Today I’ve been thinking and praying a lot about Genesis… yes, the book of Genesis, but also the story of Genesis, and the genesis of Story. When did Story start? What’s my story? What story am I trying to tell? How could my stories be more like Genesis? And how could I find the genesis of the story of my organization?

In the midst of that one of the Genius Partners I work with, Daniel Swartz tipped me off on the 22 story basics that Emma Coats wrote, gleaned from her time at Pixar. If you’ve haven’t read it, it’s worth a read. It’s started below, with links to the full enchilada.

[FYI: I should point out that I just read The Non-Profit Narrative by Dan Portnoy and that also influenced my thinking of late on story.]

“22 #storybasics I’ve picked up in my time at Pixar”

By Emma Coats, Storyboard Artist & Director

I tweeted these forever ago, but the internet just noticed and I figure I should probably at least put them on my blog. I’m glad people are finding them useful.

Here they are, a mix of things learned from directors & coworkers at Pixar, listening to writers & directors talk about their craft, and via trial and error in the making of my own films.

#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

#2: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.

#3: Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.

#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.

#6: … head over to the Original Post from Emma Coats for the rest of this VERY HELPFUL list.

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