The Art of Storytelling, by Pixar

  1. You admire a character more for trying 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.
  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 a _________.
    Every day, ________.
    One day, _________.
    Because of that, ________. Because of that, ________.
    Finally, ________.
  5. Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours.
  6. What is your character good at? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them.
  7. Come up with your ending before you work on the middle.
  8. Finish your story, let it go even if it’s not perfect.
  9. When you’re stuck, make a list of what wouldn’t happen next.
  10. Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you.
  11. Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it.
  12. Discount the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th thing that comes to your mind – get the obvious out of the way.
  13. Give your characters opinions.
  14. Why must you tell this story?
  15. If you were your character…
  16. What are the stakes? Stack the odds against.
  17. No work is ever wasted.
  18. Story is testing, not refining.
  19. Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out are cheating.
  20. Take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How could you rearrange things into something you’d like?
  21. Identify with the characters/situations.
  22. What’s the essence of your story?

From FastCo.


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