I just came across a great list called The 22 Rules of Storytelling according to Pixar, written by their animation storyboard artist Emma Coats.
I picked out 3 that were especially helpful for writers.
No 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.”
I like this. The more I write, the more I realise the truth in this. Sometimes, you realise when you are near the end of a story that a theme runs through it that you didn't even consciously intend. This mysterious process can be quite spooky - but wonderful.
No 7: “Come up with your ending before you figure out the middle.”
I generally sort out my ending well before I even touch the laptop and start to write. If I'm going on a journey, I need to know where I will end up. Or at least plan to end up.
No 10: "Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognise it before you can use it.”
This is a thought provoking and profound observation. It also links with other advice I adhere to, which is to read like a writer. More on this in future posts.
To see the list in full go to