Bring the fun. The play. The magic.
The first question anyone should ask about a story, whether you’re writing yours, working on telling one in some form or you are evaluating one from someone else: is it fun? Hopefully you won’t even have to ask that. It should be something you feel.
As strange as it may sound, it is all too easy to lose the fun in stories.
You might add spark with conflict. Or rewrite it all to bring out the theme. And what’s really the message here? Are the beats in the right place? Maybe restructure the second and third act. Watch out for safety issues and that imitative behaviour. Oh but that one part contradicts what a character did six episodes ago so strike that. Is the language right? Maybe tweak that. Oh but now it’s too long so you’re going have to cut anything that isn’t absolutely essential to the story. Does that joke really advance the story? Cut it.
Writing is hard. Making TV or film or apps is HARD.
There are so many things to consider and so many passes at any given story. And in all of that, it is just too easy to lose the fun.
Don’t let it happen. Make space for fun. For smiles. For whimsy. For magic. Life has magical moments and you can bring these out even if your story is designed to be very grounded. Does it advance the story? Not really? Okay but is it going to make kids smile and laugh and maybe jump out of their seats to bounce up and down? If it will, maybe that’s more important. It doesn’t mean what you’re making should be a random mess of ideas that made you smile once – it still needs form. But the form should be a way to offer the fun to your audience. It’s like the package and bow around a gift.
Let your gift be fun. Play. Magic.