Rule #12

It is yet another Happy Wednesday, folks, and time for a quick look at  Pixar’s 22 Storytelling Rules.

The twelfth rule is one I do not often heed, though, I should. Let’s take a look at it:

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

How often do you write an outline and doggedly try to adhere to it while your mind goes off on tangents?

For me, that seems like all the time. I am constantly trying to rein in my imagination and focus on the task I set my characters on. As much as that might get me to the end of the story, it doesn’t always get me to the right end of the story.

I think, this is what folks at Pixar have learned over the years. While brain-storming an idea and getting the outline together, take the time to come up with alternatives to each aspect of your story. And then find alternatives to those. You just might surprise yourself (and your readers) with a remarkably original story.

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12 thoughts on “Rule #12

  1. Ha! I can’t successfully outline no matter how hard I try, so I don’t have that problem. I’m sure you’re jealous of the way I bimble along, writing dead ends and scrapping them as I go by the seat of my pants.

    1. Yeah, I’m trying that right now on a short I’m working on. It is hard to just discard my ideas. I mean, why is this new one better than the last one? Not as easy as it seems…

  2. Good rule although hard to follow. At the story dev stage, for me, it helps to mull over a story and characters a lot before finalizing. Maybe that’s my way to get past the obvious.

    And on re-write, I often find if I’m dreading dealing with a scene, it’s probably a sign that I need to rethink that scene and come up with something more interesting.

    Thanks for the post! Love the rules 🙂

    1. Very true! I tried this approach with a new short story and it does seem to work (and hopefully keep the revising down to a minimum).

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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