Rules of Writing (Inspired by Pixar)

Happy (slightly belated) Independence Day! Here’s to the men and women who risked their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor and forever changed the course of history.

And now onto the topic of day…

Thanks to my friends and family, I’ve become an avid user of Pinterest. While most of what I find are new ways to braid my hair and alter my clothes, I always keep an eye out for writing inspiration. And this morning, I was rather surprised to find some.

From what I understand, Emma Coats (who worked on Brave) posted some lessons she’s learned from working with Pixar. It’s a fascinating list filled with some advice I learned long ago and new ideas worth noting. Below are a few of my favorites.

#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.

A huge challenge for me, but something that I aspire to do better. Being a pantser is all fun and games until somebody finds a loophole that completely changes the ending.

#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.

And, incredibly, it seems like that is what will remain even as the story matures and the plot that used to give the story flesh is stripped away and replaced with new ideas.

#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.

Letting go is never easy, but sometimes that time on the shelf is just what the doctor ordered.

What do you think of this list? Have any favorites?

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7 responses to “Rules of Writing (Inspired by Pixar)

  • Tori Anne

    That was a cool list! My favorites were 9, 11, and 19. Thank you for sharing Bryna!

  • C.B. Wentworth

    I totally agree with creating the ending before the middle. I just had some experience with that on Novel #2. I found I couldn’t go any further until I sat down and mapped out a major change in the end. :-)

  • Anthony Lee Collins

    I think I’m going to blog about this, but I really liked #3 (I never know all the themes going in); #8 (one of the disadvantages of self-pub/indie publishing is that you can basically revise your work for the rest of your life — I say finish each project and move on); and #13 (I think some writers worry too much about “relatable” these days — Sherlock Holmes is the most consisently popular fictional chracter for the last 100+ years, and he is not average :-) ).

  • lorageneva

    Reblogged this on lorageneva and commented:
    I love Pixar; I can’t lie. And Brave has become one of my favorite of all time. I think some of the advice given in this post is quite helpful; however, I’m not sure I can do it. For example, coming up with the ending first. As the blogger states, I would find myself faced with a changed ending. Instead, I “discover” the four major plot points: the end of the beginning, the half-way mark, the turning point, and the climax. From there, the ending always seems to come naturally, albeit late in the process. I never have a firm grasp on what the ending is going to be until I actually write the ending. But then, I have trouble with the beginning also! I hope this helps.

  • Lissa Clouser

    Ah #7… I have no issue with the ends of my stories, it’s the middle that messes me up!

  • homedreamer07

    Great stuff, thanks for sharing! I gotta remember this.

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