Posted by on Jun 20, 2012 in Uncategorized | 9 comments

Graphic Credit: Beau Chevassus

Since it was formed in 1979, the Pixar Company changed hands a couple of times, nearly failed more often than that, and on the verge of being sold by Steve Jobs when Disney agreed to distribute a children’s film, Toy Story. That film went on to earn over $350 million worldwide. As of February 2012, Pixar films have earned twenty-six Academy Awards, seven Golden Globes, and three Grammies. They have made over $7 billion worldwide, with an average gross of $602 million. No other film company comes even close to that average.

So, can we agree that Pixar may know a few things about great storytelling?

A couple of weeks ago, Pixar storyboard artist, Emma Coats (@lawnrocket) began tweeting some of the “rules” she has gleaned from her years of working for the studio. The rules were turned into the poster I show above.

I’ve tried to pick a favorite, but they’re all great for different reasons, and at different stages in the process. So I’ll ask you, do you have a favorite, and why?


  1. I agree with you that all of them are great and its hard to pick the favorite one.But,for instance I think no.8 because it clearly says that “You must not give-up” Even the story that you made is not that perfect and doesn’t captivate the hearts of the readers you can still improve the way of your writing a story because success cannot be achieve without hardwork and perseverance.

  2. I totally agree on the importance of this rule, Lemuel. Not everything we write is publishable, or even all that good. So sometimes we need to set a project aside and move on. But we must move on. Giving up is the only way to guarantee failure. Great thoughts – thank you for sharing!

  3. I love this list and recently saw it posted on FB. So much encouragement and wisdom!

  4. Rule number 7. Because ending matter a LOT to me. An ending is what sales me on how I rate a book- was it a boog read or a bad one? I have read too many books where the ending is rushed- pitiful! My sister says it is all about the story that leads up to it, but I argue that the ending completes it! The ending is such a vital part of a story! It has become so bad in this day in age that I have to flip to the end and see if it is worth beans. (And aka- should have done that with Twilight). I don’t mean to put pressure on all authors, but I am. By the way, when is the next book to The Ascendance Trilogy coming out? I cannot wait to read it!

  5. AJ – I tend to agree with you. The ending is a really big deal to me too. I hate a big buildup throughout the story that sort of peters out to a boring ending.

    The next book in the trilogy is called THE RUNAWAY KING. It’ll be out next spring, and I hope will have an ending worth your wait!

  6. # 19 is my favorite. I hate it when something ‘just happens’ to get the hero/heroine out of a pickle. Usually so unbelievable.

    BTW – thanks for posting the list. I’m sharing it (linked to your blog) at my blog.

  7. Thanks Sharron. “Coincidences” bother me too. It’s one of the things I loved about the Inkheart books, because every time a coincidence could have happened to help the heroes, it failed. That was fantastic!

  8. Hello… I can’t seem to open the link for your email.. sorry, no other place to comment haha. 🙂 do you think that you could post your email adress instead?

  9. Sorry anonymous – it’s jen@jennielsen.com

    Feel free to contact me directly if you’d like!

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