THE STORY GRID: A Five Part Video Series from Shawn Coyne.

Writing Wednesdays

Writing Wednesdays

All Storytelling is About Metaphor

By Steven Pressfield
Published: September 30, 2015

A boxer takes a haymaker to the jaw. He falls. He struggles to one knee as the ref stands over him, counting, ” … two, three, four … ” Watch the faces in the arena. They have become that fighter. He is living their life, their struggle.

You are that fighter

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Posted in Writing Wednesdays

What It Takes

What It Takes


By Shawn Coyne | Published: October 2, 2015

For a while now, over at I’ve been writing about Malcolm

September 1, 1939

September 1, 1939

Gladwell and his first book The Tipping Point.

I’m doing something that I call “storygridding it.” And that’s just my short hand for creating a revealing infographic that a writer can look at lickety-split for inspiration.

And if she gets stuck writing her Big Idea nonfiction book, she can look deeply into the data of the story grid. And that data will reveal how a fellow scribe solved the same problem that she’s battling.
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Posted in What It Takes | 16 Comments

What It Takes

What It Takes

Always Come Out of Another Hole

By Callie Oettinger | Published: September 25, 2015

[I forgot about this post from Aug. 30, 2013, until I ran into Kevin Spacey’s speech again. Take a look and scroll down for Sir David Lean, too. For as much as things change, they stay the same. — Callie]

At about the 1:20 mark in Kevin Spacey’s MacTaggart Lecture, given during the Edinburgh International Television Festival, he looks straight into the audience and says, “It’s the Creatives, Stupid.”

It’s a television festival, so he keeps on the “television” theme, but that deeper thread is about change and taking risks.

When facing one of his first offers for a television role, he contacted his mentor, Jack Lemmon. He wasn’t sure that he wanted to take part in a television program that network execs had their hands all over—poking here and there within the creative process . . .

So . . . he calls Jack, and asks him about those “golden years of television” that Jack always spoke about—those years when Jack had first started out. “Was he being nostalgic or was there something different about the way television was back then?” Jack replied:

You have to understand, kid, that television was brand new back then. I mean, it was a new medium and nobody knew if it was gonna last—so you could try anything. Comedy one week … a drama the next… a musical… I mean…. It was terrific. It hadn’t been commercialized yet and no one knew it was going to be around that long. There was this sense of total abandon. Total abandon.

Total abandon. . . Not exactly the words we think of when television, films, music, books, or any other “creative industry” is mentioned today.

Within his talk. Kevin also mentions attending the 1990 American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement award for Sir David Lean—and how Sir David “dedicated his acceptance speech to the idea of promoting and supporting emerging talent. It turns out he was concerned, perhaps frightened by the film industry’s lack of commitment to developing talent and the greater and greater number of films the studios were making that appealed only to the pulse and not to the mind.”

Only to the pulse . . . not the mind . . .

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Posted in What It Takes | 11 Comments
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