Pixar’s Rule #16
What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.
The easy road well traveled is sometimes a boring trip. It leads to no surprises. If things are too easy you don’t get invested in the character and their plight.
When a character struggles and pays a price for each righteous choice, they become enduring—loveable. When they go through pain you begin to go through that pain with them. When they fight over a discussion you hope they choose wisely. Sometimes you hope they choose the easier, knowing they will not. And when they take that harder road it isn’t just the harder, the writer makes it the worst that could—possibly could never, be imagined. So we struggle along with them and sit on the edge of our seats waiting, wanting, and needing them to succeed. This need pushes us through each page and we hopelessly turn pages until the last one comes leaving us breathless. We flip the pages frustrated, because surely that is not the end. We want to know what happens next. It isn’t the end of their story—it can’t be. That is the way to get a reader excited. Stack the odd, make them hope. We all need a little drama in our life and the drama found in the pages of a book are the best kind—we don’t need to clean up after them.
This makes for a perfect story. The character drives you through struggle after struggle and they push you forward. You don’t even realize how much time you have spent with them, but you know you need more. You fall in love with them because of their flaws, struggles, and imperfect perfection.
How far do you push the struggle? To the believable? Or the unbelievable?
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!