Gentleman Jack Ep5

The 5 Commandments of Gentleman Jack: Episode 5

These are the 5 Commandments of Storytelling as outlined by Shawn Coyne in his book The Story Grid: What good Editors Know.  These commandments can be found in all stories that really work.

Inciting Incident:

Mr. Ainsworth is coming to woo Walker, threatening the relationship between the women

Progressive Complications:

Walker has nightmares about Lister and hers relationship causing them harm by society


Does Walker continue her relationship with Lister or listen to the voices


Walker decides to leave Lister because she is worried they will be killed


Lister is crushed and returns to her house and is beat by a man hired by the Rawson brothers

A note on Value shifts.  Scenes need to turn in order for a story to work, if it doesn’t turn in value then nothing is really happening.  See the following two articles on value shift in scenes and stories at

Love Story Value Shift:

-/– hopeful to hopeless

Lister is heartbroken after Walker breaks up with her

Society Value Shift:

+/- Secure to threatened

Lister is beaten and told to stay away from Walker, presumably because of her coal business

Obligatory scenes and Conventions are expectations the reader or watcher have when they watch specific genres.

Obligatory Scenes and Conventions for a Love Story

  • Lovers Break Up

Obligatory Scenes and Conventions for a Status Story

  • Protagonist’s initial strategy to outmaneuver Antagonist fails – Lister changes her negotiations with the coal brothers

The Story Grid

For more information about the Story Grid, go to the Story Grid Webpage to find free videos and articles on how to implement the methodology.

Read these articles for more information about the 5 Commandments of Storytelling and the Editor’s 6 Core Questions from the book The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne.

For an example of how these techniques are used, read Jane Austin’s The Pride and the Prejudice with annotations by Shawn Coyne.

Story Grid Editing

If you are interested in having your manuscript reviewed by me, see my Editing Services.

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