Pixar’s Rule #5
Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
Twists and turns are fabulous. The unexpected can be mind blowing. But, if you have too much going on in your story the reader can’t follow it. If they can’t follow it, they won’t continue reading, and they won’t recommend it to a friend. Be true to your writing and to your plot, just cut away the excess fat, leaving the juicy meat.
Keep a tight rein on where you are going and how you will end up. You don’t want to jump around from action to action for the sake of action. It has to mean something and take you somewhere specific. If it doesn’t, cut it out—it isn’t needed.
This applies the same principle as simplify and focus. Too many characters can confuse the reader. You aren’t as invested in the characters if you spend all of your time trying to keep them straight. If you have a few strong characters, the reader can come to love the character. Instead of several shallow one dimensional characters combining characters can make one multi-dimensional character with more complex feelings and emotions that will draw the reader. This makes for a memorable character you love, love, love. And it is all about loving the characters.
Hop over detours.
To me if the detour isn’t taking you to your desired end point or molding your main character—simply get rid of it.
You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
Editing is the hardest part. As a teacher, I have seen tears shed over editing a paper. You have worked hard to come up with these words. It is your work of art. You don’t want to change it. Sometimes, change is good and need. In the end your work will be better. It will be exactly what the story needs to be the very best story.
How do you feel about cutting chunks out of your work? Is it painful or liberating?
Also, all of you should check out the posts from my blogging friends who are doing this challenge with me! The first posts go up today. Links to Kate Brauning, Talynn Lynn, Mary Pat, and Alex Yuschik’s blogs are located on the side bar.
We’d love to see comments on our post and share anything you enjoy. Thank you for reading!