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Monday, October 22, 2012

The 22 Rules of Storytelling [Infographic]

Today I have an infographic for you based on tips and advice on storytelling shared on Twitter by Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats.

Emma set out "22 Rules of Storytelling" based on what she learned working for the animation studio (responsible for such blockbusters as the Toy Story series and Finding Nemo). In my opinion there are some real gems for fiction writers in all formats and genres here.

The infographic was created by Jessica Bogart of PBJ Publishing, and is shared with her permission.

Note that I had to reduce the size of the graphic to work on my blogging platform. If you can't read it clearly, you can access the full size (5 MB!) version at this website.

If you would like a printed, poster-size version of the graphic, you can buy it from Jessica's Etsy store (not an affiliate link).

I particularly like Rule 12: "Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself." As a writing tutor myself, I can testify that one of the most common mistakes in new writers' work is predictability.

I also love Rule 19: "Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating." If you stick to this one rule alone, it will put you ahead of 90% of fiction writers immediately!

I hope you enjoy reading "The 22 Rules of Storytelling". If you have any comments about it or suggestions for additional rules, please do post them below.

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Blogger Stu Stein said...

Nick, thanks so much for sharing our infographic! We're so glad you liked it and we hope your readers do too. Emma Coats' rules are just brilliant.

4:37 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Thanks for allowing me to share it, Stu. Yes, there's a lot of food for thought here for fiction writers.

5:44 PM  
Anonymous katewinter said...

This looks absolutely perfect. All these tinny details are made with lot of background knowledge. I like it a lot. This was a useful post and I think it is rather easy to see from the other comments as well that this post is well written and useful.

8:33 PM  
Blogger James Lawrence said...

Thank you Nick, that's a great and helpful poster and I agree with katewinter's comment above: it gives the clear impression of being distilled out of a vast amount of trial and error writing.
I also enjoyed your post on greengrocer's apostrophes. I stumble on the rules myself now and then - particularly the word "it's", which I seem to have a rigid synaptic bias for doing precisely wrong.
Its a real if noncatastrophic enough stumble; I constantly fail to see when its reared it's head until its too late.
As the above example makes clear.
I tend to insert an apostrophe when I don't need one. It's a rote wetware, typing hands non-think thing. I've been writing professionally for more than 30 years yet I still catch myself using it like this: "The morning shook off it's dim light quickly this day." I would say this mind/finger glitch occurs 75% of the time.
Makes me glad for word processing and the ability to quick edit...and search/replace dialogs that make the fixes quick and easy.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Thanks, James. Yes, it's very easy to make little errors like this when you're writing at speed, but important to try to weed them out before submitting your work for publication!

10:38 AM  

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