Innovating Convention

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On our Foolscap Global Story Grid for our Untitled Redemption Story we’ve reached the place to write down the conventions and obligatory scenes for the Redemption/Performance combo plate of External/Internal genres.

Before I didactically launch into them, though, let me first put forth this:

Writing and its partner in crime, Editing, is extremely difficult. And because they are arts, they’re very personal.

What works for an Editor and Writer like me…may or not work for you. And the interpretations I have about specific works and even my entire methodology—from Genre to Foolscap to Spreadsheet to Story Grid—is extremely specific to the way I work. And think for that matter.

As a friend of mine David Leddick wrote, I’M NOT FOR EVERYONE, AND NEITHER ARE YOU. What that means is that when I decided to present the way I work and think as a means to help others write and edit, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to reach everyone with every tiny detail. In fact, I’m still fitzing and futzing with many of them myself.

I’m a compulsive personality and I approach my creative work in much the same way I approach cleaning a kitchen counter. First I go broad and take inventory of the entire landscape (Genre), then I divide the landscape into three parts and clean up the big stains on each as best as I can (Foolscap), then I go to the square inch and make sure I didn’t miss anything (Spreadsheet).

And finally, I’ll step back and take in the entire project before calling it quits (Story Grid).

You may disagree with some of my analytical decisions—Is the value at stake in a Redemption Story really Altruism? Are human beings even capable of Altruism?

Or even some of my global theories—Is Performance really a Genre, or is it just some random BS Coyne came up to categorize a bunch of Stories he couldn’t easily figure out?

The important thing about all of this stuff is to think long and hard about all of it. In any way you choose.


Because writing and editing requires two skill sets—Macro and Micro craftsmanship. The Story Grid is about taking the very real principles of the Macro and Micro of Storytelling and boiling them down to practical tasks.  You may not buy into my suggested methods lock, stock and barrel.  But there is no denying that they are built upon a concrete/steel-reinforced foundation of Story scholarship.

I’ve been editing stories for decades, obsessively reading other Story nerd writers from Plato to Mckee and applying what I’ve learned successfully in the marketplace.  I’ve edited scores of bestsellers and worked on hundreds of financially successful titles (and I believe artistically successful as well).  I’ve worked on many books that  just didn’t find an audience too.

What I know is that every writer and editor has his/her own system. Just like I do.

Steven Pressfield doesn’t use every single tool from The Story Grid to write his fiction or nonfiction. He’s got his own method and it works great for him. But I will tell you that when he gets stuck, he has zero problem spreadsheeting or re-Foolscapping or even going the whole nine yards and Storygridding his manuscript from scene one through scene seventy-one to make it work.

He’s a pro.  Pros will do what it takes to get it right….as right as it can be before letting it go.  Because, deep down they know the work isn’t all about them.  Once they put it into the ether it’s out of their hands.

The Story Grid methodology is about finding a common language. A vocabulary that the writer and the editor can share. So that their partnership to make Stories the best that they can be is efficient and rewarding, rational and as non-combative as possible.

Okay, so let’s keep moving down our Foolscap Global Story Grid for an Untitled Redemption Story.

Updated Foolscap for Redemption Story

Updated Foolscap for Redemption Story

The first convention of a Redemption story is to introduce your protagonist in a serious state of selfishness. Remember that we are going to make our protagonist change from a self-obsessed person to one who sacrifices for the good of another or a group.

So when first introduced, we want a protagonist in heated pursuit of one or more of the following: success, fortune, fame, sex, power… Those pursuits are from our global controlling idea for a Redemption Story.

This doesn’t mean that he’s necessarily Ebenezer Scrooge (if you want to understand Redemption Story, A Christmas Carol is a great place to start), hording money etc. It just means that he is totally self-obsessed.

I would also add the protagonist obsessed with their “victimhood” in this description, those Eeyore-like figures who have convinced themselves that the world is against them, that they’re doomed to burn their days as perennial losers.

A quick side note here:

Many of the Internal Genres meld. That is, they are open to interpretation.

Some would view A Redemption Story as an Education Story or a Maturation Story or a Revelation Story. I could make very good arguments that Rocky is not a Redemption Story, but rather an Education Story. Tender Mercies is another like that. I classified Tender Mercies as Education Story in the book, but I also see it as a Redemption Story too.  It’s both.

Rocky’s view of the world shifts from negative to positive (indicative of an Education Story) as surely as his personal evolution moves from disgraced down and outer muscling for the mob to honorable fighter (the Redemption arc).

The important thing is to clearly think about which of these Internal Genres you as the creator want to dedicate your attention. As long as you are specific about what you wish to accomplish, the fact that someone may see your work as a Maturation Story instead of your intention of creating a Revelation plot makes little difference.

The beauty of Story is that the audience brings their personal histories to the experience and finds things inside the tale that the writer had no idea were in there. Embrace that magic. Don’t argue with it. Once you release your Story, it’s no longer yours. It’s everyone’s.

Just be very clear and specific with your work and if you do it well, universality will result, as evidenced by the nuanced ways your readers interpret what you’ve written.

Here are some examples of Stories with Redemption Protagonists.

Rocky : At the beginning of the Story, Balboa is a lovable if whiny loser, put upon and pathetic. His plight is everyone else’s fault and the world has no use for him.   He seems resigned to his fate living in a dump and unsuccessfully trying to get a rise out of the girl behind the counter of the pet shop.

Kramer vs. Kramer: Ted Kramer is a big shot advertising executive on his way up the corporate ladder. He’s got all of the accoutrement, a pretty blonde wife and a cute as a button kid. But he’s all about #1. The people closest to him are possessions, not sources of joy, comfort, or pain.

The Color of Money: Eddie Felson is a slick liquor salesman who, for a giggle, backs pool hustlers on the side. He does it to amuse himself and could care less about anyone or anything beyond his private “Fast Eddie Felson” code.

The Verdict: Another great Paul Newman role (he played Fast Eddie too). Frank Galvin is an alcoholic ambulance chasing lawyer with a self-hatred so intense he’s blind to any and all beauty in the world.

The second convention of a Redemption story is that there is at least one character who serves as a spiritual guide/sidekick, someone who helps the protagonist move from living completely inside their own universe to someone engaged in the greater world, capable of deep caring for others.

The primary sidekick for Rocky is Adrienne, his love interest, but Mick and Paulie serve in that role too, both as cautionary figures. That is, if Rocky doesn’t change, he’ll end up like a cross between Mick and Paulie.  Not pretty.

The primary sidekick for Ted Kramer is his son Billy. Billy could care less about how much money his father makes. He just wants his attention and love. Another sidekick is the character played by Jane Alexander, Margaret Phelps. Phelps is Ted’s wife’s friend who encouraged her to leave Ted. But she and Ted become friends as Ted discovers just how deeply important it is to take care of someone else.

Fast Eddie Felson’s sidekicks are reflections of himself. Fast Eddie first appeared in Walter Tevis’s Maturation/Performance masterpiece, The Hustler. The Color of Money was Tevis and Richard Price’s sequel.

The first sidekick is the Tom Cruise character, Vince, the naïve and peculiar nine-ball savant—the ghost of Felson’s Xmas Past. The second is the character played by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Carmen—the Machiavellian schemer—Felson’s ghost of Xmas Present.

Going on an extended road trip with these two, Eddie sees just how ridiculous his way of life is. He rediscovers his love of the game and in a subplot his love of the woman he’s been keeping at arm’s length on the side. It has one of the great all time endings for men of a certain age, of which I now include myself…I’m back Kid! And then the thunder crack of a perfectly struck break. Goosebumps.

On to the Obligatory Scenes.

The big one is what I call the Truth will Out Scene, which is a requirement for all of the Internal Genres—Worldview (Education, Revelation, Maturation and Disillusionment), Status (Sentimental, Pathetic, Tragic, and Admiration) and Morality (Punitive Redemption and Testing).

For the Redemption Story, this is the critical moment when the tumblers inside the protagonist’s head finally align and the lock that’s been holding back the deep truth of his life (being alone is hell) clicks open.

Obviously, this scene is the crucial moment in the Global Story…when the protagonist comes to understanding that he’s has been absolutely wrong about the ways in which he’s lead his life.

It’s the Christmas Carol scene when Scrooge realizes what a putz he is. In his third visit with the ghost of Xmas future, the old man visits his own grave and understands that he’s wasted himself being a miser.

Without a clear and cathartic TRUTH WILL OUT scene, your Redemption Story simply won’t work. Crack this puppy and the rest of the story will pretty much write itself.

You’ll notice that I slotted the TRUTH WILL OUT scene as the Climax of The Middle Build on my Foolscap. While you can put it just about anywhere (you could even foreshadow the whole story and use it as a prologue/first scene to grab the reader/viewer immediately), this is traditionally the place where we expect to read/see this scene.

It’s the moment when Rocky realizes that just surviving 15 rounds with the champ and going home to Adrienne is all he needs. Or when Fast Eddie Felson gets hustled by Amos (Forest Whitaker) in the Color of Money, something clicks for him. He’s being hustled and he doesn’t like it one bit.

The next obligatory scene is what I call CONTEMPLATING THE ABYSS. (Which is essentially the ALL IS LOST MOMENT) This is a scene when the protagonist, who now sees the truth about his life, has to understand just what he’s going to lose if he adopts the new way of living.

Casting aside the material baloney of life in favor of connection to other human beings requires real loss. And it ain’t small loss either. We need as readers to understand just how big a choice this is. It’s often the difference between wealth and “barely getting by.” If you get stuck here, I think it’s a good idea to think about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. In order to get connection (love) the lead character must lose something on that pyramid that he’s extremely reluctant to give up. The choice has to be as difficult as a drug addict walking away from his fix.

The last essential obligatory scene for a Redemption/Performance story is THE BIG EVENT. This is the moment promised by the beginning hook.

Rocky fights Apollo Creed.

Fast Eddie plays for himself in the 9-ball Tournament in Atlantic City.

Ted Kramer fights for his son in court.

Frank Galvin’s summation in The Verdict.

I would even wager that all of the other possible combo platters you could create with the other external genres require a Big Event if you are using the Redemption Internal Genre and it’s controlling idea.

I mentioned Gran Torino in my last post, which uses the crime genre to flavor its redemption Story. Clint Eastwood sacrifices himself at the end of the movie to save his community. That’s a big event.

And pretty much all War stories have a redemption element inside them (Dirty Dozen). And as you know War Stories all build to the Big Battle at the end. Is there a bigger event than combat?

Lastly, the final must have convention for the Redemption story provides irony and solidifies the controlling idea that we’ve decided to reverse engineer.

The protagonist must lose The Big Event, but win the internal battle. A Redemption Story must have a “winning for losing” resolution.

Now obviously, after you’ve outlined how you are going to abide these conventions and obligatory scenes, you need to make sure that you’re just not “painting by numbers.”

A reader or an audience is so deeply immersed in the Redemption Storyline that you cannot just hit your marks and deliver a great story. You must innovate these conventions and obligatory scenes. You must always be on the lookout to counter the anticipations of the audience.

That is, you must always surprise them. If you don’t, you’ll lose them.

Rocky doesn’t go into the ring and take a beating for 15 rounds. There are times in the fight when we actually think he’s going to win. He knocks down Apollo Creed and breaks his ribs. This twist happens shortly after Rocky realizes the night before the fight that “he can’t win.” But shit! Maybe he can!

My advice is to bang out your ideas quickly and give yourself plenty of slack when you’re just spit-balling these scenes and conventions. Create your own private writers room in your head.

One guy in there has a solution for everything. While another takes great pleasure in beating down every single one of his what ifs. And just when all hope is lost, another guy in your head (your own private internal show runner) saves the day by inventing something completely awesome using the deep knowledge of the world you are writing about.

The trick about innovation is to use your insider knowledge about the world you are writing about to your advantage.

For example, I know book publishing in microscopic detail. I know it’s history, its culture, its pros and its cons, its charlatans, its heroes, its pathetic hangers on, its unsung leaders, its corporate overseers, etc. etc.

If I were to write a Truth Will Out scene using my deep understanding of book publishing, the thing I would do is present a scenario to the audience that they would think was a positive (or a negative) intuitively. And then pull the rug out from under them with my knowledge base.

For example, I might have a young editor discover a brilliant new voice in fiction. She fights like hell to be able to acquire and publish the work, and then almost goes crazy editing it until she’s certain it has everything it takes to be a huge success. With monomaniacal zeal, she pressures and pushes the marketing and publicity departments to take notice of her pet project.

Reluctantly, her colleagues come on board. Everyone in the house pitches in. And the book becomes a huge commercial success.

The Truth Will Out scene comes on a late Wednesday night when The New York Times bestseller list gets faxed to the major publishers 10 days in advance of its publication.

Every editor with a book-in-play at the Big Five houses stays late on Wednesday night.

The list comes in and her book is #3. The publisher gives her a hug. The production manager freaks out because they don’t have enough stock in the warehouse. But our editor?

She’s devastated.

This moment (which the audience won’t really understand until it plays out) is this editor’s TRUTH WILL OUT scene. What happens, being #3, makes her understand that her life is a mess, that she’s missed the point of why she’s an editor in the first place, that everything she’s been working for is bullshit.

The audience doesn’t know why this information is so devastating, until they get her CONTEMPLATING THE ABYSS SCENE. And after the contemplating the Abyss Scene, they won’t know what will ultimately choose to do in the Big Event scene, which could be the National Book Awards or BEA.  (There’s a reason why book publishing fiction isn’t all that popular…the stakes just aren’t that high…even for the people in the business).


Because the readers doesn’t know the specificity of the book publishing world like the writer of the Story does.

But if the writer does his job well, by the end, the reader/audience will feel like they could walk into Random House and land an editorial job in one interview. Admit it, after you saw Rocky, you thought with the right training you could do okay for yourself in a ring…not heavyweight champ well, but maybe a round or two with a golden gloves level boxer…

Innovating these genre forms requires deep knowledge of unique worlds. Don’t make the mistake of writing generic crap that just abides the requirements of the form. It won’t work. It will be cliché. The reader/audience will know what’s going to happen within five minutes of reading or viewing.

The only way to keep the mystery/suspense/dramatic irony of your Story moving forward is to be an expert in the world in which your characters are in play.

Conventions and obligatory scenes are like the legs, backrests, and seats of chairs. Without them, you don’t have a chair. But if your chairs are just like everyone else’s, no one will want to sit on your furniture.

For new subscribers and OCD Story nerds like myself, all of The Story Grid posts The Story Grid Bonus Material posts and Storygridding The Tipping Point posts are now in order on the right hand side column of the home page beneath the subscription shout-outs.


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About the Author

SHAWN COYNE created, developed, and expanded the story analysis and problem-solving methodology The Story Grid throughout his quarter-century-plus book publishing career. A seasoned story editor, book publisher and ghostwriter, Coyne has also co-authored The Ones Who Hit the Hardest: The Steelers, The Cowboys, the '70s and the Fight For America's Soul with Chad Millman and Cognitive Dominance: A Brain Surgeon's Quest to Out-Think Fear with Mark McLaughlin, M.D. With his friend and editorial client Steven Pressfield, Coyne runs Black Irish Entertainment LLC, publisher of the cult classic book The War of Art. With his friend and editorial client Tim Grahl, Coyne oversees the Story Grid Universe, LLC, which includes Story Grid University and Story Grid Publishing.
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Debbie L Kasman says:

Hi Shawn. I notice you didn’t put the Contemplating the Abyss Scene on your Foolscap Global Story Grid.

In your example of the young editor who discovers a brilliant new voice in fiction, if I play the rest of her story out in my head, I realize the Contemplating the Abyss Scene scene would need to go in the Ending Payoff in order to make the story work, and it would need to be either the Inciting Incident, the Complication or the Crisis.

I’m thinking the Crisis is the best fit, that when the young editor Contemplates the Abyss she is having an internal crisis which would lead her to do something “crazy” at the Big Event like refuse to accept an award she wins (or something like that).

Have I played the story out correctly?


Shawn Coyne says:

Hi Debbie,
Yes, you could do it like you suggest, or it could be the Crisis prior to the TRUTH WILL OUT scene. I didn’t put it on the BH, MB, EP section because where it goes is up to the writer. As one could do for the TRUTH WILL OUT scene, we could put the CTA scene as the crisis of the BH or EP or even make it sort of a running joke throughout the Story. That is, our protagonist could be one of those people who has catastrophic fantasies…and you could strategically have her go down these worst case scenerios in her mind or in conversation with one of her sidekicks throughout, which would get across the the reader/viewer her deep inner torment. So the form of the CTA scene is to get across to the reader, the deep inner conflict in the character. Remember that there are three kinds of conflict…extrapersonal (the environment, institutions etc.), personal (between two or more people) and innner/internal. The purpose of the CTA scene is to effectively communicate with the reader just how deeply the character is torturing herself. That is the purpose of the CTA scene. So think of it in terms of expressing the conflict as opposed to putting it in a traditional place in the manuscript. That way, you’ll avoid cliche.
Hope that helps

Debbie L Kasman says:

Shawn. Not only does that help, it’s allowed me to have yet another “aha” moment. Your posts and thoughtful answers to me and others provide one aha moment after the other. The impact on my own WIP is exponential! Thank you yet again for everything you are doing for us “out here!”

Patrick Maher says:

I sent this excellent question and Shawn’s reply to the ‘Pool Room’ (only makes sense if you saw the Australian movie, ‘The Castle’). Thanks.

Debbie L Kasman says:

Hi Patrick. I had no idea what you were talking about but I was able to google a clip. LOL. Straight to the pool room indeed!

Jack Price says:

As an infected carrier of the Story Grid virus, I had to pick apart the new Amy Schumer movie Trainwreck — marketed as a romantic comedy.

True, romance and comedy are front and center. But what drives the narrative? External Performance genre — the heroine’s magazine writing career. What makes me want to recommend it? Internal Morality Redemption genre — complete with nudging sidekicks and “Oh, what a putz am I” scenes. The girl’s gotta change her ways.

Redemption is everywhere.

I’d argue that the love story is a subplot, an entertaining improv about love and sex in the age of mainstream porn. The genres and conventions are the 12-bar blues chords that hold the movie together, plunking away until the deeper theme is brought home.

Mary Doyle says:

This post really helped to clarify my WIP, but I’m still confused about something. My protagonist has been trying to gain the love and approval of someone who is never going to give it to her (External/Revelation) and her CTA will be that realization. She has also been trying to atone for something that was not her responsibility, but for which she has been engaging in dangerous self-hatred behaviors (Internal/Morality (Punitive Redemption). She will win this internal struggle, so I’m looking at a separate CTA on this, right? Or do I need to find a way to combine them? As always, thanks!

Shawn Coyne says:

Wow Mary!

Just your description of your WIP sounds fascinating. Jesus! You’re really fighting the big Tuna here.

Here’s something to consider. Perhaps reading or re-reading or even watching the movie of SOPHIE’S CHOICE could be of some help. What’s so amazing about that Story is the Crisis that drives everything. “If you had to choose which one of your children would live or who would die, which would you choose?”

But Styron didn’t stop there. Forgive me if I screw up the plot points here. It’s been years since I read the book, but what I think was even more genius on Styron’s part is that he used that horrifying Crisis choice as the haunting element of a woman who is trying to “get on with it!” A woman who is in love with someone incapable of loving her back (he’s nuts as I recall).

That was her internal way of atoning for her sin of casting one of her children aside. Now she didn’t murder her child…the Nazis did, but she feels responsible (and the reader holds her responsible too…). The ending is a killer. Sophie does get a level of peace by telling the awful truth to her friend (the narrator and stand in for the author, Stingo) but chooses to die with her unattainable lover in a suicide pact in the end. Which as I recall I found an appropriate ending…even a positive one for those two tormented lives.

My question to you is… Could you have your protagonist already assured of her already living in the abyss (like Sophie)? That is she’s resigned herself to the fact that there will never be any peace for her…the abyss has come already (from her past) and she’s swirling in its vortex. She doesn’t have to contemplate it so much as accept it.
What she sees in the love interest is a way to save herself. If she can get the love interest to love her, then that third party action will pull her out of the internal shit storm she’s living in. Remember we’re all desperately in need of 3rd party validation. Not for the external rewards of the validation (we really don’t care if we have a better car and people recognize us on the street) but for the promise of internal peace if we get that validation. If I can just get this guy to love me, then my insides will feel better and everything will be okay…
That’s the kind of subconscious baloney we believe. But the Truth Will Out scene is going to make her understand that the only one capable of pulling her out of her inner hell is herself. She must understand that she did not kill her daughter. The Nazis did.

One little side story about Sophie’s Choice.

As you know I edited the English translation of Giora Romm’s SOLITARY. One of the things that isn’t in the Hebrew edition of his book (a big bestseller over there, but alas less so of one here) is a moment that Giora told me about over coffees and cheeseburgers in a dump of a diner down the way from my old office in Soho.

I was trying to explain to Giora that Americans don’t “get” what Sabras of his generation are all about. Most of the Sabras like Giora aren’t overly religious (a complete shocker to me), but they’re more Jewish than those who go to schul seven days a week could ever be in my opinion. I asked him to tell me a story about what motivated him to dedicate himself to Israel as a fighter pilot at so young an age.

He told me that when he was in High School (16 or 17) the Adolph Eichmann trials were going on. They had the radio tuned in and after class and drills, all of the students would listen to the depositions. One day a woman was on and told of the day she and her two young boys were rounded up. The SS was taking away the children to work at death camps. The woman ran down one of the trucks with her two boys aboard and pleaded with an SS officer to spare them.

The sadistic son of a bitch told her he’d let her keep one.

The woman got a hold of herself and as she took in every last detail of her little boys with her eyes, told the guard she wouldn’t choose. And off they went.

That’s a Story that had to be in SOLITARY. It’s one of the things that sustained Giora in his trials as a POW and it’s the thing that captures why Sabras are the last people in the world to fuck with. One is not more important than another. They are TOGETHER until the very end.

Anyway, keep at it. You’re doing important work.

Mary Doyle says:

Wow, thanks so much for this! Actually my protagonist is not seeking love and approval from a love interest, but from a parent (there is a love interest that will play into her Internal Redemption though). But she is most assuredly already in the abyss, resigned that there will be no peace for her. And yes, she does gets assurance, but from someone unexpected and only after she realizes that she must pull herself out first. I feel more sure-footed in the direction I am taking her now.

As much as I appreciate the suggestion, I’ve got to be honest – I couldn’t face reading Sophie’s Choice again. It just about did me in back in 1980. Your Giora anecdote would have been an interesting route for Styron to take, but that’s a whole other discussion and far be it from me to question a master like Styron.

Thanks again Shawn – I am so grateful for you and this blog!

Rohn Federbush says:

Instead of writing my interests, I’m trying to fit into the romance genre. So far I’m only self-published. Vanity press has wiped out my savings of 10k.

Anyway, not to beggar the subject my work in progress is about a small town girl, who meets a New Yorker in a Mid-western university town. She’s convinced he’ll fall in love with her town. She defends her father who wants to see her take up his role as a grade-school teacher in town.

She’s also put in the position of defending a schoolmate who might have gotten away with murder. When the murderer confesses, she accuses her fiancé of lying to her when he says he does want to work in her town. When he leaves to go back to the university, he’s involved in a serious accident. She thoroughly recognizes his worth to her.

Then her mother gives them her childhood home. Now she wants to run. How can she feel married with her mother cooking and cleaning for them?

The question is now that she’s really messed up, how do I take steps to reconcile the different elements. I need about 20 k more words to fit into any category.

Shawn Coyne says:

Hi Rohn,
I confess I’m stumped about the trajectory of your Story and alas I just won’t be able to offer any actionable advice. You might want to start at the beginning of the site and work your way through it again.
All the best,

Patrick Maher says:

This article made me look again at UP IN THE AIR. It features George Clooney. It’s from a 2001 novel by Walter Kirn.
It again threw into relief the idea that the hero of a redemption story is the character who changes the most: a wounded hero who is given a chance to change – mostly through insight.
In the story, Clooney’s character starts out as workaholic who fires people for a living and who like his high-status job. He seems to have no emotional lability at all so, of course, the story forces him to stop travelling and to mentor someone. She helps him connect to people. He gets his heart broken by a fellow workaholic and he winds up feeling lonely, and craving human contact, for the first time in his life. It’s all there, the truth, the abyss, the internal battle and the insight.
As usual Shawn, this useable, wonderful material – pure vitality juice to a writer.

Herbert Exner says:

I’ve been quiet for a while, but I read each single post and all comments…deeply impressed. I know that I, an innovation marketer, jump into the writer/editor community as a “stranger” (I haven’t wrote a single book).

But, I’ve borrowed Your great idea and applied it to quant innovation diagnosis and repair.

Innovations don’t have beats and scenes, but functions and tasks and I see plots as work flows (yes, there’re single, multi and anti flow systems). Genres are types…Surprisingly enough in a five leaf clover.

Innovators think macro and micro and they’re not bad in distinguishing form and formula – it’s their life…but what I’ve always struggled with was external and internal purpose and values…

And then I got the gift (the resolution) again here: Wants and Needs. Needs are often too loud in the innovation business and some wants become needs when previous needs are met…innovators develop requirement specs but must emphasize on evolutionary prototyping without becoming slaves of focus groups…great innovations are solutions and development systems in one. They evolve…

I went into the lab and created a new release of my schemes and tools. They’re now simpler and more insightful…now at version 2.1 😉

Thank you Shawn!!!

Georgina says:

Hello to everyone, there is another great western, crime/redemption new movie by Robert Duvall “Wild Horses”, in case anyone wants to see it.

Georgina says:

I’ve also identified – though not certain whether i’m right – “Love Happens” with Jennifer Aniston as a Love Courtship/Education, and “Addicted” (2014) as a Love Obsession/Morality Punitive.
I welcome thoughts from anyone who happened to see the films and disagrees, for the sake of discussion, and wanted to ask if anyone has seen a film, apart Oedipus Rex, with a revelation story to suggest.
Thank you.

Georgina says:

Sorry, just realized i made a mistake of the name of the film with the Obsession-Punitive story, it is “Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor” (2013).

Tim Murphy says:

Shawn, Shawn:

The first few paragraphs have a wee bit of a defensive tone. If you are not for the amorphous “everyone”, that is his (her?) problem, not yours.

Thousands of us are privileged…honored…to learn from your lifetime of experience and success. Thank you! Keep writing. You are making us all better.

And don’t apologize. Giora Romm would probably tell you–and I know this from my own life experience–neither fighter pilots nor Sabras apologize for much.

So keep writing for us your interested readers and let “everyone” fend for himself.

Tim Murphy

(Need to get a copy of Solitary).

Georgina says:

Hello again, a couple of posts back Joel Canfield suggested we share our story analysis, as obviously Shawn cannot be answering all the questions we want to ask him, so if we exchange our ideas maybe this will help us find our way, so here is my take on a beautiful film “Far from the madding crowd” (2015) a retake of the 19th centurty novel by Thomas Hardy.

Global Story: Love Courtship
Contolling Idea: Love is caring, kindness, companionship, believing, sharing and ‘being there’ in tough times.
LIKE to INDEFFERENCE (sheep/she doesn’t thank him, wants other guy) to AFFECTION (holds his hands trying to say something) to LOVE (puts his needs above hers and she is happy for him though sad).
INDEPENDENCE (self rule) to NEED (required, essential rather than desirable/sheep) to ATTACHMENT (accessory, extension, affinity, friendship, attraction) to DEPENDENCE (reliance, trust, faith, expectation).

Internal Story:
Heroine: Education (if i understood well it can be anything)
Controlling Idea: appearances are deceiving/the one who really tames her is not the one she initially thinks/ be aware of your fantasies they can deceive you etc.
OBLIVIOUS (of his talents, skill, character) to AWARE (informed, conscious) to APPRECIATION (recognize, give credit to achievement, skill, quality) to ADMIRE (hold in high regard/esteem, praise)
Hero: Status
Timid SHEPARD (with his own sheep) to DESTITUDE to TALENTS RECOGNIZED/MAKES MONEY to CONFIDENT MAN OF MANNERS (learns to dance & goes to church to learn to sing/ signs of cultivation..)

As I do not know if the above are correct, please feel free to disagree and contradict any of it, i’ll appreciate your opinion. My apologizies for any spoilers..


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