Month: September 2010

Getting to the Flow

By Steven Pressfield | 14 Comments

The lady plans to seduce her lover. Her object is to create a night of magic. How does she do it? First the setting, the lighting, the music. The mood, the wine … the lady orchestrates every detail. Her skin, her hair, her scent. She alters her voice, her walk, she paints on those witchy-woman eyes. Ooh, don’t forget those six-inch Manolos. But there’s more to the spell. The finishing touches lie in how she greets her lover; their talk, the rhythm of the evening, the dance between them. Almost imperceptibly the moment steals upon the pair. The lady is…

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The “All Is Lost” Moment

By Steven Pressfield | 19 Comments

I’ve never posted an interview in this Writing Wednesdays slot (see “The Creative Process” series below on this page), but the following confab with story expert Jen Grisanti seemed to fit so perfectly that I thought I’d feature it up here “above the fold.” Today is Part One of a two-part interview. Jen Grisanti is a Hollywood story consultant and the author of the upcoming Story Line—a book that is sure to become an instant classic and rock the worlds of a boatload of screenwriters, novelists and other storytellers. Jen made her bones in the ‘90s, working for Aaron Spelling…

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Michael Bungay Stanier

By Callie Oettinger | 5 Comments

Michael Bungay Stanier does Great—Important—Work. His bio says that he’s the Senior Partner of Box of Crayons, a company that helps organizations and the people in them do less Good Work and more Great Work. It should also say that he’s one of those wonderful people with a gift for telling it how it is, in just the right, positive way. His most-recent book is Do More Great Work: Stop the Busywork and Start the Work that Matters. You can pillage the free chapters, courses, interviews and other resources at Do More Great Work. Check out all the short movies…

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The Crazier The Better

By Steven Pressfield | 18 Comments

My friend Paul is writing a cop novel. The characters have seized him; he’s into it totally. “But it’s coming to me very dark,” he says. “I mean twisted, weird-dark. So dark it’s scaring me.” Paul wants to know if he should throttle back. He’s worried that the book will come out so evil, no one will want to touch it. Answer: no way. The darker the better, if that’s how it’s coming to him. Why do I say this? Because for writers—particularly ones at the beginning of their careers—Job #1 is testing their limits. Finding out who they are.…

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Writing Characters Who Are Smarter Than We Are

By Steven Pressfield | 23 Comments

There’s a great moment in the movie Tootsie, when Dustin Hoffman—in costume as “Dorothy Michaels” but speaking as himself, “Michael Dorsey”—says, out of respect for Dorothy, “I wish I was prettier.” In other words, the character he was portraying was better than he was. That’s an amazing thing if you think about it. Working above our game As writers, can we write characters who are beyond us emotionally and intellectually? Can we work above and past our own personal limits?  I’ve heard the opposite. I don’t believe it. How does Thomas Harris (who I’m sure is a very nice guy)…

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Chris Guillebeau

By Callie Oettinger | 5 Comments

Chris Guillebeau travels and writes for a small army of remarkable people at chrisguillebeau.com and twitter.com/chrisguillebeau. When you visit his blog, check out his 279 Days to Overnight Success and his Brief Guide to World Domination. Good stuff! His book, The Art of Non-Conformity, will be available online and in bookstores starting Sept. 7, 2010. In The Art of Non-Conformity you talk about your one-time job “slinging boxes” at FedEx at 3 AM in the morning. How did you go from there to developing a business and then being a volunteer working with refugees, warlords and presidents in West Africa?

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Looking for the Overlap

By Steven Pressfield | 19 Comments

[While the blog takes a short vacation, here’s a post from a few months ago that I’ve always been partial to. See you in two weeks!] Writers and artists get asked all the time, “How do you decide which book to write, which painting to paint?” The person asking the question usually has a million ideas in her head; she’s struggling to determine which one(s) to pursue. Here’s an answer from my experience. A few years ago, in Hollywood, I got a new agent. He was a good agent and he did what a good agent should do: he immediately…

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