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Day: February 20, 2014

[#writingadvice] The 22 rules of #storytelling according to Pixar.

This has been making the rounds and I thought it best to post it.
Great information to have on your wall next to your writing area.
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.

[Plotting About] February 2014 / Week 3 / Weaver / Chapter 4+5

How are we still on Chapter 4?
Suffice to say Chapter One and Two were pretty much locked with some minor editing.
Chapters Three and Four have been revised after feedback from the peeps in the writing group/alpha readers.
So now it’s on to Chapter 5. This chapter or the next will be the one to link up with what I’ve already written.
The word count thus far:
The Where Weavers Daire K BAR count is:

In other news, I mentioned a bit back I went through Writer’s Digest University Class Agent One-on-One: Your First Ten Pages Boot Camp.
It was a relatively straight forward class. An included video had recommendations for following how to create a better first ten pages.
I sent in the first ten pages of Weaver and get some feedback from an agent at Talcott Notch Literary Services, LLC.
The feedback wasn’t a line by line edit but two general overviews of the good and bad. Including suggestions. The Q&A with the agents took place on Writer’s Digest Blackboard Message board and included a one year membership to an Agent finding service.
Overall, I thought it was worth it. The Blackboard linking was a little off due to having to drill down to find the link but that’s me being nitpicking of the user interface.
The feedback was good in the case of Weaver. A few points were made that the alpha group had pointed out and I forgot to change.
Would I recommend the class?
If you looking for feedback from an agent then yes.
If you’re looking for a line by line edit then no.
I came out of with a nice ego boost, the agent would like to see the first fifty pages and a synopsis once the manuscript is completed.
I know full well a request for a partial or full manuscript is just a request. It’s just nice to hear after the work I’ve put into it someone besides the alpha readers said they enjoyed it.