Life and writing according to Ricky Lee: 5 storytelling tips from his iWant docu “Trip to Quiapo”

For master writer Ricky Lee, writing is very much like life. His iWant TFC writing master class “Trip to Quiapo” fittingly illustrates this point by chronicling his colorful life story and journey to becoming a writer.

In “Trip to Quiapo,” based on his best-selling scriptwriting manual, Sir Ricky not only helps aspiring writers realize their storytelling potential and find their voice, but also shows viewers how writing can be a tool to make sense of the way we think and feel, and ultimately, to overcome our insecurities and challenges.

Trip to Quiapo fim documentary making tips

Here are five writing tips from Ricky Lee’s “Trip to Quiapo” masterclass that we can all apply to real life:

  1. Be a good person in order to become a good writer

Sir Ricky stressed that in order to be an effective writer, one must have empathy for others no matter how good or bad or selfish they are. Empathy opens up your mind and heart to understanding your surroundings and the people around you. If you take the time to understand a person, you will also be able to see beyond their actions and have a deeper understanding of their emotions.

  1. Read, read, read: Allow stories to connect you to the world

Reading different stories gives you multiple perspectives in life that may be useful in giving meaning to an array of characters. Experiencing these stories will help you look at the world with more appreciation, similar to how the power of fiction connected Sir Ricky to the world. When he was a kid, he felt like an outcast but was able to find refuge in a small library in his hometown where he would read books, “escape” his real life, and become somebody else.

  1. Go back to being a child again

Just like how children are, do not be afraid to explore and use your imagination. Play with your instincts, let your thoughts flow freely, and do not allow people to tell you “no” because this is what will make your stories unique.

  1. A writer heals as he tells a story

Going through the storytelling process allows the writer to grow as a person because he not only writes the story and gives life to the characters, but he also discovers more of himself. Just like what Sir Ricky always tells his students, “Stories help us heal ourselves, heal others. Kapag nagsusulat ka na ng kwento, sinusulat ka rin ng kwento. Nagtutulungan kayo para magbuo ng bawat isa.”

  1. The journey of life is the ultimate teacher

Sir Ricky always reminds his students that attending writing workshops is helpful but will only be effective if you are constantly writing because this will allow you to take risks and learn from your mistakes, as if you are navigating through life. You have to remind yourself that the first draft is never perfect, and similar to the main character in any story, you have to experience failure and hardships in order to achieve your goals.

Learn about life and storytelling by watching “Trip to Quiapo,” which is available on the iWant TFC app (iOs and Android) or on to Standard and Premium subscribers worldwide. For updates, like, and follow @iwanttfc on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to  For inquiries and concerns about the service, users can also send a message on iWant TFC’s Facebook page or e-mail