Story Grid Services

What is The Story Grid?

The Story Grid, invented by veteran editor Shawn Coyne, takes thousands of years of thinking, talking, and writing about story – from millennia of oral story-telling traditions around the world, to Aristotle’s Poetics, to the modern day curricula of MFA programs and film schools – and then distills that wisdom down to a reproducible method for creating and improving stories.

Start with Genre
The bedrock principle of the Story Grid is this: Genre (French for "type") works as a compact between the story's creator and the story's readers (even when neither is aware of them); therefore, a writer who clearly understands a story's genre and its structure - both how to work within them and how to innovate on them - can more skillfully craft the story to both satisfy and surprise readers.

Obey the Five Commandments of Storytelling
Furthermore, a well-told story's structure, according to the Story Grid, is made up of the Five Commandments of Storytelling: every story, and every part of every story - right down to each individual scene - contains those five elements: the beginning hook, the progressive complication turning point, the crisis, the climax, and the resolution.

Take a Scientific Approach to Improve the Art
The Story Grid method for analyzing a story is as rigorous, intense, and objective as possible. Many methods rely on the writer's or editor's subjective interpretation of what is happening in a story. In contrast, the Story Grid method and its ingenious tools help us to document and to describe what is actually happening in a story, section by section, scene by scene, even beat by beat. Most important, they help us figure out what is missing or weak so that we know what to add or strengthen.

“Justice prevails, life is precious, love is sublime…we need to get these messages from our stories or we despair.”
― Shawn Coyne, The Story Grid

How can the story grid help my story?

The Story Grid Diagnostic

The Story Grid Diagnostic offers a high level overview of a story's genre and an analysis of a story's major strengths and opportunities for development.

This is for you if:
You have a complete first draft and want a mix of high level and scene-specific feedback on how to make it "work." By work, we mean it is a clear and cohesive story that can appeal to readers of the genre.

The Story Grid Diagnostic includes:

The Editor's Six Core Question Analysis
After I've done a close reading of your entire manuscripts, I'll answer six core questions that will help us identify its genre, structure, key scenes, and strengths and opportunities for further development.
A Story Grid Spreadsheet of Your First Five Scenes
Since the first five scenes are crucial in setting up the story, I'll do a complete Story Grid analysis of what is and isn't working in them - and why.
A Next Steps Recommendation Letter
This personalized letter answers your big questions: "What now? And how?" In it, you'll get specific guidance on what to work on next and what resources to use as you do the work.
A Reading/Viewing List of Masterworks in Your Genre
Because the Story Grid Diagnostic enables us to laser focus on the genre of your work, I'll be able to provide you with a short list of relevant masterworks that you can study in order to hone yours.
A One-Hour Consultation Call
This is *your* time. I'll, of course, discuss my analysis of your story. But I'll also encourage you to ask the questions you have about that analysis, the Story Grid philosophy and method, the conventions of particular genres, or the nitty gritty of crafting of scenes.
Recording of the Consultation Call
Along with the Next Steps Recommendation Letter, this recording is yours to refer back to as you work through the revision process.

Story Grid Diagnostic Cost:

    • Manuscripts up to 85,000 words: $2,500
    • Manuscripts from 85,000 - 100,000 words: $2,800
    • Manuscripts from 100,000 - 130,000 word: $3,100

 

What if my manuscript is over 130,000 words? While some truly great books have clocked in at more than 130,000 words, most books can be improved by cutting out extraneous scenes that don't directly contribute to the cause-and-effect plot of the main story line. If your manuscript is more than 130,000 words, I'd suggest cutting down to 130,000 words or fewer before you begin the development editing and revision phase.

DRAFTING WITH THE STORY GRID

Drafting with the Story Grid uses the Story Grid principles, methods, and tools to help you write a first draft of a story that works.

This is for you if:
You have a story idea that you want to take from concept to manuscript, using the Story Grid method.

Drafting with the Story Grid Includes:

  • Recommendations for masterwork readings and Story Grid materials that will help you know what to write.
  • Weekly one-on-one coaching calls to hold you accountable to the deadlines that you set for yourself, to encourage you to keep writing, and to find or fine tune your authentic writing voice.

Drafting with the Story Grid Cost:

$600/month

Timeline:
A minimum commitment of four months. Why four? During this time we'll work together to draft the four parts of your story: the beginning hook, middle build I, middle build II, and ending payoff.

Revising WITH THE STORY GRID

Revising with the Story Grid uses the Story Grid principles, methods, and tools to help you revise a first draft of a story so that it works.

This is for you if:
Your story has been analyzed with the Story Grid Diagnostic and you want guidance in the revision process.

Revising with the Story Grid Includes:

  • Recommendations beyond that which you received as part of the Story Grid Diagnostic for further readings and resources that will help you know what and how to revise.
  • Weekly one-on-one coaching calls to hold you accountable to the deadlines that you set for yourself, and to keep you focused and encouraged as you do the hard work of revision.

Revising with the Story Grid Cost:

$600/month

Timeline:
A minimum commitment of four months. Why four? During this time we'll work together to revise the four parts of your story: the beginning hook, middle build I, middle build II, and ending payoff.

“Stories change people.”
― Shawn Coyne, The Story Grid

Why The Story Grid?

I believe in the power and potential of the Story Grid because I've spent so many years of my life searching for it - in classrooms, in workshops, in bookstores - without quite knowing what "it" was I was searching for.

What I was searching for is what you and every writer or editor is out there searching for: a story-telling philosophy and methodology that synthesizes all the wisdom of the ages and that works for our age, one that is not so rigidly formulaic that it stifles creativity but also one that is not so formless as to be useless.

I believe the Story Grid, as Shawn Coyne describes it in his course, The Hero's Journey 2.0, is as simple and as *combinatory* as DNA, which makes it immensely powerful and immensely generative! Just like DNA is capable of generating all the life on Earth, the Story Grid, in the hands of dedicated craftspeople like you and me, is capable of generating an infinity of stories.

And I agree with him when he says we need more and more diverse stories to help the human species - and other species - survive the truly global challenges facing us today. To say that the world needs your story now more than ever before is no exaggeration. And to say that the Story Grid can help me to help you tell it is a fact.

“Stories are the most important thing we humans can create.”
― Shawn Coyne, The Story Grid

Other Services

Writer Coaching

Writer coaching is for you if you want instruction, feedback, and support on a particular area, such as:

  • Beginning, sustaining, or returning to a regular writing practice.
  • Broadening or deepening your reading and analysis of works in a particular genre.
  • Strengthening a specific technique, such as developing characters through their perceptions of setting and atmosphere.
  • Fine-tuning your understanding of the different points of view and knowing when, why, and how to use one versus another.

Cost:

$150/hour

Consulting

My education and experience might be exactly what you need to answer a question, solve a problem, or start down the path that's been calling to you.

In addition to being a Story Grid Certified editor, I have taught college writing (academic and creative), worked as a technical writer and editor, and have been a longtime member of a creative writers group that has explored traditional and self-publishing in depth. How can I help you, today?

Cost:

$150/hour

 

"Writing a first draft is like trying to build a car and race it at the same time."

―  Richard Ford, Novelist

"You could use a pit crew."

―  J Burton

LANGUAGE IS A SUPERPOWER, LLC is not a subsidiary of Story Grid Universe. This company currently contracts with Story Grid Universe by providing editorial services directly to writers and content for Story Grid. The company owner contracts with Story Grid Publishing as an author and editor.

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