So I began taking a creative writing class this quarter and I think its going to do wonders for my writing. It so happens that my instructor is one of my favorite teachers. She brought up this list, The 22 Rules of Storytelling According to Pixar. It’s not necessarily by Pixar but from a woman who works for pixar. When she was reading through these “rules” they really reached out to me and made me take a look at my work in another light. If you’d like to go through the whole list, here is the link.
#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
This first rule was an interesting one for me. My main character, Jane, is someone who struggles with (plainly) wrong from right. Her morals are tested. It makes me question just what the reader will associate with “successes” in terms of this character. She is an adulteress but she comes from a distractive marriage… is this “affair” a success?
#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.
I tend to write the way I see a movie playing in my mind. I love desaturated movies where the tension and the tone is underplayed. Ive noticed that when I try to put this in my writing, it tends to come out …boring. As much as there is symbolism in the long drawn out silence between the man and wife, it doesn’t do much good for the reader for me to rant about it for more than a paragraph.
#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.
I associate this with over thinking. While I write I tend to think “God that sentence is so bland.” and I try to go back and add some frill but I never get to the end and all I’m left with is unfinished and wordy piece of crap.
#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
I absolutely love how simply this is put. It’s like who one would explain writing to a child yet its incredibly helpful. Take this and plug in your story.
#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
I tend to go on these writing detours and I feel like it scatters my work but its very difficult to break free from this habit.
I’ll be posting more of these rules and how I feel the coincide with my work. I’m rewriting a whole lot of my book and I’m hoping that the first three drafts benefited me. This rewrite (hopefully) won’t take up too much time.