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What It Takes

What It Takes

Getting Past No

By Callie Oettinger | Published: February 17, 2017

(This post went up almost 3.5 years ago. Bringing it back for a rerun today.)

I started this post Wednesday.

Thursday I read this from Seth Godin:

What “no” means

  • I’m too busy
  • I don’t trust you
  • This isn’t on my list
  • My boss won’t let me
  • I’m afraid of moving this forward
  • I’m not the person you think I am
  • I don’t have the resources you think I do
  • I’m not the kind of person that does things like this
  • I don’t want to open the door to a long-term engagement
  • Thinking about this will cause me to think about other things I just don’t want to deal with

What it doesn’t mean:

  • I see the world the way you do, I’ve carefully considered every element of this proposal and understand it as well as you do and I hate it and I hate you.

Thursday afternoon, Jonathan Fields’ “When No Means Go” arrived in my in box.

Seems a few of us have no on the mind this week.

As the third one in the ring . . . It’s the reaction to no that’s been on my mind. (more…)

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What It Takes

What It Takes

Love Story Cheat Sheet/Conventions

By Shawn Coyne | Published: February 10, 2017

At long last, we’ve come to the end of this romantic journey.

I’ve been compiling a category-by-category cheat sheet for the must-haves of any working love story. To read the series from end to end, here are the previous five posts—1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

The final topic to cover is the conventions of love story.

Conventions differ from obligatory scenes in that they are not formalized beginning, middle and end units of story. Instead they are the milieu of a particular content genre, distinct add-on elements that give the story context, which elicits an emotional response from the reader/viewer.

A convention for a lawn mower is to have a pull cord to get the engine started. You can certainly change that convention to an on/off switch, but whatever choice you make to abide the convention (a force is necessary to begin a chain reaction) you’ll need something to get the engine started. Or you’ll have little chance of cutting the yard.

So conventions evolve over time—like a pull cord to an on/off switch. Some are added and some discarded from a content genre depending upon the cultural context.

Readers intuitively expect them to be present without formally checking that they are. That is, they don’t know that they’re supposed to be there. They just know something’s off when they’re not. The story just doesn’t “feel” right. They don’t emotionally connect to it in the way they’d anticipated.

In Donald Rumsfeld-ian terms, the conventions are UNKNOWN KNOWNS.


Posted in What It Takes

What It Takes

What It Takes

The Creative Penn

By Callie Oettinger | Published: February 3, 2017

My last few posts have focused on the importance of growing your own platform (“Common Sense” and “Should Writers Be Paid For Everything?“).

Now for an example, via Joanna Penn, a.k.a. The Creative Penn.

If you visit Joanna’s site, you’ll learn something new. That’s a promise—and a personal experience. She’s always teaching and thus I’m always learning when I step into her world. She’s honest with her experiences, clear with her voice, and generous with her knowledge.

The site itself is organized and deep (in both quantity and quality of content)—the product of YEARS of work.

One of the things I like the most about Joanna is that she’s “out there.” She always seems to be traveling (or our correspondence and her travel exist on the same cycle) and taking in the world around her. What I pull in on the other side is a worldview from an author who has a life in and outside of publishing, who has the unique ability of being able to go narrow and understand the big picture, too.

I’m partial to Joanna’s podcasts, especially this most recent podcast with Steve.


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