, , , , , , , ,

Image representing Pixar as depicted in CrunchBase

Image by None via CrunchBase

… and desk.

Maybe this will work.

I need to do something that will boost my writing into full speed here. And much of my writing has been done on my laptop … either lying on the couch, or the bed or somewhere.

So now I am going to sit here at the desk. Like a real person.


Words aren’t coming any more quickly here than anywhere else.

Time for some inspiration, I guess.

Not that I watch cartoons these days … but I have been known to go see the occasional animated feature length film.

You know. The kind that are really written for adults who are unwilling to admit they are grown up.

A lot of these … my favorites … have been done by Pixar. Monsters Inc, Monster University, Up, Ratatouille. Not that I make a habit of it or anything.

But hey, it was where Steven Jobs went when Apple dropped him.

At any rate, they offer these fine suggestions for storytelling. And what am I (are we) doing other than storytelling. So I thought I would share them here. Maybe they will help.

Cover of "Monsters, Inc. (Two-Disc Collec...

Cover via Amazon

#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 v. 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. Now rewrite.

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

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

Cover of "Ratatouille [Blu-ray]"

Cover of Ratatouille [Blu-ray]

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

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

#8: 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.

#9: 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.

Cover of "Up (Single Disc Widescreen)"

Cover of Up (Single Disc Widescreen)

#10: Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.

#11: Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.

#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.

#13: Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.

#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.

Pixar: For the birds

Pixar: For the birds (Photo credit: Colin ZHU)

#15: If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.

#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.

#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.

#18: You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.

Finding Nemo (video game)

Finding Nemo (video game) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

#20: Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?

#21: You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?

#22: What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.

Okay, so now I’m all inspired and everything.

Off to write … the book.