Flashback: Everything I Need to Know About Writing I Learned from Disney Movies

When you see “Flashback” in front of an article, it means it is an article that originally appeared on Word Museum in the beginning before it was sold and then regained by Lori. We have reposted these articles, because we feel they add great value to the site. Where possible we include the date of the original article.

Written By: Lori Soard
Date: 08/02/2001

Article

EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT WRITING, I LEARNED FROM DISNEY MOVIES by Lori Soard August 5, 2000

Remember when every Sunday the family would gather round the TV for the Disney Family Movie? Movies that were filled with heroes, heroines, honor and the good guy winning.

Every Sunday was training for me as a writer. While I munched on popcorn, I also learned the fundamentals of a good story.

1) There must be a hero. Someone who stands out above the crowd. Examples: Peter Pan, Bambi, and yes even Goofy has his own heroic qualities.

2) The villain must have sympathetic qualities as well as flaws to be believable. The best example is Peter Pan’s “Hook.” Who couldn’t relate to Hook’s very real fear of the crocodile? While we despise his tactics, we relate to his fear. It makes him more real.

3) Start with a bang. With the exclusion of “Fantasia,” most Disney movies start with a major event. Some sort of action. Little Mermaid’s concert or Lady and the Tramp’s birth of “baby.”

4) Keep the middle moving. The best example is 101 Dalmations, which is sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat-and-chew-your-fingernails action.

5) Always have a happy ending. The good guy always wins. Example: Any Disney movie. This rule applies to genre fiction.

Over the years, I’ve picked up 1000’s more tidbits from those movies. It just goes to show that writers learn from every experience. Be open to new challenges. Look at the world like a writer and you never know what you might learn.