Pixar Storytelling Tip #6

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.

This tip is a great tool for character development. It can also promote a leaner, more focused story. How?

Well, first knowing what your character is good and bad at will give them strengths and weaknesses. Thinking about these nuances will flesh out the character in your head, and that will convert to the page. But we’re not just talking about well-rounded characters.

This is a recipe for an epic conflict. Pitting protagonists against their weaknesses will force them to grow somehow. Do they confront them? Shrivel to the task? This conflict is an engine for change, and that creates a story arc.

This is a very useful way to look at things when writing sequels as well. We know the challenges our characters have already overcome. What’s something new we can throw at them?

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