Welcome to my series on Pixar’s now-famous 22 Rules of Storytelling. I don’t religiously follow all of these like they’re story commandments, but I do happen to agree with many of them. I thought it might be fun to examine why and explain what each means to me. You can start at the beginning here.
And here’s the golden tip of plotting. Coincidences happen in real life, but they rarely occur when you desperately need them to, or when it’s the only thing that could help you. Another good way to picture this is that coincidences to start the story are great, but don’t end with them.
Audiences expect the story they read to be well-thought out and compelling. They’re no greater way to betray that trust than to just make things happen arbitrarily because it wraps everything up nicely. Sure, they want the murder solved, but it’s not satisfying unless all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place to show the complete picture. Events need to happen for a reason. Not just dumb luck.