Pixar’s Rules of Storytelling in Lego

8 August 2013 — 3 Comments

Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling were first tweeted by story artist Emma Coats in 2012. Alex Eylar, aka ICanLegoThat, has taken 12 of these rules and illustrated them using Lego. Enjoy!

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 very 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.

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

5. What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. Discount the first thing that comes to mind. And the second, third fourth fifth – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.

9. Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likeable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.

10. What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed?

11. Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.

12. You gotta identify with your characters.  What would make YOU act that way? You can’t just write ‘cool’.


3 responses to Pixar’s Rules of Storytelling in Lego

  1. F. Armstrong Green 9 August 2013 at 6:46 am

    As for “theme,” you must understand that there are many themes in any story but only one enveloping action. As Aristotle observed so long ago (we seem to have short memories of the important stuff), what gives a story unity is not as the masses believe that it is about one person but that it is about one action.
    What gives non-fiction unity is that it is about one idea, one theme, one thesis.

  2. F. Armstrong Green 9 August 2013 at 6:57 am

    I should have added that if you’re a good reader, you should have a good idea of what a story is actually about long before it is over. Often what that is is contained in the opening sentence, though you may not realize it fully at first.

    That you must identify with your characters is obvious. As Borges said, “No man was ever more souls that Shakespeare.” You must BE each character or you have nothing.

  3. Love this! Hope you don’t mind my reblogging. :-)

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