Month: April 2017

Ethos, Logos, Pathos

By Shawn Coyne | 3 Comments

This is the fourth post in my Story Gridding Nonfiction series.  To read the first, click here.  To read the second, click here. To read the third, click here. We’ve been exploring Story Grid as it relates to nonfiction. And we’ve come up with four big categories/genres of nonfiction: Academic, How-To, Narrative Nonfiction and the Big Idea Book. As the Big Idea Book, at its best, is an elaborate combination plate of the other three, let’s pick it apart a bit more and see if we can suss out its secrets. Where did the nonfiction Big Idea Book come from?…

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Make Your Hero Suffer

By Steven Pressfield | 13 Comments

[Today’s post is a revised and updated version of a favorite of mine that ran earlier in the blog’s cycle. It’s #1 in a new series starting today.]   There’s a story about Elvis: He was about to make his first movie (“Love Me Tender”) and he was getting a little nervous. He phoned the director and asked to speak with him privately. “What is it, Elvis?” the director asked when they got together. “You look upset. Is there anything you want to ask me?” “Yes,” said Elvis. “Am I gonna be asked to smile in this movie?” The director…

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A Master Class with Shawn

By Steven Pressfield | 13 Comments

  There’s a term Shawn uses that I had never heard before: Story nerd. (He claims proudly to be one himself.) A story nerd, as I understand it, is someone who loves to get into the geeky details and “inside baseball” mechanics of storytelling. A story nerd knows what a Value Shift is. She’s intimate with concepts like “beats” and “reveals.” She knows the Five Commandments of Storytelling. A story nerd is kinda like a Trekkie except she doesn’t wear Vulcan ears or appear in public dressed as a Klingon. Me, I’d use a different term: Professional writer. Anyway, there…

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Another Airline, A Different Story

By Callie Oettinger | 23 Comments

I flew on Alaska Airlines this week. Before the flight took off, I witnessed a first. The pilot joined the passengers at the gate to announce a flight delay. No microphone. No airline staff at his side. Just him. His voice. His proactive communication.

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You, a Lion

By Steven Pressfield | 32 Comments

  You were born for adversity. It’s in your DNA as much as it’s in the DNA of a shark or an eagle or a lion. You were made for hard times. The species of Homo sapiens has survived and prevailed not because we are faster or stronger than all the competing creatures. Every one of them is better equipped by nature with fangs and claws and wings and fur. Every one is better adapted to hunt, to kill, to survive drought and heat and cold. Yeah, our race has a better brain. And yes, we figured out the advantages…

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Big Idea Nonfiction

By Shawn Coyne | 5 Comments

This is the third post in my Story Gridding Nonfiction series.  To read the first, click here.  To read the second, click here. In the last post, I broke down all of nonfiction into four large categories, the big kahuna genres. They are: Academic How-To Narrative Nonfiction and Big Idea What I love about the fourth category, Big Idea, is that it combines elements of the three other big categories. It’s a Genre-meld of sorts akin to fiction’s Thriller genre, which combines elements of Action, Horror and Crime into its narrative gumbo. The War of Art is a perfect example…

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Surviving in the Desert

By Steven Pressfield | 15 Comments

  A few years ago I wrote a book called Killing Rommel. Killing Rommel is a novel set during WWII in the North Africa campaign. Its heroes are the men of the Long Range Desert Group, a true historical British commando unit that fought behind the lines against Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and the German Afrika Korps. The first time I heard the name Long Range Desert Group, I fell in love with it. I said to myself, “I don’t know what this is, but I gotta write a book about it.” “Long Range.” Way cooler that Short Range. Even…

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