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




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ARCHIVES OF April, 2012

What It Takes

What It Takes

A Pro Seizes the Day

By Shawn Coyne | Published: April 27, 2012

I met with a client on Wednesday about a new project. He put me right on the spot.

Where was book publishing going? How could he stay in the ring? How was I going to help him?

For quite a while, Steve Pressfield and I have been kicking around ideas for future Black Irish Books. We want to come up with projects that would be embraced by an audience wide enough to financially support writers we admire. The byproduct of that goal will keep the BIB bank balance in the black too. The way we’ve structured the company is that we won’t make any money if our writers don’t. In fact if a big enough audience doesn’t come to the party, we’ll be out all of the capital we invested to produce the project from idea to finished book. We’re willing to take that risk. We’re betting on ourselves.

We’re not picking books from submissions, so please don’t send us your Uncle Ralph’s unpublished fantasy series. Tell Uncle Ralph to get it out there himself.

Rather we’re thinking up the books we want to read and the ones we think you guys will want to read. Then we’ll look for Pros we think would enjoy working with us. If the alchemy works, a cool book will result and we’ll all put a few shekels in the bank. If it doesn’t at least we’ll learn something.

In caveman-speak the proposition is pretty simple: We like this kind book. You great writer. We help you write book so we can share with friends. Friends buy book and fund next project. That kind of thing.

I have a mongo pet project/s that I’ve been trying to put together for three years…it requires a writer with mucho cojones to pull it off.  Sort of someone like Steve back when he was living in a van down by the river—a man or woman who is a Pro with like 7,000 hours knocked off their 10,000 hour craft polish. I think I could help him/her slice that last 3,000 down into a fraction, but he/she will have to put their ego in check to get the time warp. A lot harder to do than you might think.

I wear a lot of hats—agent, editor, writer and publisher—and I’ve learned a few things over my twenty years in the business. I want to pass those lessons on. That’s why I’m here.


Posted in What It Takes

Writing Wednesdays

Writing Wednesdays

High Concept

By Steven Pressfield | Published: April 25, 2012

Flash back with me to the late 80s/early 90s, the screenwriting heyday of Shane Black, Joe Esterhazs and the spec script. At that time, studios were looking for a very specific type of material. That material was called High Concept.


Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves in "Speed," a classic High-Concept premise

The High Concept era was the exact time I started finding work in Tinseltown. High Concept was what I cut my teeth on. I used to beat my brains out, trying to come up with high concepts.

What exactly is High Concept?

Let’s start with its opposite, low concept. Low concept stories are personal, idiosyncratic, ambiguous, often European.  “Well, it’s a sensitive fable about a Swedish sardine fisherman whose wife and daughter find themselves conflicted over … ”


Low concept can be great. Personally I go to a lot of low concept movies. But low concept is low. High Concept is high.

1. A high concept story can be pitched in 30 seconds or less.

2. A high concept notion doesn’t depend on stars.

3. It’s almost impossible to screw up high concept (though plenty of us did.)

Here are three classic high concept premises:

“Speed.” A criminal rigs a bus full of passengers to explode if the vehicle’s speed drops below 55 mph.  Cop and innocent gal must save bus and passengers. (more…)

Posted in Writing Wednesdays

What It Takes

What It Takes

The View From A Year

By Callie Oettinger | Published: April 20, 2012

My best friend lives hundreds of miles away. I call her those nights when the moon is full, sitting low and large in the sky, as if George Bailey lassoed it in for a better view. Always, I ask: “Does the moon look the same to you?” I want to know: “Are we sharing the same thing, so far apart?”

April 20, 2011, The Domino Project released Steve’s book Do the Work and we were gearing up for the releases of The Warrior Ethos and The Profession. (more…)

Posted in What It Takes
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