Writing Tips and Techniques Found in 'Arabian Nights'
How a Movie Can Help You Become a Better Storywriter
There are many things that can help to tell a story and improve your writing. In the movie Arabian Nights, there are many different examples. While watching this movie, you can learn new things by what the old storyteller tells Scheherazade, and also just by paying attention to how she tells her stories. Scheherazade tells five different stories, and from each story is an important writing tip.
The first story told by Scheherazade is Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. The first thing I learned was during this story. The old story teller told Scheherazade that the first moment is the most important. If you don’t hook your audience in the first moments, you’ve completely lost them for the whole story. Since Scheherazade was telling the story to the Sultan so he wouldn’t kill her, this was one of the most important tips.
The second story that Scheherazade told was The Tale of the Poor Hunchback. The hunchback had been the Sultan’s jester. The main point in this story that I learned was that every good story has a moral. You may not notice it but it’s always there. The moral of this story in particular was that if you tell the truth, things turn out better than when you lie. It’s important to have a moral, because it gives your story a whole new kind of layer to the writing.
Aladdin and the Magic Lamp was the third story that Scheherazade told the Sultan. One thing that was showed in this story was that men and women act out of character when they are in love. In the beginning, Aladdin was a thief and would do anything to get money, but that was before he fell in love. Once he was married to the princess, he wasn’t as observant, and suspicious, and many things slipped his mind. All he thought about was the princess. This seemed to make him kinder too. This is something important to remember when making up or writing a story because, you can have a character completely transform into someone new when they fall in love, and it’s usually for the better.
The fourth story, The Sultan and the Beggar, had a tip too, in almost every good story, the good guy wins. The Sultan had been cruel and mean to the beggar, playing the mean trick of making him believe he was Sultan, and then throwing him back on the streets. Yet, he didn’t play this mean trick just once, he played it twice. The second time, he was outsmarted though. The beggar had killed him, and he himself actually ended up becoming the permanent Sultan. The bad guy died, and the good guy won. This is one of the oldest conflicts, and happy endings used in writing.
In the last story, The Three Princes, the main writing and storytelling tip that I learned was that when you work together most things are possible and even if you’re constantly arguing and fighting, hard times can band you together. This is important because it's something that you can use in every story, no matter the situation.
Throughout the movie, there were techniques that were used in every story, but never mentioned specifically. The first was leaving the audience in suspense. One term used for it is a hook. At the end of every night, Scheherazade left the story on a hook, wanting the Sultan to continue to want to know what happens next, and letting her live another night over and over again. This is one way to keep an audience always wanting more.
Another technique always used was a conflict. In every story, there is always a conflict, whether it’s man versus self, man versus man, man versus machine, or man versus nature, there is always a conflict. Those are just the basic ones, and the one that was mostly used in the stories was man versus man. It’s what makes every story good. The stronger the conflict, the better the story.
In the end, the very last tip that the movie had, was any story can be used in real life. The end of the movie there was a war between the Sultan and his brother, and, like all good stories, the good guys won. In order to do that though, they used lots of tricks that had been used in all of the five different stories, proving that things in a story can be put to use in real life and be very useful.
In conclusion, I learned and saw many different writing tips and techniques used in the movie Arabian Nights. Most you wouldn’t even realize were there unless you were looking for them, but they were all there.