Narrative writing is probably the hardest writing to master. For many, it’s definitely the hardest to teach. Possibly it’s because we as teachers haven’t written many Narratives in our adult lives. So maybe we should source out the experts when it comes to narratives. Of course, we all have at some stage. The librarian has brought out the famous author as a guest speaker or to do workshops, Skype has possibly brought some writers into our classes, and we have all used great stories as models for great writing.
What I love about this list from Pixar, though, is its breadth of ideas.
- It goes well beyond the limitations of that rusted in scaffolding template of “Orientation, Complication and Resolution”. Love No. 4 – simple but powerful story telling structure.
- It emphasizes the importance of character, not just describing them but developing them. Following the points on character alone would improve any story.
- It stresses that the audience’s interest is the key to the story content, not the writer’s. This brings in the importance of purpose. What are you writing the story for? If not to be read by others, then why write it? ( which could explain why so much substandard writing gets produced when the only audience is the teacher and the only purpose is to get an assessment score). Getting student writers to focus on audience encourages them to think beyond their interests alone.
- It makes clear the importance of planning. Ideas that stay in your head don’t get written. Write down everything and ignore the first ones. The more you think, the better the idea.
- It admits that it’s OK to use other people’s ideas. Pull apart the great stories and analyse what’s great about them. Critique the bad stories and avoid what went wrong.
- It outlines what’s needed for a great story.
Pixar is the Shakespeare of our time ( without the incomprehensible language 😜). Their story telling is almost flawless ( Cars 2 notwithstanding.) Any advice they give us should be cherished. Share this with your students and teachers. Let’s inspire great writing with something different.