rules, shmules

If you are a writer and you haven’t yet checked out Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling, click here. Very interesting, thought-provoking, and (I hope) useful for getting out of a writing funk. A few of the rules that stick out for me:

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

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

#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.

#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.

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

#1 is so important that I’ve started repeating it to myself, like a mantra.

You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

Today, a cool 75 degrees here in Boston, I am sitting on my living room floor with a Red Bull and Project Runway and a pile of index cards, trying to sort out my current story. I’m hoping the Pixar rules, which I just printed out, can give me a bit of direction as I work, because boy do I need it.

Writing. So painful but I can’t live without it.

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One thought on “rules, shmules

  1. Wow — I really like that list. I especially like #17, because I’ve noticed over the years that it’s true. (“No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.”) Everything I’ve written in the past helped me to write a present piece.

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