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 » GOLF
by Robert Tyre (Bobby) Jones
In my opinion, the best golf book ever written. Kind of a hodge-podge actually, with tips and lessons mixed in with autobiography—the story of the Grand Slam, and even a chapter titled “The Stymie—Let’s Have It Back!” Like so many memoirs by great men and women who aren’t professional writers, it rings true as gold, page after page. If Bobby wants the stymie back, I’m all for it.
by Penick, Harvey
If authenticity is a virtue, this is the supreme manifestation of it. Harvey Penick and John Wooden both radiate that quality of true-blue excellence and generosity, which explains why both have produced so many champions and are both so revered by all who knew them. Simply sensational.
by Printer Bowler
Full disclosure: young Printer is a dear friend. This is a slender volume that goes deep, from an officer during the Vietnam War who has lived a full and profoundly observed life and distilled there from many lessons that go beyond the front nine or the back. It’ll help your golf game, too.
by Murphy, Michael
Best book ever on golf and spirituality. Packed with wit and inventiveness, not at all full of itself, Kingdom is a yarn you can read over and over. Shivas Irons is probably the greatest fictional golf creation, short of Carl from Caddyshack. And Michael Murphy is erudite. Do you know the scene in Plato’s Symposium, when Alcibiades arrives, drunk, at the dinner party, and enters to make a speech in praise of Socrates? Well, Murphy knocks this off to brilliant effect with a speech in praise of Shivas—and never even winks at his readers.
by Bertrand, Tom and Printer Bowler
Golfing cognoscenti remember the late John Schlee’s student-mentor relationship with Ben Hogan that, alas, ended with both their deaths. Were Hogan’s final secrets lost? No, because Schlee passed them on to celebrated San Diego teaching pro Tom Bertrand. Here, working with Printer Bowler (author of the excellent Cosmic Laws of Golf), Bertrand delivers to us the master’s last secrets on pronation/supination, the left hip, the right knee, and much more—plus fascinating psychological nuggets on competition and the keys to victory. Hogan’s concept of “the moving wall” alone is worth the price of the book. A must-read for Hogan fans and golfing aficionados of all kinds.