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




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ARCHIVES OF November, 2013

What It Takes

What It Takes


By Shawn Coyne | Published: November 29, 2013

Here’s another chunk from the book that is slowly killing me…THE STORY GRID.

Conflict drives stories.  Without it, nothing happens.  The words just sit there, inert like your uncle Lou in his Barcalounger on Sunday afternoon.

Even though we spend most of our time avoiding it, it’s important to remember that conflict is not “bad.”  In fact, it’s the thing that gives life energy, instills in us a sense of controlling our own destiny.  How we manage conflict, how we act when up against Resistance makes us who we are. As hard as it is to believe, getting everything you want without having to contend with inner anxiety or expend any effort would be Hell.  Think about all of those mega millions lottery winners who blow all the money and end up destitute. It’s practically impossible to value anything not hard won through conflict.

Conflict boils down to this:

One person/character wants one thing, another person/character wants another.


Posted in What It Takes

Writing Wednesdays

Writing Wednesdays

Booking Your Own Tour

By Steven Pressfield | Published: November 27, 2013

Though it’s sometimes hard for me to take in, I know that numbers of people look to me as a mentor. Well, I have a mentor too. His name is David Leddick. He was my first boss, in advertising, on the Revlon account at Grey Advertising in New York.


David Leddick outside Grey Advertising, NY, 1969

David will be 84 in January. Is he a doddering old fart? You judge. Since ’95, when he “retired,” David has written 25 books (no, that’s not a typo), including six novels. Since 2000 when he resumed his performing career (he had been a dancer at the Metropolitan Opera and with the Joffrey Ballet), he has appeared in six musicals, some with script and lyrics by himself. “My best review,” David reports, was in Some Men by Terence McNally when I sang ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ while wearing red feathers.”

For his books, David organizes his own signing tours. I thought, “This is something that readers of this blog might emulate.” Why wait for some publisher? On my own last book, I had to organize and pay for my own tour. Zero help and zero bucks from the publisher.

Anyway I asked David how he does it. Here’s his answer:

The cardinal rule for a book tour is do not go somewhere you do not have at least twenty personal contacts whom you can invite to your event. The bookstore will traditionally provide no one even if they do a fair amount of publicity.

You can do a book event in your hometown. A town you came from. You can ask friends in major cities to pull together a list for you. Then you decide what bookstore you would like to be at. Since my work is largely gay-themed I go to the major gay bookstore there. I have toured New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, New Orleans, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco. I add the name and address of every person who buys a book when I am on tour and thus augment the list for the next tour.

Now with email you can amass email lists as well as mailing lists but I prefer the direct mail approach. I print postcards, the cover of your book on one side. To save money have them printed with no information on the other side and you can stamp the bookstore and time on them. Always write something like “Please come” and sign your name on every card. It will add 30 per cent to your turnout.

Once you have your mailing list you can call the bookstore you want, speak to the PR person responsible for events and they will usually book you on the date and time you want. I don’t think I was ever turned down. They will also order books for the event. Double the number you think will attend. If twenty, they should order forty. Often people will fail to turn up for the event but drop by a few days later to buy the book. Now that books are available easily on Amazon and are always less expensive I find that I get more turnout but fewer sales. (more…)

Posted in Writing Wednesdays

Ask Me Anything Mondays

Ask Me Anything Mondays

Foolscap Anything

By Steven Pressfield | Published: November 25, 2013

I’m excited to announce we have a new series to add to the blog!

When we were promoting The Authentic Swing we asked for questions you’d like Shawn and I to answer in an hour long podcast. We received an overwhelming number of great questions, over 250 of them, and in that first hour only made it through about a dozen. So Shawn and I got back on Skype and decided to start recording more. This space on Mondays will be for short audio clips—however long it takes for us to answer just one question.

If you’ve already signed up for First Look Access, you received in your email the entire Podcast #2 including this question. You’ll always get the entire recording first before I slowly release it here, one answer at a time, on the site.

Our first question comes from two people, Jim Woods and Roberto Meardi:

How would you apply the foolscap method to nonfiction or a business? Can you give examples please? Thanks so much!

You can also read a PDF transcript of the podcast if you prefer.

As always, I love hearing your comments and followup questions. Post them below and maybe they’ll wind up in our next recording session. (more…)

Posted in Ask Me Anything Mondays
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