Pixar story artist Emma Coats has been tweeting a series of story writing basics she’s been getting from her senior colleagues. Here’s some of my favourites so far:
#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
#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.
#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.
Also: Author and artist Terri Windling has written a post about the creative process and artistic inspiration that I suggest you give a look. The comments, too, are quite nice.