Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pixar’s Golden Rules For Storytelling – Excellent Advise For All Writers

Pixar Animation Studios is known for its animated feature and short films. The Emeryville-based enterprise is known for its compelling story lines.

Following are 23 rules that will help writers to hone their storytelling skills. Enjoy!

1. A character is more admired for trying than for succeeding (e.g., Finding Nemo)

2. What interests you as a writer can be very different from what the intended audience is interested in. (Remember Toy Story 2?)

3. Trying for a theme is important, but keep in mind that only at the end of the story will it be clear what it’s all about; that’s also the time to start rewriting!

4. The bare bones of a story consist of: Once upon a time there was […], Every day, […], One day […], Because of that […], and that […], Until finally […]

5. Keep it simple and focus by combining characters and avoiding detours.

6. Write about what the characters are good at and juxtaposition them against their polar opposites. (e.g., Shrek and Farquaad).

7. Describe how your characters deal with challenges. (e.g., Ice Age)

8. Write the beginning and the end of the story. Only then write the middle part. (e.g., Casablanca)

9. Once the story is finished, let it go. It will never be perfect and will only suffer from too many rewrites.

10. When suffering from writer’s block, make a list of what will not happen next

11. Analyze stories you like and find out why they speak to you since it influences your writing.

12. Start writing down the story and start editing and/or sharing it. You cannot write the great American novel in your head.

13. Be creative by disregarding the first few ideas that come to mind since they will be (too) obvious.

14. Characters should have opinions and attitude since your audience doesn’t like them to be passive, malleable and too perfect!

15. Get to the core of the narrative by analyzing what drives you to write this specific story.

16. Stay true to your characters by putting yourself in their situation. (e.g., Poirot)

17. Make your audience root for your characters by letting them overcome difficulties or even making the fail. (such as Jean-Baptiste Grenouille in The Perfume by Patrick Sueskind)

18. Keep disregarded writing; it will be useful at a later stage or for a different story you will write at one point in the future

19. Know yourself and realize when you are really writing or just tinkering around.

20. Use coincidences to get characters into trouble, but never to get them out of it.

21. To find your style, take a novel, story, TV show or movie you hate and rearrange them to your liking!

22. Put emotion in your writing by identifying with the story’s setting and characters.

23. Figure out what the essence of the story is and how to tell it in a concise way. This will be the basis for your storytelling.

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