SA 043: Shawn Coyne on the Importance of Conflict in Storytelling, Resistance, and Doing the Work

Shawn Coyne Story Grid

In this episode, I interview Shawn Coyne, author of the book, “The Story Grid.”  He talks about the writing process, and how adversity plays an important part in creating a great story that’s engaging.

Guest Bio:

Shawn Coyne created Story Grid to help authors tell stories that work.

He has edited and published hundreds of books. His longest collaboration has been with writer Steven Pressfield. He edited a number of Steve’s books including The War of Art, Gates of Fire, Turning Pro, Tides of War, and The Authentic Swing.  He’s also Steve’s literary agent, manager, and his business partner in Black Irish Books.

Shawn has ghostwritten a number of books that were bestsellers as well as co-wrote one, The Ones Who Hit the Hardest with Chad Millman, Editor-in-Chief of ESPN, the Magazine.


Some Questions We Ask:

  • What are the ways that he sees successful writers, the ones that he has worked with, get over  bouts of resistance (in the writing process)?
  • What are one or two areas that he’s seen with the writers he’s worked with, or just feedback with readers, on areas that they struggle with most with the story grid or just the writing process in general?
  • What book or books have most influenced him in life, in his work, and why?
  • Is there a film or couple of films that have most influenced him as a person and a viewer, and as an artist himself, and why?
  • If he could have dinner with one person he admires, past or present, who would it be and why?

What You’ll Learn In This Episode:

  • The importance of adversity and struggle in developing good stories

Stories are so deeply ingrained in human beings. We all see the world through the point of view of stories. The story that we live by is our own personal story.

  • The 5 components of the story grid
  • German word Weltanschauung meaning worldview

Storytelling is instrumental and so much of what we do, not only to convince us to buy products, but it’s also about self-realization. Discovering what it is that I really want to do in this world. What is it that is going to compel me and bring meaning to my life.

  • His thoughts on avoiding conflict
  • The writer as an artist and the writer as a craftsman


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