Month: October 2017

A Sub-Genre of One’s Own

By Shawn Coyne | 6 Comments

When I find a story fascinating, like I obviously find THE TIPPING POINT, I can’t help but think about the writer.  What drove him or her to tell it? I have a grand theory that there is something deep within them that drives them…something that they need to work out in their own minds that directs them to explore a particular genre and carve out a space inside of it of their own. I also believe that they are not consciously aware of their internal north star… In this next post edited from the archives, I explore what may…

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Act Three is the Ninth Inning

By Steven Pressfield | 7 Comments

  How should your novel or screenplay finish? It should end with the score tied in the bottom of the ninth and the base runner representing the winning run tearing about third base and highballing for home. Deep in right field, the outfielder with a rifle for an arm has just fielded the line drive that has sent our runner racing flat out. The outfielder slings the ball like a bullet toward home plate, where the catcher is waiting, eye on the throw, braced to receive the shock of the runner as he hurtles toward home. At third base, the…

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You Have The Power

By Callie Oettinger | 10 Comments

June 12, 1993, presented me with a question. Go anchor or go springboard? Let the day pull me deeper than the Mariana Trench or propel me beyond Hubble’s view? I flip flopped for years.

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The Female Carries the Mystery

By Steven Pressfield | 15 Comments

  I’m re-reading one of my favorite books on writing, Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat! Goes To the Movies. Blake Snyder (who died tragically at age 51 in 2009) was a screenwriter who did a lot of thinking about what makes a story work and what makes it not work. His first book, Save the Cat!, is a classic. One of Blake Snyder’s writer-friendly inventions is what he called “BS2,” the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet. The beat sheet broke a story—any story from the Iliad to La La Land—down into about sixteen “beats,” e.g. Opening Image, Theme Stated, Catalyst, Break…

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It Ain’t Easy When You Get What You “Want”

By Shawn Coyne | 8 Comments

What’s it like when you get the call?  When you get the big deal and you’ve been ushered into Big Publishing’s Finishing School with a seven figure advance for your first book? Let’s head back to some material from and explore the reality of this dream come true state of being… When contemplating a writing project, let just one question guide you: What’s at stake? Not just what’s at stake in the Story—if it’s not earth shaking, find another one to tell—but what’s at stake for you personally. If you could skip the project and forget about it the…

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Giving Myself Some Props

By Steven Pressfield | 15 Comments

  Okay, it’s done. Today I wrap Draft #14 of the project that’s been kicking my butt and send it in to Shawn. Will it fly? We’ll see. But for the moment (a short moment), my job becomes about self-validation, i.e. giving myself some props. These “Reports from the Trenches” have been going on now for five and a half months. That means I’ve been rewriting a crashed-and-burned manuscript for that long.   Good job, Steve! Whatever happens, you have risen to the occasion. You have performed like a pro. You did not crap out (okay, maybe you whined and…

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Chum or Cream? Asinine or Aristotle?

By Callie Oettinger | 18 Comments

Congratulations Kazuo Ishiguro, on being awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature–and thank you for your stories. Bringing this back from September 2, 2016. In Kazuo Ishiguro’s book The Buried Giant, the dragon Querig is blamed for cursing the land with “a mist of forgetfulness.” With each breath, she exhales a mist with the power to shroud those within her range in amnesia. The mist is an unforgiving thing, wiping out the good and the bad memories. Pain and Happiness exit stage left hand and hand, with Experience and Knowledge joining them. Axl, an old man at the center of The Buried…

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Tricks of the Trade, #11

By Steven Pressfield | 11 Comments

  The theme of the past months’ “Reports from the Trenches” has been          How can we resuscitate our story after it crashes?   This is no easy issue, as all of us know. It feels to me, being in the middle of the process right now, like I’m grabbing my story by the belt, turning it upside-down and shaking it till all the loose change tumbles out of its pockets. We’re trying to get our story to give up its secrets. To spill its guts. To sing like a canary. Here’s a trick that sometimes works:…

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