Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling

Keith Tusing March 13, 2013 0

Pixars 22 Rules of Storytelling Children\s Ministry YouthAs leaders of children we all know that storytelling is one of the best ways to communicate, especially with children. Learning and practicing the art of story telling is a great skill to master.  The time we invest in preparation to tell good stories has the potential to impact a child in a memorable way. With that in mind I wanted to share this list of 22 Rules of Storytelling.

These rules were originally tweeted by Emma Coats, Pixar’s Story Artist. Number 9 on the list - When you’re stuck, make a list of what wouldn’t happen next – is a great one and can apply to writers in all genres.

  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 very 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…

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