Month: September 2017

Everyone Is Nobody Sometime

By Shawn Coyne | 11 Comments

Let’s go back twenty or so years and look at the world through the eyes of an ambitious journalist intent on creating something original.  Again, this material is from a series of posts I wrote over at www.storygrid.com. Let’s pretend you’re Malcolm Gladwell. It’s midish-1998.  Google won’t start up until September.  Facebook is more than five years away.  The Kindle launch is almost ten years away and not one publisher sees eBooks as a viable product. In August, Amazon.com publicly acknowledges that it plans to sell more than just books and CDs. Everything that is tipping or will tip in…

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Let There be Blood

By Steven Pressfield | 8 Comments

  I know I keep promising to finish with these “Reports from the Trenches.” But I’m still deeply in the muck and mire myself, and each week brings a fresh insight. So … This week’s flash is about blood ties. I first learned this trick from a wonderful book called Writing the Blockbuster Novel by Albert Zuckerman. Mr. Zuckerman is Ken Follett’s literary agent and something of a legend in the business. Blockbuster can be heavy going because it presents its case in such detail, but I recommend it highly nonetheless. Here’s one of the book’s brilliant insights:               Tie…

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The Pool Is 12 Feet Profound

By Callie Oettinger | 15 Comments

1+3+5+3+7+1+9+23+48+5 will always equal 105. You can add the middle numbers last or add the second and fifth numbers first, and you’ll come up with the same answer. However, it’s different with words. Present the exact same words, in the exact same order, and the exact same format, to different individuals, and you’ll receive a different response every time. That’s the beauty of words. As individuals, and when combined, words carry the experiences of their readers with them. Each individual will leave with a different interpretation. Look to Lois Lowry’s introduction to the now-a-major-motion-picture edition of The Giver: I had always…

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Macro Resistance and Micro Resistance

By Steven Pressfield | 27 Comments

  I was having dinner a few nights ago with a young screenwriter and a big-time Hollywood literary agent. The writer was joking that her career had stalled on the “C” list. “If I had you for a year,” the agent said, “I’d get you high on the ‘A’ list.” The agent was serious, and a serious discussion followed. Most of the talk centered on the politics of career advancement. When I got home, though, I found my thoughts migrating to the craft aspects. How would a true, knowledgeable mentor elevate a talented writer’s career? How would he advance it…

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The Six Word GPS

By Shawn Coyne | 6 Comments

This is the next post in my series about Big Idea Nonfiction…and it’s a good one for fiction writers too.  When we hit a wall in our work (and we will) we need to settle ourselves so that we can outflank Resistance’s insistence that we’re wasting our time…that we’ll never finish…that we’re idiots for trying…  This post from www.storygrid.com a while back is a tool to get you back in the fight to complete your creation. What actually happens when we take on a project and work it until completion? Is there a universal experience of sorts that anyone who…

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“Trenches #1,” Redux

By Steven Pressfield | 34 Comments

[Not sure why, but my instinct tells me to re-run this post (the first in our “Reports from the Trenches” series) today, rather than posting a new one. Sometimes things need to be seen twice. I think this might be one of those times. So … here goes, in its entirety:] I’m gonna take a break in this series on Villains and instead open up my skull and share what’s going on in my own work right now. It ain’t pretty. I’m offering this post in the hope that an account of my specific struggles at this moment will be…

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Hemingway Did Not Non-Summit

By Callie Oettinger | 43 Comments

This post returns today with high hopes of deep sixing the non-summit. However, it knows it can’t go it alone. Please help. Instead of pushing procrastination, let’s make sure that the only thing non-summits are pushing is daisies. A summit is the highest of the high. It is the top of a mountain. The apex. The peak. The zenith. If it is a summit meeting, it is a meeting of individuals at the peak. Think Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin during WWII. If you’ve been following this blog, you know my feelings about the trending use of the word summit to…

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How Writers Screw Up, Part One

By Steven Pressfield | 17 Comments

  For part of my time in Hollywood, I worked with a partner. I called him “Stanley” in Nobody Wants To Read Your Sh*t so I’ll continue that protocol here. Stanley was an established writer. He had been the force behind two big hits. I was the junior member of the team. Stanley was also a major sci-fi enthusiast. He had read all the magazines, the short stories, the novels, the collections. One of the ways Stanley developed movie projects (he was a producer too) was to option a short story or novella by, say, Philip K. Dick and then…

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Nonfiction Objects of Desire

By Shawn Coyne | 5 Comments

We all know that fiction requires objects of desire for the protagonist and the antagonist.  What about nonfiction?  Are there objects of desire at play in a Big Idea nonfiction work?  If so…what are they?  And how can we clearly think about these wants and needs before we structure our work?  Below is the next post in my continuing series about Big Idea nonfiction using Malcolm Gladwell’s masterwork The Tipping Point as my case study. Just to remind everyone, this is an edited version of something I wrote over at www.storygrid.com a while back. We’re moving down our Foolscap Global…

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