Pride and Prejudice - The STORY GRID edition - Annotated by SHAWN COYNE




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What It Takes

What It Takes

What’s the Big Idea?

By Shawn Coyne | Published: August 4, 2017

I’m working with two writers right now on Big Idea projects.

It’s easy to lose your focus putting these kinds of projects together. Even as the developmental editor supporting the writer.

Because you must nail Ethos, Logos, and Pathos…you begin to obsess about credentials, research, prescriptive advice, complimentary storytelling…you can easily lose the thread of why you’re working on the thing to begin with.

Here’s the secret to the Big Idea book. It’s simple but easy to forget. I do all the time.

You’ve got to nail the Big Idea in the most straightforward, easiest to understand and exciting way possible.

Once you do that, all of the other stuff (the research, the stories, the central passion of why you feel driven to write the thing in the first place) will fall into place.  In fact, you’ll laugh about how easy it is once you nail the idea.

What I mean is that you have to boil down your controlling idea/theme into its purest essence. Like making the darkest, richest maple syrup, you keep applying heat until its pure Grade B (which is the really good stuff…Grade A is a marketing effort to get people to buy the lesser syrup).

So how do you do that?

(What follows is an edited version of a post I wrote a few years back about Malcolm Gladwell’s seminal Big Idea Book, The Tipping Point.)

Posted in What It Takes

Writing Wednesdays

Writing Wednesdays

Blind Spots

By Steven Pressfield | Published: August 2, 2017


I’m gonna get this quote wrong, I’m sure. It’s from Kierkegaard, as cited somewhere (in The Moviegoer, I think) by Walker Percy:


Posted in Writing Wednesdays

What It Takes

What It Takes

The Hard Is What Makes It Great

By Callie Oettinger | Published: July 28, 2017

I’m a few years and thousands of pages into a project—and am starting over.

I had an “all is lost moment.”

It hit around the time Steve published his first “From the Trenches” article.

I cried.

I sulked.

I said something shitty to my husband.

I thought my world was falling apart—that everything that could go wrong had, or did, or soon would.

I was wrong.

I’m alive.

I’m working.

I’m healthy.

Most important: My kids and husband are healthy and doing their amazing things.

What helped me hurdle the moment?

Steve #2.

In his “Resistance at the Ph.D. Level” article, Steve wrote about another version of himself, a 2.0 version who would tackle the the messy pieces Steve 1.0 created.

Steve #2 has certain advantages that Steve #1 doesn’t.

First, he starts with a clean slate.

It’s not his fault that this project is all bolloxed up.

He’s the surgeon.

He’s the Fix-it Man.

He’s the pro from Dover.

Steve #2 will come in, sew this mess up, and get it back on his feet.


Posted in What It Takes
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