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The 22 rules of Storytelling, according to Pixar

#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

#2: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.

#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.

#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.

#6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?

#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.

#8: Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.

#9: When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.

#10: Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.

#11: Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.

#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.

#13: Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.

#14: Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.

#15: If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.

#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.

#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.

#18: You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.

#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.

#20: Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?

#21: You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?

#22: What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.


How Neil Gaiman Went From Fearing 'Piracy' To Believing It's 'An Incredibly Good Thing'



“That’s really all this is. It’s people lending books. And you can’t look on that as a lost sale…. What you’re actually doing is advertising. You’re reaching more people. You’re raising awareness. And understanding that gave me a whole new idea of the shape of copyright and what the web was doing. Because the biggest thing the web was doing is allowing people to hear things, allowing people to read things, allowing people to see things they might never have otherwise seen. And I think, basically, that’s an incredibly good thing.”

At least someone gets it.

It is proper that a stop on the bohemian international highway like San Francisco should exist on shaky ground. That San Francisco has known killer earthquakes and that it is always in the market for another great shake serve as excellent metaphors. Writers don’t write books, after all, they let earthquakes pass through them. This is why describing a book to another person is such an exercise in communal folly. You are forced to say, “The book is about X.” But what you would love to say, if the other person could understand you, is “I just gave birth during a cataclysm to this strange, darling thing.” So, as metaphor, it is splendid that San Francisco is earthquake country
Eric Maisel, A Writer’s San Francisco
I carry around some extraordinary, powerful stories that I don’t ever actually fashion into stories or include in my public, spoken self because they don’t quite fit any language I know, and any name seems to misrepresent them. So now I’m glad I ended up writing this story that’s being such a pain in my ass and sending me off to do all kinds of research, because damn, maybe those stories of mine really are going to be told. As much as they can be, at least, considering how language slides off of them and representation conveys nothing of their power.
Sarah, Liegt-Am-Meer
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