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What It Takes

What It Takes

Stick It To The Doorknob

By Callie Oettinger | Published: October 24, 2014

My neighbor called yesterday. She was in the hospital and her husband’s cell phone wasn’t working. He’d forgotten to bring a few things with him and was on his way back home to pack another bag for her. Would I pop over and ask him to grab a few extra things to bring back to the hospital?

I adore these neighbors and would do anything to help them, so I dropped what I was doing and stuck my head outside. Empty car port. (more…)

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What It Takes

What It Takes

Go Dark

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**?

Freddy Krueger, one insprired force of antagonism

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.

(more…)

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What It Takes

What It Takes

Why Do Authors Still Approach Traditional Media Outlets?

By Callie Oettinger | Published: October 10, 2014

Roger Sutton made waves this past week for writing “An open letter to the self-published author feeling dissed,” which begat “No, I don’t want to read your self-published books” by Ron Charles, itself a G-rated echo of Josh Olson’s “I will not read your fucking script.”

If you care about my thoughts on Sutton’s and Charles’ pieces, read “Dearest Writer: Nobody Owes You Shit” by Chuck Wendig, who said exactly what I would have if I had his writing chops and wasn’t too lazy to write something myself.

There’s one thing about Charles’ piece that I would like to discuss here. It’s a question Sutton asked after Charles contacted him:

“And if old media is so passe, why do they care so much about what we think?”

Why indeed?

We talk all the time about traditional media, how they aren’t relevant and don’t push sales as in days of yore. Blah, blah, blah, and more blah… But . . . .

We still go to them.

Why? Follow-the-Leader (a.k.a. The Domino Effect), Following and Conversation. (more…)

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