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




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ARCHIVES OF October, 2017

What It Takes

What It Takes

A Sub-Genre of One’s Own

By Shawn Coyne | Published: October 27, 2017

When I find a story fascinating, like I obviously find THE TIPPING POINT, I can’t help but think about the writer.  What drove him or her to tell it? I have a grand theory that there is something deep within them that drives them…something that they need to work out in their own minds that directs them to explore a particular genre and carve out a space inside of it of their own. I also believe that they are not consciously aware of their internal north star…

In this next post edited from the archives, I explore what may have driven Malcolm Gladwell to create his own particular kind of story…what I think of as the debunking of conventional wisdom narrative…a sub-genre of the Revelation Story.


Posted in What It Takes

Writing Wednesdays

Writing Wednesdays

Act Three is the Ninth Inning

By Steven Pressfield | Published: October 25, 2017


How should your novel or screenplay finish?

It should end with the score tied in the bottom of the ninth and the base runner representing the winning run tearing about third base and highballing for home.

Rounding third and heading for home

Rounding third and heading for home

Deep in right field, the outfielder with a rifle for an arm has just fielded the line drive that has sent our runner racing flat out. The outfielder slings the ball like a bullet toward home plate, where the catcher is waiting, eye on the throw, braced to receive the shock of the runner as he hurtles toward home.

At third base, the coach is waving frantically to the runner rounding the corner. Go! Go!

Every fan in the stadium is on his or her feet. Kids are going crazy. In the broadcast booth, the play-by-play announcer is losing his shit. The whole stadium is going insane.

Okay, maybe that’s not the WHOLE third act. We can screw the drama tight in the eighth inning with a couple of relievers coming in and getting knocked out of the box, a clutch homer or two, a drag bunt that gets beat out, maybe a wild pitch, a passed ball.

And we can ratchet the tension up even higher in the top of the ninth and then the bottom.

But at crunch time, if we want our game/novel/screenplay to have the fans screaming in their seats, EVERYTHING that went before has to build to that final moment of tension and suspense, and then we have to play that moment for all it’s worth.

Act Three of The Godfather has Michael Corleone “settling all family business” in one concentrated violent burst, i.e. murdering all the heads of the competing Five Families. But first his guys take out the traitor in their midst.



Can you help me, Tom? For old time’s sake?



Can’t do it, Sally.


And the second betrayer, Connie’s husband Carlo Rizzi.



Don’t tell you’re innocent, Carlo. Because it insults

my intelligence.


Pick any great play, novel, or movie from Hamlet to Breaking Bad, and Act Three is a rising crescendo, drawing upon every stitch of drama and conflict that has been set up through Act One and Act Two and paying it all off in one thunderous, do-or-die climax.

This is the architectural shape not only of a story but of a joke, a bar fight, a litigation, an election, and an act of love.

The ninth inning is not about nuance.

It’s about speed.

It’s about momentum.

The ninth inning is that runner hurtling around third, tearing down the line, and diving flat-out to beat the catcher’s tag at home.

[More in the next few weeks about Act Three and what makes it work or not work.]


Posted in Writing Wednesdays

What It Takes

What It Takes

You Have The Power

By Callie Oettinger | Published: October 20, 2017

June 12, 1993, presented me with a question.

Go anchor or go springboard?

Let the day pull me deeper than the Mariana Trench or propel me beyond Hubble’s view?

I flip flopped for years. (more…)

Posted in What It Takes
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