Pride and Prejudice - The STORY GRID edition - Annotated by SHAWN COYNE




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ARCHIVES OF February, 2011

The Warrior Ethos

The Warrior Ethos

The Opposite of Shame

By Steven Pressfield | Published: February 28, 2011

Chapter 9  The Opposite of Shame is Honor

Once, in India, after years on campaign, Alexander’s men threatened to mutiny. They were worn out and wanted to go home. Alexander called an assembly. When the army had gathered, the young king stepped forth and stripped naked.


Alexander. He knew how to keep the troops motivated.

“These scars on my body,” Alexander declared, “were got for you, my brothers. Every wound, as you see, is in the front. Let that man stand forth from your ranks who has bled more than I, or endured more than I for your sake. Show him to me, and I will yield to your weariness and go home.” Not a man came forward. Instead, a great cheer arose from the army. The men begged their king to forgive them for their want of spirit and pleaded with him only to lead them forward.

By challenging them to show more scars on their bodies than he had on his own, Alexander was shaming his men. Warrior cultures (and warrior leaders) enlist shame, not only as a counter to fear but as a goad to honor. The warrior advancing into battle (or simply resolving to keep up the fight) is more afraid of disgrace in the eyes of his brothers than he is of the spears and lances of the enemy.

Chapter 10  Boyz 2 Men

When they were boys, Alexander and his friends were forced to bathe in frigid rivers, run barefoot till their soles grew as thick as leather, ride all day without food or water and endure whippings and ritual humiliations. On the rare occasions when they got to rest, their trainers would remind them, “While you lie here at ease, the sons of the Persians are training to defeat you in battle.” (more…)

Posted in The Warrior Ethos

What It Takes

What It Takes

On Bookbuying and Events

By Callie Oettinger | Published: February 25, 2011

When I want a surprise read, I hold my three-year old daughter over the Costco book table and let her pick out a few books. (recent picks: Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook, Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Marilynne Robinson’s Home, and Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge.) Or—I do a reverse pin-the-tail on the donkey in airport and train station book sections. I close my eyes, spin around, and then buy whatever book I grab. (recent pick: Wm. Paul Young’s The Shack). Some rock, others stink—all are a surprise.


Posted in What It Takes

Writing Wednesdays

Writing Wednesdays

The Obligatory Scene

By Steven Pressfield | Published: February 23, 2011

A couple of weeks ago we were talking about the Inciting Incident. I apologize for getting away from it. Let’s get back …

The formula says, “The Inciting Incident sets up the Obligatory Scene.”


Alan Ladd shoots it out with Jack Palance in the obligatory scene of "Shane"

What is the Obligatory Scene?

It’s the climax. It’s the scene that, if you don’t have it, you don’t have a story.

In The Hangover, the inciting incident is Losing Doug. The obligatory scene is Finding Doug.

In The King’s Speech, the inciting incident is when we realize that Bertie has a terrible stutter and he’s destined to become monarch just as Hitler is starting World War II. The obligatory scene is the king confronting his infirmity as he addresses the shaken nation.

In Alien, the inciting incident is when the monster gets aboard the ship. The obligatory scene is when Sigourney Weaver, the last survivor, goes toe-to-toe with this nightmare.

How knowing this can help us

If we think of the Vietnam Memorial as a story, the inciting incident is the approach to the monument, as the visitor sees that the wall with the names of the fallen is sunken below the surface of the ground. The obligatory scene is when the visitor–in this private, emotion-packed space–touches the name of the soldier she has come to mourn or honor. (more…)

Posted in Writing Wednesdays
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