Month: September 2016

How NOT to Tell a Story

By Shawn Coyne | 24 Comments

I’m re-running an article I wrote fifteen months ago about a full page advertisement in The New York Times.  The reason why is this article from Bloomberg Businessweek, How Hampton Creek Sold Silicon Valley on a Fake-Mayo Miracle, that ran on September 22, 2016.  It details the company’s buy-back campaigns to artificially inflate its popularity and short term financial success.  Essentially the company funded a wide net of dedicated followers (coined “Creekers” who took the do-gooder positioning of the company at face value) to go into grocery stores and buy its products so that it could use industry trusted data…

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Why I Write, Part Two

By Steven Pressfield | 44 Comments

  If you’re a writer struggling to get published (or published again) or wrestling with the utility or non-utility of self-publishing, you may log onto this blog and think, Oh, Pressfield’s got it made; he’s had real-world success; he’s a brand. Trust me, it ain’t necessarily so. I don’t expect to be reviewed by the New York Times. Ever. The last time was 1998 for Gates of Fire. That’s eighteen years ago. The War of Art was never reviewed, The Lion’s Gate never. My other seven novels? Never. I’ve got a new one, The Knowledge, coming in a month or two.…

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Pitching, Productivity & Strangers: That’s Not How It Works

By Callie Oettinger | 9 Comments

Mark McGuinness has a new book out. He’s giving it away for free. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m suggesting you check it out. Why? Trust. I know I’ll respect whatever Mark produces. That’s Not How This Works Last week a pitch letter from a stranger arrived. The stranger has a book idea and wants to obtain a signed author contract with a publishing house before he writes his book. In order to achieve this goal, the stranger explained that he is requesting support from established authors. He wants the established authors to provide an endorsement for his book…

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Why I Write, Part One

By Steven Pressfield | 48 Comments

  I stumbled onto the website of a novelist I had never heard of. (He’s probably never heard of me either.) What I saw there got me thinking. The site was excellent. It displayed all fourteen of the novelist’s books in “cover flow” format. They looked great. A couple had been published by HarperCollins, several others by Random House. The author was the real deal, a thoroughgoing pro with a body of work produced over decades. Somehow I found myself thinking, What if this excellent writer had never been published? Would we still think of him as a success? (In…

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The Vote Is In!

By Shawn Coyne | 4 Comments

Thank you for all of your input about our potential covers for Steve’s new novel, THE KNOWLEDGE. And yes, we’re changing the subtitle from A Too Close To True Memoir from the bestselling author of The War of Art to A Too Close To True Novel from the bestselling author of The War of Art.  As my grandmother used to say, we were being “too clever by half” with that Memoir classification fudge. If this were a movie, the tagline would be Inspired by a True Story which basically means it’s mostly made up. And readers know that fiction is…

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Inciting Incident = Hook

By Steven Pressfield | 16 Comments

  Why do we even have inciting incidents? Who says there has to be one? Can’t we just plunge in with Word One? Why are we worrying so much about “starting” the story? Doesn’t the story start all by itself? Answer: the inciting incident is indispensable because the inciting incident is the Hook. When Shawn talks about Hook, Build, Payoff (Act One, Act Two, Act Three), he’s talking about the unshakeable structure of a screenplay, a novel (some of ’em anyway), a play, a joke, a seduction, a plot to overthrow a despot, not to mention your secret 18-year-plan to…

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Cover Advice

By Shawn Coyne | 71 Comments

We at Black Irish Books are preparing for our annual end of the year blow-out Thanksgiving/Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa extravaganza and we need your help. (Mark your calendars for Wednesday November 24th for the Writing Wednesdays launch. For all of you First Look Access people, you’ll get a first dibs email for the deal/s on Monday November 22nd.) We’ve got a brand new book from Steve called THE KNOWLEDGE to share.  It’s the wild and woolly origin story behind The War of Art.  Set in the mean streets of 1970s New York when Steve made every amateur writing mistake imaginable (how do you…

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The Inciting Incident and “the Call”

By Steven Pressfield | 16 Comments

An extremely useful way to look at the Inciting Incident is to see it as “the Call,” as in the Hero’s Journey. The two are identical. They’re the same beat. Here’s Christopher Vogler from his indispensable The Writer’s Journey:   The hero is presented with a problem, challenge, or adventure to undertake. Once presented with a Call of Adventure [boldface his], she can no longer remain indefinitely in the comfort of the Ordinary World. In Star Wars, the Call to Adventure is Princess Leia’s desperate holographic message to wise old Obi-Wan Kenobi, who asks Luke to join in the quest. In…

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