Month: December 2014

Write For A Star

By Steven Pressfield | 13 Comments

Today’s post will be the last in our series featuring lessons learned from a 20-year look-back at The Legend of Bagger Vance. Today is also the final day of our Black Irish Christmas Special. I will stop blabbing about it forever! Write for a star. That had been a mantra of mine for at least ten years before Bagger. It’s a screenwriter’s axiom. But I never realized how true it was till my agent took the manuscript of Bagger “out to the town.” The rights were snatched up within days. Almost immediately Robert Redford came aboard. He wanted to direct…

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My Overnight Success

By Steven Pressfield | 34 Comments

There’s a story about the Oscar-winning actor Walter Matthau. A younger thespian is bemoaning his own struggle in show biz. “Mr. Matthau, I’m just looking for that one big break!” In the story Matthau laughs. “Kid,” he says. “It’s not the one big break. It’s the fifty big breaks.” Here’s what I wrote a few weeks ago, in the first post in this series about the writing of The Legend of Bagger Vance. I attempted to write my first novel when I was twenty-four. Bagger Vance [my first published book] came out when I was fifty-one. Twenty-seven years is a…

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The Authentic Swing, Part Two

By Steven Pressfield | 11 Comments

Continuing our examination of the idea that certain stories have conceptual premises. What is a conceptual premise? And how does it work in a dramatic narrative? [P.S. Don’t forget this year’s Black Irish Christmas Special, featuring the brand-new, leather-bound, signed and numbered (only 2500 available) 20th Anniversary edition of The Legend of Bagger Vance.] One fascinating aspect of premises is that they imply order. Start with any premise (say, in The Lord of the Rings, the idea that a certain ring commands the power of the universe) and when you dig to the next level, you get this: The universe…

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The Authentic Swing

By Steven Pressfield | 13 Comments

[Continuing our look back at The Legend of Bagger Vance, seeking writers’ lessons and insights on the book’s 20th anniversary. P.S. Don’t forget this year’s Black Irish Christmas Special, featuring the brand-new, leather-bound, signed and numbered (only 2500 available) anniversary edition of Bagger Vance.] Sometimes a story—particularly fantasy, historical or sci-fi—needs a conceptual Premise. By that I mean a hypothetical truth that informs the drama the way, say, the airfoil-shaped wing informs the idea of an airplane. The conceptual premise of The Legend of Bagger Vance is “the Authentic Swing.” Premise is different from theme. It’s different from concept. It’s…

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Steal Without Shame, Part Two

By Steven Pressfield | 12 Comments

[Don’t forget to check out the Great Black Irish Christmas Sale, featuring the brand-new, leather-bound, signed and numbered edition of The Legend of Bagger Vance.] Continuing our 20th-anniversary look-back at the writing of The Legend of Bagger Vance: We were talking last week about stealing the structure of works we admire. I was confessing that, for Bagger, I had shamelessly ripped off the premise and spine of the Bhagavad-Gita. Now let me admit a further theft and an additional bonus: When you steal a great story’s structure you also get its characters. See Romeo and Juliet, Jesus of Nazareth, etc.…

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