Steve's All Is Lost Moment, 1974

What It Takes

What It Takes

Love Story Cheat Sheet /Controlling Idea (Theme)

By Shawn Coyne
Published: January 13, 2017

Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy and Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet in Joe Wright's Adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy and Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet in Joe Wright’s Adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

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

If there is one question I get more than any other it’s this:

“Could you tell me what the controlling ideas/themes, obligatory scenes and conventions are for Genre X?”

Well, I could.

And I did go through the OSs and Cs for Thriller and Crime in The Story Grid book as well as those in the Redemption story (part of the Morality Internal Content Genre) too over at www.storygrid.com.

(And I plan on analyzing each of the twelve content genres, plus some of the reality genres too, with serious coursework specificity in mind before I leave this mortal coil…click here if you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about.)

But come on…part of being a writer is exploring the story universe you wish to enter all by your lonesome. And there’s no better way than reading a whole bunch of your favorite novels from a particular genre and then compiling a list of what they all have in common.

That’s a lot of work. I know. I’ve done it. You should too.

Getting the answers to the test so you don’t have to study is rather lame, but I get it.

Just like the next guy or gal, I like to know that something is worth learning before I book a long trip into the autodidact’s lonely intellectual desert for an extended stay.

So as I pick up where I left off with the mini-love story genre course I’ve been writing here for What It Takes, I thought I’d just throw down a three part cheat sheet for love story.

So here you go:

What’s the global value at stake in love story?
More >>

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Golf Is My Game

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 autobiographythe story of the Grand Slam, and even a chapter titled “The StymieLet’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.

Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book

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.

Cosmic Laws of Golf, The

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.

Golf in the Kingdom

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.

Secret of Hogan’s Swing, The

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.

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