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




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ARCHIVES OF January, 2017

What It Takes

What It Takes

Love Story Cheat Sheet/Obligatory Scenes

By Shawn Coyne | Published: January 27, 2017

If the lovers never "meet," can the love story work?

If the lovers never “meet,” can the love story work?

This is the fifth in my series about love story. If you’d like to catch up, here is the first one, here is the second one, here is the third one and here is the fourth one.

What scenes must be in every Love Story?

While the following list may seem obvious, you’d be surprised how many amateur writers fail to deliver these essential must-haves. Or if they do deliver them, they toss them off with an uninspired let’s get this over with sensibility, thus disappointing readers looking for something singular and magical. (more…)

Posted in What It Takes

Writing Wednesdays

Writing Wednesdays

Writer = Entrepreneur

By Steven Pressfield | Published: January 25, 2017


Are you a writer?

A filmmaker?

A dancer?

Then you’re an entrepreneur.

It's also why I read Seth Godin's blog every day.

It’s also why I read Seth Godin’s blog every day.

You have more in common with the young Steve Jobs and the early Sergey Brin and Mark Zuckerberg than you do with your dad who worked all his life for AT+T or your aunt who’s five months away from collecting her pension from the Post Office.

[Today’s post, by the way, is the kick-off for a new extended series that I’m calling, until someone comes up with a catchier title, “The Professional Mindset.” Over the succeeding weeks we’re going to examine the inner world of the writer and the artist, not in terms of craft or even of overcoming Resistance, but of self-management.]

What emotional and psychological skills does a writer or artist need to conceive a project, to initiate it in the face of self-doubt and the indifference and even outright opposition of others, to hang tough through the “second act horrors,” to bring the work to completion, and then to take it to market out there in the cold, cruel world.

How should she think of herself, this writer or artist? What is her most effective self-conception? Warrior? Mother? Jedi knight?

Step One, it seems to me, is to recognize that all of us–writers, artists, filmmakers, actors, musicians–are entrepreneurs.

We don’t work for the Man.

We work for ourselves.

These are two completely different modes of operating in the world and of thinking about ourselves.

One way looks outside itself—to a boss, an authority figure, an established organization of which it is a part–for daily structure, for validation, for monetary remuneration.

The other way generates these from within. From her own self and her own labors.

This is an earth-shaking, life-altering, monumental watershed of the mind and the heart.

What is an entrepreneur anyway?

My online dictionary says the word comes from the French, entreprende, “to undertake.” It’s related to “enterprise.”


A person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.


Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach defines an entrepreneur as


Someone who has an exceptionally personal relationship with the 15th of the month.


Meaning payday.

Payday where nobody is going to cut you a check except yourself.

Payday when YOU are the only one generating income.

The artist, if you think about it, is the quintessential entrepreneur.

On the upside, she possesses total workplace freedom. She can tackle any project she wants, execute it any way she wishes, take it to market any way she chooses. She can write a novel, audition for a Broadway play, compose a symphony, lay out the next Assassins’ Creed.

No one is stopping her. No one is telling her “it can’t be done.” She can rise as high as her gifts will carry her.

On the downside, she is all alone in a stark, indifferent universe.

No one guarantees her an income. No one provides daily structure. No one motivates her, no one mentors her, no one pats her on the back.

That’s an entrepreneur.

Over the coming weeks we’re going to examine what it takes—emotionally and psychologically—to succeed in this raw, often cruel, Wild West universe.

We’re going to take a hard look at the Professional Mindset and how it applies to those of us seeking to make our living/satisfy our soul at the intersection of Art and Commerce.



Posted in Writing Wednesdays

What It Takes

What It Takes

Should Writers Be Paid For Everything?

By Callie Oettinger | Published: January 20, 2017

I received a question following my last post (“Common Sense“), which is tied to writers being paid for their work, and I’m still thinking about the question, and my answer, almost two weeks later.

Here’s the question:

You argue that writers shouldn’t work for free, but isn’t that exactly what they are doing when they spend time on social media? What about their blogs?

I see both as examples of writing as marketing, and no one is paying them.

Doesn’t that go against your point?

Here’s my answer:

On your question, I approach it as I do my yard.

If I mow/rake/weed/etc my own yard, I have to do the work, but I benefit in the future. In the beginning, my yard might be crap, but in a few years it could be a glorious masterpiece due to all the work put into it. I don’t get monetary payment up front, but I learn how to do things on my own, gain professional experience, and benefit from the hours of repeated actions, which help me trouble-shoot in the future, and make me more knowledgeable about the craft. When I sell my house, that yard becomes a selling point and thus has monetary worth.

If someone else maintains my yard, he goes home after doing the work, and doesn’t get any of the future benefits – but, he does get paid, and my neighbor might hire him because he likes the look of my lawn.

So if my site/book/etc is my lawn, I can choose to do the work myself or hire someone else – but in the end the site/book/etc is mine and I benefit from the growth (and possible future sale), which is a type of payment itself.

If I write for someone else’s site, however, there’s no ownership in the future, so I want payment now, kind of like the guy/crew maintaining yards. I can’t count on a neighbor hiring me. I need something that pays the bills.

So both models offer a form of payment — one more immediate than the other. As the person doing the work, I decide which form I’ll take. If I’m writing for “exposure,” I’d rather do it on my own terms instead of helping to drive traffic to people who have money to pay – Huff Post – and don’t.

Going back over the question and answer now, my issue with writing for free isn’t the giving away work for free part.

Long-time readers of this site know that Steve, Shawn, and I are advocates of giving away work as a good way to reach new audiences. HOWEVER, we set the terms for what is given away — and how it is given away — and base the giveaways within the Black Irish Books and Steven Pressfield platforms, neither of which popped up overnight. We’ve been at it on Steve’s site for almost ten years, and he had a static site long before that.

My biggest issue is giving away your opportunity to build your own platform. (more…)

Posted in What It Takes
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