From the Forge: How Emotional Honesty Empowers Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises

I’m writing from StoryForge Productions today! Here’s a snippet from my last Month-a-Zaki article:

Throughout his career, Hayao Miyazaki changed the realm of storytelling. He had a fruitful “ten years in the sun,” and brought it to a close with one last masterpiece. The Wind Rises is his beautiful farewell to animation, leaving his audiences with the bittersweet tang of achieved dreams.

Differing greatly from Miyazaki’s previous films, The Wind Rises engages silence and sound with increasingly emotive effects. The protagonists, Jiro and Naoko, are older than many of Miyazaki’s characters, such as Sophie, Chihiro, Ponyo and Kiki. With their age comes weightier themes, such as chasing perfection and embracing love, whatever pain each may bring. (Read more at the Forge, and see the fantastic art!)

5 Insights on Writing about Children from My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro is yet another example of Miyazaki’s unusual plots arcs, but this one veers away from the rollercoaster-like style of Spirited Away or Howl’s Moving Castle. Instead, the plot is driven by childlike wonder, joy and grief. The story digs deep into the characters’ psychology and brings out moments that melt viewers into a puddle of fond recognition. Miyazaki reawakes our childlike dreams without condescension. He never looks down on his young characters as childish; he understands their intensity, purity and complexity.

When writing about children, you can…Read More at StoryForge Productions (and see the fantastic art that accompanies!)

Howl’s Moving Castle: Storytelling through Character and Concept

I’ve gotten quite tired of emotionally uninspiring plot diagrams, so here’s a  quick breakdown of high and low concept stories. Hopefully Miyazaki’s storytelling in Howl’s Moving Castle can offer you some freedom from formulae. Read the article Storytelling through Character and Concept” here!

SLY and Freelancing

As you have probably noticed, many of my posts have mentioned StoryForge recently, so maybe it’s time to update you on my career direction!

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I thought that you might want a face to go with the name 😉 My husband and I in Michigan last October. The face he is making—that’s from the cold, haha

Several weeks ago I quit my teaching job. It was a difficult but quick decision; I love the people that I worked with, but I wanted to focus more on my freelancing. I’m still writing interior decor articles (and loving it), and recently I started working with marking proposals, copyediting, and graphic design for another company. While they stretch me Continue reading

Growing Organic Characters

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In Spirited Away, Miyazaki’s young protagonist Chihiro starts as a whiny, passive child, but the story forces her to grow up or give up, creating a bildungsroman of bravery and selflessness.

Miyazaki’s Spirited Away: Growing Organic Characters, from StoryForge Productions

My roommate knit soot sprites for my birthday! They are called suru, 「する」and they are in both My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away. Aren’t they so very cute?