Friday, August 1, 2014

Stephen Chbosky's Keynote: How to Write Your Timeless Classic (Or Die Trying)

Stephen Chbosky wrote and directed the feature film adaptation of his novel, The Perks of Being A Wallflower. He's written novels, screenplays and edited a collection of short stories, Pieces.

Stephen Chbosky giving his keynote to over 1,200 rapt attendees

Stephen starts his talk by saying

"The next generation of classics are literally in this room."

He's sharing the rejections he got for "The Perks of Being A Walllflower, " and then tells us that:

"If you're going to write your timeless classic, it starts with you."

Step one: find the great idea - your great idea

It sounds facile, but Stephen actually shares an exercise to help us - help you -  find that idea. It's something he's done twelve times.

It's about finding out the thing about you that's most beautiful and sharing it with the world. But we're not always the best judge of our own beauty…

Here it is: Write down every story idea you have. (He suggests to register them.) Then you take that list and you share it with the people closest to you, the ones who genuinely want you to succeed. Or ask kids you're trying to reach.

Everyone who reads it will gravitate towards one or two ideas.

Taste and talent are completely different things, and often we, as authors, don't always recognize what's unique and which is the great idea we already have inside us, and this is a way to find it!

Next, Stephen walks us through the other steps - the room is riveted!

Two more amazing quotes from the keynote:

"Books change lives. Books save lives." 

and that
"If you're really doing it for you, you're doing it for the world."

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