Thursday, August 09, 2012

Rules for Fiction Writers

A collection of story “rules” from Pixar:

Pixar Story Rules

Here are a few of my favorite tips from this list:

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

#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.

#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.

#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.

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

No. 10 reminds me of some of Jacqueline’s exercises for aspiring fiction creators. I’ve always had trouble with No. 6. I don’t like to see my protagonists suffer too much, which is just the opposite of how an author is supposed to treat her imaginary people. As I once heard a successful writer say, if you do your job well, your characters will hate you.

Promotional note: This fall, erotic romance publisher Ellora’s Cave is celebrating its twelfth anniversary. I’m one of their “decade or more” authors, imagine that! EC author Kate Hill has recently interviewed me in connection with the anniversary:

Anniversary Blog

Margaret L. Carter

Carter's Crypt

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