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The 22 Pixar Story Basics

April 19, 2013 by Kiersi

Some time ago, Pixar’s Emma Coats tweeted twenty-two storytelling tips, and aggregated them into a single post called “22 Story Basics I’ve Picked Up In My Time At Pixar.” They have done a few circulations of the internet since then, because they are brilliant.

Writer/editor Kate Brauning started a pretty neat blog challenge recently, and graciously gave me the opportunity to guest post for her while my blog was down. The challenge? Write a post a day about each of the twenty-two rules.

The first one I wrote was for the very brilliant Rule #5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.

Check out my post: “Rule #5: Narrowing Your Focus.” This one was so much fun–I think you’ll like it.

A lot of the twenty-two rules pertain to drafting, to plotting, to character development. This one, however, is really a rule that will follow you into revising, into your second and third and fourth drafts. Why? Because it’s all about refining. Narrowing the scope of your vision, cutting out the garbage and honing in on the things your readers will love and remember.

Then, yesterday, I jumped in to fill in for Kate again with Rule #16: What are the stakes? Give us a reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.

Read the post, “Rule #16: Stakes and Sweat.” (Great title, Kate!)

A lot of writing is really just clinical abuse. I’m pretty sure that if our characters were real people, most of us writers would be sitting behind bars.

More likely than not, I’ll be doing another guest post for her soon–so be sure to bookmark her blog!


  1. Writerlious says:

    Awesome post! Can’t wait to see the rest of the Pixar tips. I’m a writing craft junkie. 🙂

  2. The Pixar tips are so great!

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