By Shawn Coyne
Published: October 17, 2014
[Join www.storygrid.com to read more of Shawn’s Story Philosophy]
How do you choose what kind of story you want to tell?
Maybe you do it by thinking up a “What if” Event—what if terrorists attacked in the middle of the Super Bowl*?
Maybe you do it thinking of a “What if” Protagonist—what if the hero of my story is an inanimate object**?
Obviously, you can’t have a story without events and protagonists. But is there another way to goose yourself into a feverish writing jag? One that can sustain you for an entire first draft?
My advice to anyone tinkering in their heads about a big Story is to put both Events and Protagonists aside. Especially in the primordial stage. You’ll have no shortage of anguish with those two elements in the future, but for now—when you’re just doing internal spit balling—forget about them.
Instead go dark.
The most important element in any story is the force/s of antagonism. If you create incredibly specific forces of antagonism that you want to explore, the choice of genre to expose that darkness becomes crystal clear.
Posted in What It Takes
ADDITIONAL READING » BUSINESS AND MOTIVATION
Business and Motivation
by Collins, Jim
The second-favorite book (after Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations) of Marine general Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis, who led Marines in Afghanistan and commanded the First Marine Division in Iraq. Brilliant, no-nonsense insights into how organizations succeed . . . and fail.
by Polish, Joe
Joe is a marketing guru out of Tempe, AZ, who has put together a series of CD interviews with entrepreneurs, authors, coaches, marketers and interesting people of all stripes. (Fair disclosure: he interviewed me.) My pick: any interview with “strategic coach” Dan Sullivan.
by White, Jack
Jack White was the first state artist of Texas. But his book isn’t about art, it’s about the business of art. (He has two others, on selling art and on self-promotion). You have to download these for twenty-odd bucks from www.senkarikstuff.com. they’re not available in hard copy. Terrific stuff, well worth the paper and toner.