Pixar story artist Emma Coats tweeted a series of “story basics” that she’s learned from her more experienced colleagues at the animation studio. Some of my favorites:
#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
#9: When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.
#23: Make grown men cry as often as you can.