Monday, June 9, 2008

The "Magic" Kingdom

What does it tell you about the last few days that it’s after ten at night and I’m just getting to today’s blog? No, it doesn’t tell you I’m a lazy goof off who just got back from Disneyland! What gave you that idea? Oops, sorry. Let me just take off the Mickey ears. Actually I’ve been busy answering questions for the blog tour. I’ve been visiting places like Hawaii, Narnia, Water Keep, and playing Call of Duty 4.

Among the questions I’ve answered include how I name my creatures, what my worst job was, and if I wet the bed as a child. Entertaining, one and all. This really is going to be a blast.

Anyway, in honor of spending way too many hours at the land Mickey built, I thought I’d post about how everything I know about writing I learned at Disneyland.

Start on Main Street. Don’t give me flashbacks, dream sequences, or flowery descriptions. Put me on the road to a great story and give me something I want to follow.

The best cruises include plenty of laughs. Laughter is a great way to keep me interested.
Why do so many stories have a comic sidekick? Because laughter breaks up the tension, makes me like the characters, and gives me a change of pace. But please, come up with something better than the backside of water.

Immerse me in your world. Walt Disney hated to see a cowboy walking through Tomorrowland or a yodeler in Adventureland. That’s why he built tunnels under Disneyworld. When I was in Frontierland, I watched a mayor stump for election in front of the saloon, rode a steam ship past Indian villages, and listened to a band of fiddle/banjo/guitar playing fools while I gnawed on a giant turkey leg. Give me the sights, smells, and sounds that make your world real for me.

Don’t ever, ever, ever, let me get bored—even when you are trying to move the story along. Yes, I need to get from point A to point B. But keep me entertained. Disneyland has thousands of storylines. You need a bare minimum of three per novel. And preferably more.

Thrills are key but setting makes it all come together. Yes, the tower of Terror is scary. But why? Just down the road apiece is a ride with a bigger drop and a faster ascent. Why is it not as scary? Because you scare the bejeebers out of me before I even get on the elevator with the creepy rooms, weird sounds, and the whole Twilight Zone story. By the time I start going up in the elevator, I am primed to scream my head off. Never create a setting just to make a place. Use every scene to create the mood you need.

Bring back favorite characters, but keep the story growing. I love Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s my all time favorite ride. But I have to admit, I was pretty darn excited to try out the new Finding Nemo submarine ride. In a series, book two needs to keep the story growing and be bigger and better than book one. But don’t jettison the old favorites.

And finally, Dole Whip is the food of the gods. I don’t know for sure how that relates to writing, but I think I ate my weight in Dole Whip. Ummmm.

So what writing or reading tips have you learned at a Disney park?


DesLily said...

MMMMMmmmm Dole Whip! Gots to get me some of that!!

I finished Far World! (not giving any thoughts away here... but I will be ording the hard back for my grandson!).. I've been busy writing my review where I can save it for August... and also busy writing questions to send to you! whew...

Glad you had a grand time at Disney! I lived in Florida for 13 yrs and went numerous times to it down there!! I could never get enough! But then my generation grew up on "Uncle Walt" on television!! and that was waaaay before the Mickey Mouse Club! hahaha

DesLily said...

argh! you'd think I'd spellcheck before I hit enter!!

I'll be ORDERING the hardback... *sigh* I need a second cup of coffee!

Brian said...

I disagree with something you said in that post. The Tower of Terror is not scary! I admit that before you get on the ride, it's kinda creepy, but overall, it was awesome! Even my 7 year old brother, who was floating into the air on the ride, thought it was great and went on it again. Then again, if you don't like rollercoasters or adrenaline, it would seem kinda scary.

Mrs S said...

Oh the jealousy that you have spent time with the Mouse himself!

I'm a regular visitor to WDW and those imagineers are just the very best story tellers. It's all about suspending belief and getting caught up in the magic...


Tamra Norton said...

Love is alive in Disneyland! Mickey has Minnie, Donald has Daffy, and Savage has Mrs. Incredible (I'm talking the incredible Mrs. Savage). :) This may not be a guy thing, or a fantasy thing, but in my stories there's at least a crush, if not "puppy love."

Jen said...

Tamra, Tamra, Tamra.

Donald has DAISY! Having Daffy would make him, um, not exactly appropriate for a family-oriented park.

Thanks, though, for the "Incredible Mrs. Savage" tag.

Tamra Norton said...


LOL--Okay, so in my defense I've been working at cub scout camp ALL WEEK IN THE HOUSTON HEAT!!! YES--Donald indeed has DAISY!!!! (Oh my word--I'm all kinds of brain dead!) :-/