June 21, 2013

Casual Friday: Storytelling Rules According to Pixar

Hello Misfits, for today's Casual Friday, I'd like to share with you an article I found some time ago called, "The 22 Rules of Storytelling According to Pixar." Last June, a  (then) Pixar storyboard artist named Emma Coats posted tips useful for not just animated storytelling but storytelling in general on her Twitter. The article was a compilation of all of her tips.

Here are some of my favorites from the post.

1.) You admire a character for trying more than their successes.
As a fan of tragic tales that don't necessarily have happy-fairy-tale endings, I can totally agree with this one. I mean, sure, it'd be nice if your character succeeded at the end...but the reader won't care if your character's successful or not if she/he doesn't TRY her/his hardest to succeed and MAKE the reader care about her/his struggles.

3.) Trying for theme is important, but you won't see what the story is actually about til you're at the end of it. Now rewrite.
This is advice that I've heard from many writers, especially YA ones. (I'm sure you've all heard by now that you shouldn't be preaching your theme to teenagers, or at least, focusing on just that, instead of focusing on how to tell a good story.) I've also heard a lot of writers say that the REAL writing comes when you sit down and revise and rewrite after you finish that manuscript. Which is difficult advice to follow, I know, but so true.

7.) Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
I'm a big fan of this one. Of course, if you're a pantser (or a plotser like me), this will be really challenging. But even as a pantser, I think it's a good idea to just at least have a general idea of where you want the story to go and see what happens from there to avoid the tricky pitfalls of writer's block in the middle of the book.

17.) No work is ever wasted. If it's not working, let go and move on - it'll come back around to be useful later.
As someone that has had to shelve almost every novel I've ever written, I truly believe in this one. Even though it might not seem like it at the time, at the least, the novel that you have to give up on will have given your more practice as a writer and thus helped you improve your writing. And who knows? Characters might make reappearances and surprise you, whether you realize it or not.

The post is loaded with a lot more great advice on storytelling, so be sure to check it out! Happy Friday!


STBende said...

Love this! And super excited for Monsters University tonight. Great post Lyla!

Sarah Hipple said...

This Pixar link was all over Reddit a while ago, and it definitely deserves the props.

It actually also helps you appreciate the plotting that goes into your favorite animated films.

Glad you brought it back out. This list definitely deserves the attention.

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