But it’s true. So the point is: Don’t write sh*t.
In Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t, Steven Pressfield describes his journey as a writer and what he learned along the way about creating a strong story. His crystal-clear prose makes it all sound surprisingly easy, but we know it’s not.
On a five point scale I’d give this book a ten. You can download it for free here in ebook, mobi and pdf formats.
With eloquence Pressfield references many classic books on writing such as Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, and Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat taking their ideas and weaving them into a larger tapestry with a fluid intellect that left me breathless. Every page held me in awe.
Here are some of my favorite lines:
“Problems seeking solutions. This is a powerful way of thinking about the creative process.” (chapter 20)
“Art is artifice.” (chapter 24)
“… a story (whether it’s a movie, a play a novel or a piece of non-fiction) is experienced by the reader on the level of the soul. And the soul has a universal structure of narrative receptors. Jung was right. There is a collective unconscious. Joseph Campbell was right. Myths and legends do constitute the fabric of the self.”
When he discussed the “Point of No Return,” he commented: “A great epiphany moment not only defines the stakes and the jeopardy for the protagonist and for the audience but it states the theme and answers the question, ‘What is this story about.'” (Chapter 70)
“Truth is not the truth. Fiction is the truth.” (chapter 77) [I had to really think about that one.]
“… nobody wants to read your sh*t. We cannot give our readers ore. We must give them gold.” (ch 89)
I started out reading the book on Kindle, but it was hard not to write down every one of his lines in my notebook. Half-way through I downloaded a print copy and started underlining (almost every line).
Pressfield covers all the fundamentals of story writing: the three act structure, hero’s journey, high concept, theme, resistance, sub-text, epiphany moment for the protagonist, the villain’s brilliant speech …
I was mesmerized, am mesmerized … and am back attacking my wip with I think a better eye.
It would be good practice for me to re-read this book before I start each project. It really is that good.
Where credit is due: I read about the book on Seth Godin’s blog earlier this week.