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6 Rules of Great Storytelling (As Told by Pixar)

Pete Docter

“What you’re trying to do, when you tell a story, is to write about an event in your life that made you feel some particular way. And what you’re trying to do, when you tell a story, is to get the audience to have that same feeling.”

Pete Docter

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6 Rules of Great Storytelling (As Told by Pixar)

6 Rules of Great Storytelling (As Told by Pixar)

https://medium.com/@Brian_G_Peters/6-rules-of-great-storytelling-as-told-by-pixar-fcc6ae225f50

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Key Ideas

Pete Docter

Pete Docter

“What you’re trying to do, when you tell a story, is to write about an event in your life that made you feel some particular way. And what you’re trying to do, when you tell a story, is to get the audience to have that same feeling.”

Pixar’s Plotting Techniques For Structure And Purpose

The Story Spine structure: Once upon a time there was [blank]. Every day, [blank]. One day [blank]. Because of that, [blank]. Until finally [bank].

A story’s purpose: find why you want to tell this story, what belief of yours fueled that story, what does it teach and its purpose. Stories with a purpose that you are passionate about have a bigger impact.

Jon Westenberg

Jon Westenberg

“Storytelling is the greatest technology that humans have ever created.” 

6 Rules for Great Storytelling

  1. Great stories convey things common to the human condition in unique situations. They are universal. 
  2. Great stories have a clear structure and purpose. 
  3. People find it easy to root for an underdog and they don’t even need to succeed. They value the character’s journey over their destination.
  4. Great stories appeal to our deepest emotions. 
  5. Having the readers perceptions of reality challenged or changed in some way makes for great storytelling.
  6. Great stories are simple and focused. Resist the urge to show all the world building you made to allow your audience to get lost in the narrative. You can test your story by reading it to a new person and watching their reactions and questions.

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Purpose

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Storytelling is...
Storytelling is...
...the process of using fact and narrative to communicate something to your audience. Some stories are factual, and some are embellished or improvised in order to better explain the core message.
Why we tell stories
  • Stories solidify abstract concepts and simplify complex messages;
  • Stories bring people together: stories connect us through the way we feel and respond to them;
  • Stories inspire and motivate, by tapping into people’s emotions and baring both the good and bad.
Good stories are …
  • Entertaining. Good stories keep the reader engaged and interested in what’s coming next.
  • Educational. Good stories spark curiosity and add to the reader’s knowledge bank.
  • Universal. Good stories are relatable to all readers and tap into emotions and experiences that most people undergo.
  • Organized. Good stories follow a succinct organization that helps convey the core message and helps readers absorb it.
  • Memorable. Whether through inspiration, scandal, or humor, good stories stick in the reader’s mind.

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Rules of storytelling, according to Pixar
  • Emphasize trying more than success.
  • Having an initial theme while writing is important but don’t get too attached to it.
  • Cutting things out