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

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ARCHIVES OF June, 2013

What It Takes

What It Takes

The Itch

By Shawn Coyne | Published: June 28, 2013

You’ve been thinking about writing a long form Story (novel, narrative nonfiction, essay) for as long as you can remember. You have this very specific and fascinating lead character in mind and you’ve been spinning ideas about his story driving in your car, riding the subway, even while having your teeth cleaned.  One day (for some reason it’s usually a Saturday) you finally resolve to sit down and write your book.  You have a clear notion of what the beginning will be, so you plunge right in.

The first day is amazing.

The paragraphs fly by in the first couple of hours. You force yourself to take a break for lunch.  Was it Hemingway or Fitzgerald that recommended you leave your work in media res so that you have fuel to keep going when you pick it up again? No matter, whoever it was, was spot on! Your husband asks you how it’s going and you tell him how you can’t believe you’ve waited this long to write your book.

He’s impressed.

After you chomp down a tuna fish salad sandwich, you head back to your desk and read what you’ve written in the morning.  Doesn’t Steve Pressfield recommend that you “cover the canvass” as quickly as you can in your first draft? But you can’t help yourself. I mean really, you do need to know where you’ve been to keep moving forward right?

It’s terrible. (more…)

Posted in What It Takes
14 Comments

Writing Wednesdays

Writing Wednesdays

How Hard is it to Turn Pro?

By Steven Pressfield | Published: June 26, 2013

How hard is it to stop drinking? How hard is it to overcome an addiction? How hard is it to break free of a toxic relationship, a twisted family dynamic, a destructive marriage?

The Fighter

Mark Wahlberg in "The Fighter." How hard is it to break free of a toxic family dynamic?

How hard is it to make those changes permanent?

When we talk about the switch from the mindset of the amateur to the mindset of the professional, we’re talking about a total, fundamental, life-overthrowing revolution.

That’s why it’s so hard.

The amateur is in the habit of yielding to Resistance, just as the alcoholic is in the habit of taking a drink. I can’t prove this, but I would bet the farm that the chemistry of the Resistance-addicted amateur’s body is as deformed as the physical chemistry of the heroin addict’s. To change, he has to alter that chemistry. And he has to do it by will power alone.

How hard is that?

It’s as hard to turn pro as it is to change nationalities, to move to another country, take on a new name, learn an alien tongue. It’s as hard as it is to switch genders, to wake up tomorrow morning in the body of a woman if you had been a man or the body of a man if you had been a woman. It’s as hard as bleeding out. As hard as letting go of your life. It’s as hard as dying.

I’ve used the phrase “turning pro” lightly in the past, and I was wrong to do that. There’s nothing light about it. There are no degrees to turning pro. There’s no such thing as Turning Pro Lite.

(more…)

Posted in Writing Wednesdays
40 Comments

What It Takes

What It Takes

Sounding It Out

By Callie Oettinger | Published: June 21, 2013

Trouble with the Curve, starring Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams. Image credit: Warner Bros. Ent.

Mickey listens to her father’s comments about the high school ball player, then goes to the fence for a closer look. She returns to tell Gus, her father, that he was right. The young player’s “hand’s drift.”

“How did you know that if you can’t see him?” she asks Gus, whose failing vision is as clear as sludge.

“Because I’ve been in this business too damn long, that’s why.”

“No, it’s more than that. Tell me.”

“It’s the sound you hear. It’s like a ball coming off the bat, or exploding into a glove. It’s a pure sound. You’ll know it when you hear it.”

The dialogue above is from Trouble with the Curve, starring Amy Adams as Mickey and Clint Eastwood as Gus. I know the sound they’re talking about.

That pure sound—it comes when you’re doing it right. It’s the one measurement that can’t be faulted.

I’ve heard it at the driving range. There’s that crack when Big Bertha launches a ball across the green—like an anvil hitting the high note on a set of titanium chimes. (more…)

Posted in What It Takes
6 Comments
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Gates of Fire
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Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t
The Authentic Swing
The Lion's Gate
Turning Pro
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