truth!
Paul Guyot is a veteran screenwriter (30 years in the biz!) who helps aspiring writers discard all the advice from the so-called "gurus" and instead focus on finding their unique voice. Paul believes that discipline is the key to success, but it's not about forcing oneself to write a specific number of words or pages each day. Instead, it's about showing up consistently and being open to the muse when it arrives. Drawing inspiration from sports legends like Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods, Paul highlights the value of hard work and dedication in honing one's craft. He challenges the notion that storytelling can be reduced to a formula, emphasizing the importance of originality and quality in creating compelling narratives.
In this episode, Paul discusses how to:
Discover the power of your unique voice and unlock your storytelling potential.
Overcome the challenges and misconceptions surrounding story structure to unleash your creativity.
Harness the value of discipline and a consistent routine to fuel your writing journey.
Gain insights from the parallels between creative and non-creative professions for greater self-awareness and growth.
Embrace the evolving cultural understanding that talent alone is not enough, and learn the keys to success in creative endeavors.
Discover and embrace your unique voice
In the realm of storytelling and screenwriting, finding and embracing your unique voice serves as a critical stepping stone toward authentic and compelling narratives. Paul discusses how writers should focus more on their individual expression rather than adhere to a set framework. This approach allows their work to stand out, offering a refreshing perspective that has the potential to captivate audiences in a non-homogenized world.
Overcome writer's block challenges
Every writer is bound to face the hurdle of writer's block at some point. However, Paul Guyot emphasizes the importance of maintaining discipline, consistency, and self-awareness in overcoming this challenge. By recognizing and understanding one's blocks and triggers, aspiring writers gain the ability to break through the barrier and achieve a steady flow of creativity.
Cultivate discipline and consistency
In an industry often colored by instant fame and success narratives, Guyot underscores the necessity of cultivating discipline and consistency in the writing process. These traits, he argues, ultimately contribute to a long-term, sustainable career in screenwriting. Drawing from his own experience of making a good living without becoming a household name, he illustrates that success lies in regularly engaging in and refining one's craft.
"You HAVE to be ready when the muse shows—and I believe Stephen King talked about it in his book On Writing—that if you're not in that chair every day, if you're not at it every day, the muse isn't going to find you. You've got to be there every single day.
- Paul Guyot
If you struggle to stand out with your writing and content creation and want to make a consistent practice of it, this is the episode for you!
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Some of the highlights of our conversation:
00:01:32 - Imposter Syndrome and Writer's Block
00:03:07 - Approach to Off Days
00:06:07 - Productivity and Routine
00:14:31 - The Popularity of How-To Books in Screenwriting
00:18:14 - Success as a Working Screenwriter
00:19:38 - Falling in Love with the Idea of Being a Writer
00:21:55 - The Importance of the "Why" in Pitching
00:28:51 - The Importance of Writing and Finding Your Voice
00:30:28 - The Pitfall of Only Focusing on Selling One Idea
00:32:00 - The Dangers of Armchair Experts
00:34:14 - Character-Driven Writing vs. Formulaic Approach
00:35:19 - Learning from Mistakes and the Importance of Fresh Eyes
00:44:02 - Importance of Tapping into Personal Experiences
00:45:04 - Frustrations with Screenwriting Books
00:48:18 - Evolution of the Entertainment Industry
00:52:26 - The Rise of AI in Storytelling
00:54:06 - Success of Unique Storytelling
As always, I hope you enjoy the episode!
Peace and Love,
Follow Paul on:
Or visit his website HERE!
For more storytelling tips and tricks,
Visit my website rainbennett.com, or
Follow me on TikTok @rainbennett_storycoach
Follow me on Twitter @rainbennett
Follow me on Instagram @rainbennett
Follow me on Facebook @thestorytellinglab
Subscribe to my Youtube Channel
The resources mentioned in this episode are:
Purchase Paul Guyot's book, Kill The Dog. The chapter on writer's block is a must-read!
Check out Seth Godin's work: Learn more about his take on writer's block.
Explore different writing techniques: The keys to narrative writing with Paul Guyot's guidance.
Practice self-awareness: Recognize when you're experiencing writer's block or just having a bad day.
Be kind to yourself: Give yourself grace and don't beat yourself up when creativity isn't flowing.
Establish a consistent routine: Show up every day at the same time to cultivate discipline in your writing.
Embrace the muse: Be present and ready for inspiration by being consistently in the writing chair.
Read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield: Gain insight into the similarities between creative endeavors and other disciplines.
Learn from the greats: Study athletes like Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods to understand the importance of work ethic.
Don't rely solely on talent: Understand that hard work and dedication are what truly set successful individuals apart.