Monday, January 25, 2016

Creating A Memorable Story World: A Lesson from WDW

***Happy Monday! While some of us are sitting in the stark, and maybe wintry blizzard weather, I chose to re-share a fun post inspired by sunny Florida from last March. Aaah...enjoy!***

Last week, my husband and I braved the Spring Break crowd and took our kids to Disney World! It was the first time they have been, and it was something I wasn't sure that we would ever do. But the stars aligned for us to visit the most magical place on earth! 

My writerly senses went haywire as I walked into a story-land perfectly crafted for the audience. I just knew that I would have to post about something I learned in the kingdom of fairytales and storytelling...and you know, it really wasn't that hard to find material! Let's just say, Disney sure has a knack of getting to the heart of their audience, just like we (as authors) want to do with our own readers. 

So, what does Disney have to teach the writing world? Here are just a few things I found as we took boat, bus, and monorail to Cinderella's castle, Ariel's grotto, and Pizza Planet....


There were characters, characters, EVERYWHERE...and they acted their parts to the FULL! Each character, whether an oversized Donald Duck or an exotic Princess Jasmine, played their part with every mannerism and expression they could muster to get it right. And the thing is, as an audience member, I could easily believe that they knew their part and played it well.

As writers, we should strive to make our characters so well-defined in the mind of the reader that they could pick them out in the crowd (without a bulky costume) and know exactly how they would stand, talk, and react to the world around them.  Here is a fun video of the Princess Anna from Frozen, greeting my little girl on her birthday. I was convinced she came right out of the story!!


Yes, most of us can belt out those Disney songs, like “Let It Go”, and “Never Smile at a Crocodile”...and let me tell you, Disney World pumps those songs into your head the entire stay. But something that was super fun, was sitting in an audience watching a show when all of a sudden, the whole room—regardless of country, creed, or culture—recited an awesome one-liner, like, “Just keep swimming”...or... “That wasn't flying, it was falling with style"...or..."To infinity and beyond!"

As writers, we might not have catchy music filling our readers' ears, but we have the capability of creating beauty and memorable language in our books. I love seeing the popular highlighted lines in novels on my Kindle. That's what I want to see in my books one day--to know that my words have caught a reader's attention, enough to highlight for memory-keeping's sake. Our words can be powerful, be sure to put a punch to what you write!


So not all of us want our books to leave the reader with a "Disney type" Happily Ever After, but we want to leave the reader with...something...and it has to be impactful.

Do you consider the aftermath of your work on the reader's heart, memory, and world view?

Disney obviously has given many millions of people the satisfaction of a happy ending and a long-lasting memory which starts as they leave the theater, to years of life, and then as they step into their theme parks, not minding one bit to re-live their stories through rides, shows, and displays. Each movie, story, and character gives the audience the same warm and fuzzy they got that very first time the story was told. And THAT, is a very big thing we should all hope to give our readers...

An everlasting sense of our unique story that will last long after 'The End'.

Angie Dicken is a full-time mom and lives in the Midwest with her Texas Aggie sweetheart. An ACFW member since 2010, she has written five Historical Romance novels, has a Historical underway, and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. Angie also spends her time designing one-sheets, selling Jamberry, and drinking good coffee with great friends. Check out her author page at and her personal blog at  or head over and say hello on Twitter, @angiedicken

1 comment:

Pepper Basham said...

They know the key to long-lasting stories and happily-ever-after, that's for sure! I think it started with a dreamer...
Dreamers are good for that :-)