Quality story writing through the power of Pixar

Thanks to PBJ Publishing for this infographic and link to the power of Pixar! A text based list of these points is also available on their website.


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.

5 thoughts on “Quality story writing through the power of Pixar

  1. Great infographic! I must admit I don’t understand what is meant by point four. I do like the way you should not expect to know the end in the beginning, but it is best to write the middle before the end 🙂
    I remember I did a course at the Sydney Playwright’s Centre in Rozelle. It ran over a term or so once a week and it was very interesting.
    The teacher, a reasonably successful aussie playwright himself, told us he just writes the scenes, and one day he puts them all on the lounge room floor and arranges and re-arranges them.
    He says always start with a bang! Another good piece of advice for plays was to write short dialogue or write long dialogue (ie monologues) and mix em up, but *DON’T* write unending middle length paragraphs of dialogue, cause it is like boring porridge haha! So make the dialogue between characters snappy and short, and then have monologues interspersed 🙂

  2. Mr. G- thanks so much for sharing our infographic! I really like the points you’ve brought up here – particular about the characters.

    I think characters in a story are what people really connect with. The story is about creating structure for people to connect with the characters because their unique, interesting, funny or incredible.

    I also do think there’s a place for writing for yourself (and not some other audience). It’s a great outlet for creativity and experimentation. Writing for others just tends to be more rigorous because your audience is bigger than yourself.

    Please keep in touch Mr. G! We’ll have more infographics as we get closer to launching our Hansel and Gretel app. Thanks again!

  3. Hey Viv, point 4 is a basic framework you can use for writing a narrative.

    And also…I love this infographic. Visualisation of information is king.

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