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 know 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:
Pixar’s Rules of Storytelling were originally tweeted by Emma Coats, Pixar’s Story Artist. Number 9 on the list – When you’re stuck, make a list of what wouldn’t happen next – is a great one and can apply to writers in all genres.
- You admire a character for trying more than for their successes. View Post
Story: the king died and then the queen died.
Plot: the king died and then the queen died because of grief.
Edward Morgan Forster was an English novelist, short story writer and essayist. He is best known for A Room With a View (1908), Howard’s End (1910) and A Passage to India (1924).
Forster wrote Aspects of the Novel in 1927. Aspects of the Novel was a pioneering work, examining ‘aspects all English-language novels have in common: story, people, plot, fantasy, prophecy, pattern, and rhythm.’