Once Upon a Time
In 2012 Pixar Story Artist Emma Coats tweeted 22 storytelling tips using the hashtag #storybasics. The list circulated the internet for months gaining the popular title Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling. We reposted this list two weeks ago and the response has been phenomenal with thousands of likes, shares, comments and emails.

Since posting the story, a number of people have contacted us regarding rule number 4 on the list, also known as ‘The Story Spine’:

Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

Reports were that this tip did not originate with Pixar but instead with writer/director/teacher Brian McDonald. Intrigued, we contacted Brian to find out more. He replied as follows:

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In 2010, inspired by Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules of Writing, The Guardian asked some of the world’s most respected writers to share their best tips. Here’s how Hilary Mantel, the first British author to win the Man Booker Prize twice, responded to the task.

  1. Are you serious about this? Then get an accountant.
  2. Read Becoming a Writer, by Dorothea Brande. Then do what it says, including the tasks you think are impossible. You will particularly hate the advice to write first thing in the morning, but if you can manage it, it might well be the best thing you ever do for yourself. This book is about becoming a writer from the inside out. Many later advice manuals derive from it. You don’t ­really need any others, though if you want to boost your confidence, “how to” books seldom do any harm. You can kick-start a whole book with some little writing exercise.
  3. Write a book you’d like to read. If you wouldn’t read it, why would anybody else? Don’t write for a perceived audience or market. It may well have vanished by the time your book’s ready.
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What if these best-selling albums had been books instead? The Record Books are the creation of UK-based graphic designer and art director Christophe Gowans. Below are ten of our favourites.

© Christophe Gowans. Reproduced with permission.

Are You Experienced
Charismatic Harvard whizkid Hendrix’s self-help bible. A spin-off from his phenomenally successful TV reality show, ‘The Experience’.
Record Books - Are You Experienced
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Friday Aerogramme: News and Updates from Aerogramme Writers' Studio

Just over a week ago we posted Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling – a list first shared by Emma Coats, a Pixar Story Artist, on Twitter in 2012. To say the response to the post has been huge would be an understatement. We’ve received thousands of comments and shares and the interest in the list continues to grow. On Wednesday The New Yorker’s Richard Brody responded to the story with an article titled The Problem with Processed Storytelling’. Brody says that Pixar films make him feel as if he ‘were watching the cinematic equivalent of irresistibly processed food, with a ramped-up and carefully calibrated dosing of the emotional versions of salt, sugar, and fat.’ What do you think of Brody’s article? Add your thoughts in the comments below.

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What comes first, the words or the pictures? When does he get his ideas? Why does he make picture books? How does he get started? What tools does he use? And, most importantly, what does he have for lunch? Oliver Jeffers, the talented and charming creator of How to Catch a Star, The Heart and The Bottle, The Great Paper Caper, and The Hueys shares all this and more in his new author film.

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