Writing Better Stories

Do you need an editor for your Military Thriller manuscript?

Does your Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel need a helping hand?

What about a Book Mentor for your next story?

My name is Randy Surles, an Editor certified by Shawn Coyne in the Story Grid Method of story editing. If you need structural editing for your novel, help with a couple scenes, or mentoring as you write, please consider contacting me for a free consultation (and free scene analysis).

Check out my Testimonials to see what other authors think.

More Story Analysis

If you want to see more applications of the Story Grid methodology, below are links to my analysis of various novels and television shows in blog posts and podcasts:

Story Grid Showrunners Podcast – Parul, Melanie, and I analyze hit TV series using the Story Grid methodology.

My blog posts analyzing other Television series – my person take using the Story grid 5 Commandments to look at my favorite TV series – Jack Ryan, Batgirl, For All Mankind, Hanna, and more.

Novel analysis – I analyze some of my favorite books using the Story Grid 5 Commandments and 6 core questions – First Blood, Old Man’s War, Waylander, and more to come!

Webinar

Parul, one of my fellow Story Grid Showrunners hosts, and I teamed up to host a webinar on Reedsy in order to discuss the Anti-Hero?

What is an Anti-Hero/ Anti-heroine? How do You create one? Why do we love them?

See our Webinar Notes.

The Story Grid

Story Grid Book

If you want to learn more about writing a story using the Story Grid methodology, go to the Story Grid Webpage to find free videos and articles on how to implement the methodology.

These articles contain information about the 5 Commandments of Storytelling and the Editor’s 6 Core Questions from the book The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne. They also give details on obligatory scenes and conventions for specific genres, such as the thriller, love story, war story, crime story, and more.

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

Editing Services

If you are interested in hiring me to edit your manuscript or if you need help writing a novel, check out my editing services. Also, see my Testimonials page for comments from previous clients.

Thanks!

Manuscript Editing Services
Manuscript Editing Services

Scrivener + Story Grid – Part 1: The Set Up

Hey all, It’s been almost a year since my first post about how to use Scrivener and the Story Grid together to create an incredible writing experience. They were some of my most popular posts! So, after using Scrivener for my editing projects for the last year, I’ve learned a number of new, nifty ways to use the tool in conjunction with the Story Grid Methodology that I’d like to share.

Read More

Showrunners 033: Game of Thrones Season 1

What’s the lowdown?

This is a series with a mini-plot, multiple characters that each pursue their own storyline but come together for a larger story arc. In this first season of Game of Thrones, you’ll see multiple storylines weaving together. But the value at stake is power – the clue is in the name: the Game of Thrones. This is closely linked to the action genre with its values of life and death. And you’ll see other genres laced throughout which we will share in our show notes. 

Downloads


One sentence review from the editors?

Randall: This is really one of my favorite series, and the screenwriters did such a great job with the first season.  It’s a great example of how to write a screenplay from a really excellently written book series.  And the author (George R. R. Martin) did such a great job connecting the plotlines throughout the books/ seasons.  This had to take so much planning, Harry Potter level planning.

Mel: Awesome fantasy story masterpiece with very deep, three dimensional characters, an amazing story and throughout plotline, as well as the best title music and video.

Parul: It is Society Genre combined Action at its best, everybody wants power and everybody will die. 

What are the Editor’s Six Core Questions?

It’s a great way to analyze any story and figure out if it works. Here are the questions. We’ll touch on them in this podcast, but the full notes can be downloaded afterward.

  1. What’s the genre?
  2. What are the conventions and obligatory scenes for that genre?
  3. What’s the Point of View?
  4. What are the objects of desire?
  5. What’s the controlling idea/theme?
  6. What is the Beginning Hook, the Middle Build, and Ending Payoff?


What’s the Global Genre?

Mel: GOT consists of such a huge landscape of plotlines and characters that it is really hard to boil down to one external genre.

If you ask yourself this question, you need to know first: Who is your main character? If you just watch Season 1, you might have thought it was Ned Stark until he was beheaded. You now realise that every character in GOT may die.

If you have already watched the entire series, you know that the story revolves around Jon Snow. Internally I think it’s a Status Admiration Story for him because he is able to adapt his worldview with the new information that presents itself.

Status Admiration: When a sympathetic protagonist with nobility of character and motive, along with a sophisticated worldview, encounters misfortune they will rise in spite of it. 

For the global external genre, I’d say it’s horror. But that seems most valid if you take Jon Snow as your main character and look at GOT across all seasons.

For season 1, I’d say it’s more a society story turning around power and impotence mixed with life and death stakes.

Parul: It’s not uncommon for a series to have an overarching storyline and for each season to have another. In Season 1, we see the House of Lannister against the House of Stark. This is about power and impotence, and each character’s position of power or lack of power is closely linked to the threat to life they face. 

They are playing a game of thrones, but with drastically different positions of morality. Ned Stark’s principled position leads him to make the wrong move, and he is killed. He was attempting a revolution, but he failed. This is the Society genre with the values of Action and morality close by.

Ned Stark is the main character for us, BUT we do see the children in the beginning of an Action story (inciting attack, hero at the mercy of the villain) and we see the Northerns including Rob Stark and Daenerys Targaryen preparing for war. 


What are the objects of desire?

Starks: To have justice restored and power shifted to the rightful heir 

Lannisters: To have power and get the throne

Daenerys: To have power and get the throne


What is the Beginning Hook, Middle Build, Ending Payoff?

BEGINNING HOOK

Parul: It’s tricky to know what to cover. There are so many things happening. We start the series with the men mysteriously killed and this is the Inciting Incident for the Series and the horror genre, but in this specific season we’re tracking Ned Stark as a Society Story.

Inciting Incident: 

Society (core season storyline): King Robert Baratheon, Ned’s old friend, travels to Winterfell after the death of Jon Arran. Ned and Catelyn prepare for his arrival and suspect he wants to recruit him for the Hand. (Episode 1) (power/impotence)

Other storylines are also kicked off in the beginning: 

Horror (core series storyline): Men mysteriously killed North of the Wall (Episode 1) (life/death)

Action: To hide their incest, Jaime pushes Bran from the high window. 

War/Love:  Daenerys is forced to marry the Dothraki warlord, Drogo, in exchange for an army to conquer Westeros and reclaim the Iron Throne

Progressive Complications: Jamie pushes Bran from the tower when Brandon sees Jamie with Cersi, Brandon doesn’t die and an assassin is sent to kill him, Lady Stark travels to tell Ned of her suspicions, the Night’s Watch recruits are not what Jon Snow thought it would be, Sansa betrays Arya

Turning Point Progressive Complication:  Ned Stark discovers that Jon Arran was murdered. (Episode 1) (life/death)

Crisis:  Does Ned Stark still assume the role of the Hand of the King knowing that his life might be in danger or stay safe but leave the King without a trusted Hand? (Episode 1)

Stakes: Ned senses that something is happening, Winter is Coming – if he leaves, he won’t be able to protect his family and the Northern Kingdom.  If he doesn’t go, he will be turning down his friend and his king, and he knows he is probably the best person to talk sense into his friend and advise him for the sake of the 7 Kingdoms (not drive the 7 kingdoms into war again) (life/ death)

Climax: He agrees to become the Hand of the King. (Episode 1)

Resolution: He begins to see how much power the Lannisters have over the king and the 7 kingdoms (debt, Cersei’s influence over the king when she insists that Arya’s wolf be killed) (Episode 2 and 3) and becomes entangled in the political games of the court

MIDDLE BUILD

Inciting Incident: Ned Stark discovers that John Arryn might have been killed (E4)

Progressive Complications: Ned discovers the bastards, clues to the mythical White Walkers returning in the North, Brandon almost killed by brigands, Brandon has visions, Daenerys becomes empowered and her brother is killed and she becomes pregnant, Robert orders Daenerys’ death, Mormont betrays and saves Daenerys, Bronn saves Tyrion and starts working for him, Catelyn kidnaps Tyrion, Ned confronts Cersei about her children

Turning Point Progressive Complication:  King is dying from a hunting wound (E7)

Crisis:  Does Ned Stark confront Cersei and Joffrey or swear fealty to Joffrey and leave King’s Landing? (E7)

Stakes: If he does not try to assume his role as “Protector of the Realm”, the kingdom will be left in the Lannister hands who he sees as the wrong heirs since Joffrey is a bastard son of his mother and her brother.  If he stays, he puts himself and his daughters in danger.

Climax: Ned refuses to show fealty, shows them the document signed by King Robert and declares Joffrey is not the rightful heir  (E7)

Resolution: Ned Stark is taken prisoner and all his men are killed (E7)

ENDING PAYOFF

Inciting Incident: Rob Stark finds out about his father’s death and assembles his armies to fight the Lannisters (E8)

Progressive Complications: Jamie is captured, Drogo gets sick and dies, Daenerys loses her baby, Lannisters lose fight with Rob Stark

Turning Point Progressive Complication:  Sansa gets Joffrey to agree to show Ned mercy if he admits publicly that Joffrey is the rightful king (E8)

Crisis: At his public execution, does Ned Stark admit that Joffrey is the rightful heir and abandon his principles? Or risk death and stay principled? (E9)

Stakes: Sansa and Ned’s death if he does not agree; if he agrees, then the truth will be hidden and he might die anyway or at least be assigned to the Night’s Watch

Climax: Ned confesses his crimes and publicly swears fealty to Joffrey (E9)

Resolution: Ned is killed anyway, Sansa is captive, Arya escapes, Tyrion is made Hand of the King, Daenerys emerges from the fire with Dragons (E9 and 10)


What are the Obligatory scenes of the Global Genre (Society) 

Editors choose one to discuss. For the full list see the download available.  

  • Mel: There is an inciting threat or challenge to the reigning power: Ned Stark discovers that the death of Jon Arran was murder, that the Lannisters are seeking power
  • Randall: During an All-Is-Lost Moment, the protagonists realize they must change their approach in order to shift power from the antagonist to themselves: In person, Ned Stark realises that he and his family will die unless he pledges loyalty to Joffrey
  • Parul: The protagonists’ gifts are expressed in the Revolution Scene. (Core Event) This is the Core Event and Climax of the Society story where the power either changes hands from the subjugators to the subjugated (protagonists succeed) or the subjugators remain in power (protagonists fail). The winner and the loser are made clear: Ned Stark confesses to his crime in front of the audience, and Joffrey still orders his execution.


What are the Conventions of the Global Genre

Editors choose one to discuss. For the full list see the download available.  

  • Parul: There is one central character with offshoot characters that embody a multitude of that main character’s personality traits ( the mini-plot). In Game of Thrones we have the full cast of characters in each family. E.g. Starks: Ned Stark is one of the main characters (steady, warrior), Catelyn Stark (emotional, impulsive), Arya Stark (rebel, fighter), Sansa Stark (obedient, power seeker), Rob Stark (King in Waiting), Jon Snow (black sheep of family, honourable, noble)
  • Randall: There is a “big canvas:”: Winter is coming, Whitewalkers are returning, political game of thrones
  • Mel: The power divide between those in power and those disenfranchised is large and evident to the audience: The hunger for power is evident, we see how badly treated prostitutes and lesser men are treated. The ease at which life is discarded shows the power divide. 


What’s the point of view?

Mel: Multiple point of view characters are needed to tell a story that is so complex and stretches over many regions, houses, schemes, and overall history.

Still, I’d like to point out something GOT makes a lot of use of Dramatic Irony.

Here’s an example:

The first episode starts with the encounter of men from the Night’s Watch with a White Walker. One guy survives and deserts the Night’s Watch and flees south. He is ultimately killed for deserting the Night’s Watch because his news of the undead walkers sounds like  an old tale. No one believes him. Something the people from the North have stopped believing in, and his news won’t influence their judgment.

Even though that moment is not the inciting incident of the story itself, it is an inciting incident for the viewer because we are indeed witnesses to the existence of the White Walkers. We have seen them, too! We know what the deserter talked about is true. So the GOT story uses Dramatic Irony a lot. Dramatic irony is when the viewer knows more than the characters because we are witness to the schemes and actions of many characters!

The inciting incident for the story that is wrapped up between the seasons could be the death of the Hand of the King because with that the whole drama starts unfolding.

Randall: Other examples are the fact we know who pushed Bran out the window, but the characters spend the whole first season trying to figure it out and they never actually do, which is part of the narrative drive of the next season.

The screenwriters do a great job intertwining the pieces of the puzzle – The writers could have given us that first scene with the White Walkers and not directly connected it to the deserter being killed, that would have been a weaker version of dramatic irony.


What’s the controlling idea/theme?

We gain or maintain power and save our families’ lives when we prove our ruthlessness, status, and authority through bloodshed and political bargaining.


What was your favorite part?

Randall: I like the dragon reveal at the end. I was so surprised when Ned got killed.

Mel: Too many to count, but seeing how huge that Wall is was truly amazing because it reveals an undeniable threat to what might lay beyond.

Parul: After all the bloodshed and loss, it’s wonderful to see Daenerys rise from subjugated to power.


Next series:

Game of Thrones 2

If you like my Posts – Buy me a coffee.
Thanks!

The Story Grid

Story Grid Book

If you want to learn more about writing a story using the Story Grid methodology, go to the Story Grid Webpage to find free videos and articles on how to implement the methodology.

These articles contain information about the 5 Commandments of Storytelling and the Editor’s 6 Core Questions from the book The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne. They also give details on obligatory scenes and conventions for specific genres, such as the thriller, love story, war story, crime story, and more.

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

Editing Services

If you are interested in hiring me to edit your manuscript or if you need help writing a novel, check out my editing services. Also, see my Testimonials page for comments from previous clients.

Thanks!

Manuscript Editing Services
Manuscript Editing Services

Showrunners 032: Ozark Season 3

This week, the Story Grid Showrunners watch the THIRD season of the Netflix TV Series OZARK – a thrilling story about Marty and Wendy Bryde who are forced to run to the Ozarks to launder money to save their and their family’s life. In this season, the Navarro cartel is at war with the Laguanas Cartel and the fight spills over on US soil. Wendy has decided to expand the business for Navarro, her brother Ben starts to cause trouble and Navarro’s right-hand woman, Helen starts to doubt their ability to run the operation. It’s a brilliant combination of a thriller with a cautionary tale, with morality interlaced.https://player.simplecast.com/fa59446a-7a6f-4748-ad3f-9fd6f8f6948b?dark=false

Access the full range of our Showrunners’ Bonus foolscaps and Editor’s 6 Core questions for the following series: Killing Eve, Witcher, You, Umbrella Academy and Ozark.

What’s the lowdown?

Randall: I totally understand the hype on this series, I can’ believe it took this long for me to watch it.  It just keeps getting better.

Parul: This show is getting darker and more complex. It’s riveting. 

What are the Editor’s Six Core Questions?

It’s a great way to analyse any story and figure out if it works. Here are the questions. We’ll touch on them in this podcast, but the full notes can be downloaded afterwards.

  1. What’s the genre?
  2. What are the conventions and obligatory scenes for that genre?
  3. What’s the Point of View?
  4. What are the objects of desire?
  5. What’s the controlling idea/theme?
  6. What is the Beginning Hook, the Middle Build, and Ending Payoff?
  7. What is the Beginning Hook, Middle Build and Ending Payoff?

What’s the beginning hook, middle build and end payoff?

BEGINNING HOOK

  • Inciting Incident: The Lagunas cartel attack the Navarro cartel’s operation (Episode 1)
  • Turning Point Progressive Complication: Wendy tells Narravo she would like to expand his business using the Big Muddy, frustrating Marty (Episode 1)
  • Crisis: Does Marty support Wendy’s attempt to convince Carl and Anita Knarlson to sell the Big Muddy knowing it will get them more entangled with the cartel or does he support it, humiliation them and also potentially endangering their standing in the Cartel’s eyes. (Episode 2)
  • Stakes: if Marty supports Wendy, they get more deeply tied to the cartel when he is trying to get away; if he doesn’t support her then they are no longer a team and more vulnerable
  • Climax: Marty does not support Wendy, tries to undermine her purchase of the new casino by secretly talking Carl into declining.
  • Resolution: Marty uses Frank Sr to start a fire at the Knarlson’s competitor. Carl hits his wife and kills her (egged on by Wendy’s comment to use any force necessary) (Episode 3)

Editor’s Note: How is all this connected to life and death? Navarro is a cartel drug leader, as we’ve seen when he waterboarded his most trusted lawyer, Helen – he is not all there. If the Navarro empire collapses, Marty sees that as a good thing and maybe they can get away from the cartel, but Wendy is inventing ideas to be closer to the cartel, which is dangerous.

MIDDLE BUILD

  • Inciting Incident: Cartel kidnaps Marty and tortures him to see if they can launder without him (end of E3 / E4)
  • Progressive Complications: FBI audit, Ruth attacks Frank Jr, Frank Jr attacks Ruth, Darlene starts building her business again and acquiring allies, Ruth quits, Ben is off his meds and confronts Helen and Erin, Wendy buys the stud farm on Navarro’s instructions
  • Turning Point Progressive Complication: Navarro gelds the stud horse, ruining Bryde’s reputation (E5)
  • Crisis: Does Wendy confront Navarro for interfering with their attempt to create legitimate business which threatens their reputation? Or stay safe and keep quiet? (E5)
  • Stakes: Wendy takes her job seriously and she has a plan for helping Navarro to legitimise his business. His actions have dented her reputation thus putting them at risk of being found out, or shunned locally
  • Climax: Wendy takes Helen’s phone and confronts him (Ep 5)
  • Resolution: Navarro puts Wendy in her place, and reminds her of his power and position (Ep 5)

ENDING PAYOFF

  • Inciting Incident: Helen has Sue killed (E7)
  • Progressive complications: Ben confronts Helen, Helen goes to FBI with signed confession from Marty (fake)
  • Turning Point Progressive Complication: Maya calls Marty as he is getting on the plane for Mexico and tells him about the signed confession (E10)
  • Crisis: Does Marty get on the plane or not?(E10)
  • Stakes: if he doesn’t get on the plane they will probably kill him and Wendy right there, if he gets on the plane he might be able to talk himself out of getting killed
  • Climax: Marty is confident in himself to talk his way out of trouble, he gets on the plane with Wendy and Helen to fly to Mexico (Ep10)
  • Resolution: Cartel kills Helen (Ep 10)

What’s the Genre?

Randall: Thriller, no doubt

Parul: Thriller above all, with a streak of morality

Morality is intertwined in this story in so far that we have a couple who are trying to do the best they can for their family, but in order to keep their family safe, they must sacrifice their morality. In this season, Wendy allows her brother to be killed to save her family.

What are the Obligatory scenes & Conventions of the Global Genre?

Thriller (Global)

  • Inciting Crime indicative of a master villain – Navarro cartel waterboarding Helen: shows how bad the cartel is
  • Speech in praise of the villain – consistently showing the far reach of the cartel and what they are willing to do, they even know that Marty is bugging Wendy’s phone
  • Hero becomes the victim – When Maya calls and tells Marty about the signed confession Helen has
  • Hero at the Mercy of the villain – Marty and Wendy are at Navarro’s mercy in Mexico
  • False ending – Helen is killed

What are the Conventions of the Thriller?

  • MacGuffin – Cartel wants safe, clean money for his family in case he dies
  • Red Herrings – Helen with signed confession, FBI is the biggest danger/ biggest friend (Maya); Ben as a shapeshifter;
  • Making it personal – Endangering the Cartel’s money, the Cartel feel threatens
  • Clock – no time to downgrade the signed confession as they get closer to Mexico; limited time to ingratiate themselves with Navarro after Ben tells Erin what Helen does

Morality (Internal Genre)

The protagonist faces an All Is Lost Moment and either discovers their inner moral code or chooses the immoral path. Whether or not the protagonist ultimately accepts the call depends upon the subgenre, the kind of story you want to tell.

  • In the last Season Marty faces constant all-is-lost moments – does he kill Mason? In this season Wendy faces an all-is-lost moment, does she allow Ben to be killed by Helen

To illustrate the presence of morality in this story, look at the showdown. What’s the showdown for Morality? 

  • The Showdown – protagonist actively sacrifices self in service of an individual, a group, or humanity (positive) or consciously chooses to remain selfish (negative): Wendy sacrifices her brother for the family.
  • The protagonist faces literal or metaphorical death and either loses the battle but gains self-respect, meaning, and peace; or wins the battle but loses those things a great sacrifice. In all internal genres, there is a paradoxical ending: Wendy wins the battle to stay in Navarro’s favour but has lost her chance to find peace.

The complete Editor’s Six Core Questions is available here.

A special focus on: Red herrings & Sub-plots

Red Herrings Definition – distracts the audience with false or misleading clues that bring the spectator to the wrong conclusion. As the reader we are in constant suspense about how Marty is going to die. Who is going to betray him? Will it be Ruth? Will it be Wendy (remember that she dreams of killing him?). Will the FBI take the Byrds down? Will they die in the cross-fire of the Lagunas- Navarro fight?

Red Herrings:

  • Marty is followed by the Lagunas cartel
  • Wendy dreams of Killing Marty
  • Helen asks Ruth if she could run the operation without Marty and Wendy
  • Helen forges a signed confession for Marty to submit to the FBI
  • Darlene talks about taking down the Byrds and turns Wyatt against the Byrds

Subplots:

  • Sue istaking advantage of Wendy and Marty and getting bribes from both.
  • Ben falls for Ruth, and finally puts a smile on her face but he’s determined to see justice and expose all the lies
  • Frank Jr continues to threaten the Byrd family

Editor’s Note: I think this is really what makes a good thriller, the ability to have compelling subplots/ red herrings that also have equally life/ death repercussions, but at the same time reminding the viewer/ reader who the real villain is.  The cartel is involved throughout the season, as Helen is present in just about every episode, but we never forget that they are the most dangerous player at the table in Marty and Wendy’s lives – they kidnap Marty, they seem to know everything that is going on, they manipulate Wendy (with the horse farm purchase).  At the same time, Frank Jr. and the mob are mad at Marty, the other cartel is a danger to Marty (he could get caught in the crossfire), Darlene is becoming more dangerous with every episode, the FBI is hot on Marty’s tail – all of these have life and death endings and they are just as engaging as the main battle between Marty and the cartel.  The story would have been so watered-down if these sub-plots weren’t there and not so deadly if it had just been Marty vs. the Navarro cartel.

Compare this to Killing Eve – we keep losing sight of the threat of the 12 and there aren’t many other threats to keep the characters occupied.

Question: Why do we love this series?

Randall: constantly surprising us, can’t predict what’s going to happen next, so many things going on

Parul: The stakes and proximity to life and death are so high, you can’t rest. I’ve heard some people say that it was too gory, gruesome that they couldn’t watch it so it certainly isn’t for everyone but if you like your thrillers hot, it’s brilliant.

What’s the next Series?
Game of Thrones Season 1

Downloads

Editor’s Six Core Questions for Ozark, Season 3

Foolscap for Ozark, Season 3

Showrunners 031: Ozark S2 Analysis and Foolscap

This week, the Story Grid Showrunners watch the second season of the Netflix TV Series OZARK – a thrilling story about an unassuming finance man who is forced to run to the Ozarks to launder money to save his and his family’s life. To make matters worse, the FBI is on his trail, and his family is falling apart. It’s a brilliant combination of a thriller with an underlying story of morality and a portrayal of a marriage under extreme pressure.

Access the SG Showrunners’ Bonus foolscaps and Editor’s 6 Core questions for Killing Eve, Witcher, You, Umbrella Academy and Ozark here.

What’s the lowdown?

Randall: Great 2nd season, they kept the surprises and tension going
Parul: This show is on fire!

What are the Editor’s Six Core Questions?

It’s a great way to analyse any story and figure out if it works. Here are the questions. We’ll touch on them in this podcast, but the full notes can be downloaded afterwards.

  1. What’s the genre?
  2. What are the conventions and obligatory scenes for that genre?
  3. What’s the Point of View?
  4. What are the objects of desire?
  5. What’s the controlling idea/theme?
  6. What is the Beginning Hook, the Middle Build, and Ending Payoff?
  7. What is the Beginning Hook, Middle Build and Ending Payoff?

What’s the beginning hook, middle build and end payoff?

We start with what appears to be a normal family: Marty is an accountant who appears to watch porn all the time. The kids are pretty normal, Charlotte is a normal teenager with attitude and Jonah seems to be pretty normal too. Then we find out that Marty knows his wife is cheating on him. All of this sets the stage for the viewers, we see the family at home, work and play and we have a good idea what they are all about.

BEGINNING HOOK

  • Inciting Incident: Del is killed/ They must get rid of Del before the Cartel finds out
  • Turning Point Progressive Complication: Helen tasks Marty (on behalf of the Cartel) with securing reparations for Del’s death, as he was the lieutenant.
  • Crisis: Does Marty back down from his request for reparations from the Snells or continue to push the Snells (both actions are dangerous)
  • Climax: Marty doesn’t back down but keeps his emotions in check, and talks about making financial reparations
  • Resolution: Darlene is adamant that they won’t pay. Jacob kills Ash as reparations

MIDDLE BUILD

  • Inciting Incident: Rachel starts working with the FBI (endangering the whole family operation)
  • Turning Point Progressive Complication: Rachel tells Marty she is bugged
  • Crisis: Should Marty cut ties with Rachel or use her to provide false info to the FBI
  • Climax: Marty wants to use Rachel to feed FBI false info
  • Resolution: Rachel ODs on bad heroin and Marty sets the FBI up and gets Rachel to treatment in Miami

END PAYOFF

  • Inciting Incident: Jacob is killed by Darlene who antagonises the Byrds by demanding Zeke in return for the casino land
  • Turning Point Progressive Complication: The Bryd family are falling apart (Wendy is getting reckless, Charlotte asks to emancipate, Jonah is embracing the criminal lifestyle, Marty is feeling remorse (Morality) at Mason’s death
  • Crisis: Does Marty continue to work with the Cartel or choose to walk away?
  • Climax: Marty decides to plan his family’s escape
  • Resolution: Wendy doesn’t want to leave, so they stay and open the casino. Cade is killed (possibly as a warning to Marty?)

What’s the Genre?

Randall: Thrilleragain? Life and death are the stakes in this story. So much life and death.

Parul: It’s a thriller with a heavy dose of Morality and Worldview.

Morality is intertwined in this story in so far that we have a man who is using a moral code that is against the societal norm. He has chosen to take this path to help elevate his family’s security and status. However, he brings people around him down – Mason the preacher, his children. Their moral code also changes.

What are the Obligatory scenes & Conventions of the Global Genre?

Thriller (Global)

  • Inciting Incident of the villain – Cartel is threatening to kill Marty if there is not reparations
  • Speech in praise of the villain – We know what the cartel is capable of because we’ve seen some of it already (torture in the first season and killing Marty’s partner), maybe not necessary?  We do see the cartel gun down Jacob and Darlene.  How is this different than Killing Eve and the 12?  Why is it more impactful?
  • Hero becomes the victim – Marty is getting deeper and deeper, and so is his family. He tries to take care of Ruth, and Rachel, but he’s a victim of a Cartel.
  • Hero at the Mercy of the villain – though there are scenes with the cartel, most of the villain of this episode is the chaos Marty has created in his life because of his choices; he’s at the mercy of the FBI for most of the season until he solves that problem (or Caleb solves it for him) and he’s at the mercy of Mason too. 
  • False ending – yes, they end up not leaving on Marty’s pre-planned escape.

Morality (Internal Genre)

The protagonist faces an All Is Lost Moment and either discovers their inner moral code or chooses the immoral path. Whether or not the protagonist ultimately accepts the call depends upon the subgenre, the kind of story you want to tell.

Marty faces constant all-is-lost moments – does he kill Mason? 

He realizes that his children are being brought down, can he change their path? He tries to leave but fails. 

To illustrate the presence of morality in this story, look at the showdown. What’s the showdown for Morality? 

  • The Showdown – protagonist actively sacrifices self in service of an individual, a group, or humanity (positive) or consciously chooses to remain selfish (negative) 

Marty tries to actively sacrifice for the family, by taking them away but he’s thwarted by Helen and Wendy

  • The protagonist faces literal or metaphorical death and either loses the battle but gains self-respect, meaning, and peace; or wins the battle but loses those things a great sacrifice. In all internal genres, there is a paradoxical ending. 

Marty loses the battle, does he gain self-respect? Yes, from the viewers at least.

The complete Editor’s Six Core Questions is available here.

Focus on: Revealing the Backstory – a comparison between Killing Eve Season 3 and Ozark Season 1 and 2

Each has an episode which is totally dedicated to the protagonists’ back story and told as a flashback, the whole episode is in the past.  Why does one work and the other doesn’t?

Killing Eve – there was no lead up to it, and there was nothing compelling or surprising.

Ozark – The writers hinted and led the viewers to the flashback, suggesting some tragedy had happened that made them drift apart, made Wendy have an affair, that made them the family we find at the beginning of the series.  It filled a hole, answered questions we had, and drove the story forward.

We also have the flashback in this episode of Jacob and Darlene, perfectly positioned when we see they are not of the same mind and we see how they met and how Darlene has always been headstrong, which is why Jacob loves her, which is why he loves her even when she poison’s Jacob.

Question: What were your favourite scenes?

Randall: The love between Jacob and Darlene – more back story; and the ground up cherry pits.

Parul: I like the scene where we see Ruth Langamore grow – she’s so tough but she cares so much about Wyatt, and argues with him to attend college. 

What’s the next Series?
We can’t stop watching Ozark – so in our next episode, we’ll be dissecting Season 3!

Downloads

Editor’s Six Core Questions for Ozark, Season 2

Download the Foolscap for Ozark Season 2

More Story Analysis

If you want to see more applications of the Story Grid methodology, below are links to my analysis of various novels and television shows in blog posts and podcasts:

Story Grid Showrunners Podcast – Parul, Melanie, and I analyze hit TV series using the Story Grid methodology.

My blog posts analyzing other Television series – my person take using the Story grid 5 Commandments to look at my favorite TV series – Jack Ryan, Batgirl, For All Mankind, Hanna, and more.

Novel analysis – I analyze some of my favorite books using the Story Grid 5 Commandments and 6 core questions – First Blood, Old Man’s War, Waylander, and more to come!

If you like my Posts – Buy me a coffee.
Thanks!

The Story Grid

Story Grid Book

If you want to learn more about writing a story using the Story Grid methodology, go to the Story Grid Webpage to find free videos and articles on how to implement the methodology.

These articles contain information about the 5 Commandments of Storytelling and the Editor’s 6 Core Questions from the book The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne. They also give details on obligatory scenes and conventions for specific genres, such as the thriller, love story, war story, crime story, and more.

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

Editing Services

If you are interested in hiring me to edit your manuscript or if you need help writing a novel, check out my editing services. Also, see my Testimonials page for comments from previous clients.

Thanks!

Manuscript Editing Services
Manuscript Editing Services

Showrunners 030: Ozark S1 Foolscap and Analysis

This week, the Story Grid Showrunners fell in love with the Netflix TV Series OZARK – a thrilling story about an unassuming man who is forced to run to the Ozarks to launder money to save his and his family’s life. He has to take his reluctant teenagers and a failing marriage. It’s a brilliant combination of a thriller with a marriage love story, underpinned with shades of an internal morality genre

Access the SG Showrunners’ Bonus foolscaps and Editor’s 6 Core questions for Killing Eve, Witcher, You, Umbrella Academy and Ozark here.

What’s the lowdown?

Randall: Pretty good, some nice surprises, overall the story worked.
Parul: High stakes, constantly moving. The story worked as a thriller.

What are the Editor’s Six Core Questions?

It’s a great way to analyse any story and figure out if it works. Here are the questions. We’ll touch on them in this podcast, but the full notes can be downloaded afterwards.

  1. What’s the genre?
  2. What are the conventions and obligatory scenes for that genre?
  3. What’s the Point of View?
  4. What are the objects of desire?
  5. What’s the controlling idea/theme?
  6. What is the Beginning Hook, the Middle Build, and Ending Payoff?
  7. What is the Beginning Hook, Middle Build and Ending Payoff?

What’s the beginning hook, middle build and end payoff?

We start with what appears to be a normal family: Marty is an accountant who appears to watch porn all the time. The kids are pretty normal, Charlotte is a normal teenager with attitude and Jonah seems to be pretty normal too. Then we find out that Marty knows his wife is cheating on him. All of this sets the stage for the viewers, we see the family at home, work and play and we have a good idea what they are all about.

BEGINNING HOOK

  • Inciting Incident: Marty’s partner has been skimming money from a Mexican Drug Cartel, Marty’s partner is killed in front of him. Marty is about to be killed
  • Turning Point Progressive Complication: Marty decides/ is forced to flee to the Ozarks with his family to wash $8 million dollars
  • Crisis: When the FBI approach him, does he trust them to look after his family or continue to work for Del?
  • Climax: He feigns ignorance and continues to search for way to launder Del’s money
  • Resolution: Marty realises that his job will be harder than he realised. He contemplates suicide but backs out and finds the Blue Cat Inn might be a great investment opportunity.

MIDDLE BUILD

  • Inciting Incident: Ruth Langamore steals Marty’s money putting him in danger.
  • Turning Point Progressive Complication: The Snells threaten to kill the Preacher’s baby when the Church continues to be built
  • Crisis: Should Marty give the Snells his money and save the Preacher’s family?
  • Climax: He bribes the Snells with money earmarked for the Cartel
  • Resolution: He saves himself but is now short of money and runs a scam to take Sam, the Realtor’s money.

END PAYOFF

  • Inciting Incident: Marty decides it’s not safe for his family to stay and send them away
  • Turning Point Progressive Complication: Garcia tries to stop them and Buddy kills him
  • Crisis: Will he confess to Garcia’s murder under torture?
  • Climax: He doesn’t confess, he explains a way for Del to work with Snell
  • Resolution: Marty persuades Del and Snell but Darlene kills Del in rage. Wendy & the children stay back

What’s the Genre?

Randall: Thriller is the Global Genre right? Life and death are the stakes in this story.

Parul: However, you can’t miss that Love as a genre is laced in here.

The Love subgenre is a Marriage/ intimacy story where a committed relationship is now at a crossroads. Something external provokes trust issues and challenges the lovers to recognize, accept, and love the authentic other person rather than the illusion the other displayed during the courtship phase. There is a paradoxical (win-but-lose, lose-but-win) ending. The Marriage Love story may be either prescriptive or cautionary.

Marty and Wendy Bryde are at a crossroads, but you’ll see that the thriller dominant genre add a special twist. Marty has been so wrapped up in his money laundering scheme that Wendy turned to someone else for comfort. After the inciting incident Marty has to take his family to the Ozarks – Wendy wants to leave him but is forced to stay with him on threat of death from Del. As the Season progresses, they make up, they have sex, but towards the end we see real intimacy between them. In the final scene, they are reunited and the love is real – they have remembered each other.

Morality is intertwined in this story in so far that we have a man who is using a moral code that is against the societal norm. He has chosen to take this path to help elevate his family’s security and status. However, he brings people around him down – Mason the preacher, his children. Their moral code also changes.

What are the Obligatory scenes & Conventions of the Global Genre?

Thriller (Global)
Inciting Incident of the villain – kills everyone and threatens Marty and his family
Speech in praise of the villain – FBI and Marty to his wife
Hero becomes the villain – Marty and his family are targeted from the beginning
Hero at the Mercy of the villain – yes, multiple times
False ending – yes


Morality (Internal Genre)
To illustrate the presence of morality in this story, look at the showdown. What’s the showdown for Morality?
The Showdown – protagonist actively sacrifices self in service of an individual, a group, or humanity (positive) or consciously chooses to remain selfish (negative) – We have Marty Bryd who is calmly negotiating with the biggest drug dealer and money launderer to create a situation for them to allow his family to live. He has told his family to create a life without him.

The protagonist faces literal or metaphorical death and either loses the battle but gains self-respect, meaning, and peace; or wins the battle but loses those things a great sacrifice. In all internal genres, there is a paradoxical ending. He doesn’t win the battle – Del is murdered, and he’s now dealing with the fickle and racist Snells – but he has his family back, they love him and come back to him.

What are the Conventions of the Global Genre
MacGuffin – Cartel wants its money washed
Red Herrings – we see multiple possible solutions fail for Marty (restaurant, church, strip club, inheritance investment)
Making it personal – the cartel sees the disappearance of its men as personal
Clock – Marty continues to get calls about his deadline to clean the money

The complete Editor’s Six Core Questions is available here.


Did the Series match the Trailer?
Yes!

Question: What were your favourite scenes?

Randall: The end – surprising and inevitable
Parul: Marty pouring over a map looking geeky while talking to the biggest most dangerous drug kings.

What’s the next Series?
Ozark 2

Downloads

Editor’s Six Core Questions for Ozark, Season 1

Foolscap for Ozark, Season 1

Showrunners 029: Ozark S1 Intro

Money.

That which separates the haves from the have-nots.

Patience, fidelity, sacrifice.

Deciding between to invest in your family’s future and taking responsibility for the consequences of those actions.”

Money is at its essence that measure of a man’s choices.

OZARK – Expectations

Randall Expectations: I’m excited to watch this series, it’s got a lot of good hype.  I also really enjoyed Breaking Bad, with which I see some similarities.

Parul Expectations: In terms of Genre? Action or Thriller with morality. Status? Maybe? It’s unclear why he’s making the choice, but we know he’s chosen to be a drug dealer and now will pay the price. As a viewer – this looks like it’s an edge-of-my-seat type of show. I’m excited but not looking forward to seeing the body count – I’m squeamish.

Mel Expectations: An exciting story about a family man struggling to do what’s right for his family and what’s morally right, while their life gets threatened more and more, and his marriage is tested.

Trailer break down/ expectations

Mel: This trailer starts right by stating the object of desire – not only for the protagonist, the family man and husband Marty, but also for the antagonist that is later introduced as a Mexican drug cartel. And the beauty is they only need to say one word and we immediately get lots of pictures in our head about that one subject and it the good and bad it can do. It all comes down to money.

The protagonist defines money not only as a way to differentiate himself by saying:

That which separates the haves from the have-nots.

But he also adds even more value to money as he states at the end of the trailer:

Money is at its essence the measure of a man’s choices.

Choices. 

And the hardest, probably the biggest choice of this first season is in the beginning hook because it influences the rest of the story. And the trailer tells us what choice the protagonist will be facing: Deciding between to invest in his family’s future and taking responsibility for the consequences of those actions.

And by all the images we see and the short dialogue we’ll get, we know what choice this guy made. 

He is laundering money for a Mexican drug cartel.

The FBI is watching him, and his family’s life is threatened. Even his marriage trust starts to suffer as he accuses his wife about another betrayal.

All those little moments that show us the choices he made, they make us want to find out how it all turns out for this guy. 

Is this going to be a Morality – Punishment story combined with an exciting thriller?

I guess so. The thriller takes it all the way to damnation, and by those choices this guy is making and money is at its core, of course, he’ll be struggling with what’s morally right and what’s not and the consequences of his actions.

It’s the best foundation for making him redeem himself in future episodes. 

But that’s just my take from the trailer. 

I haven’t watched the show yet, but I’m definitely hooked.

Parul: Notice that his worldview seems fixed. This doesn’t seem to be a man questioning his choices, he may be ruing the consequences. But he’s a pretty tough man – wants to do whatever it takes. Notice when the FBI says to him ‘ The lying, the running, aren’t you tired?’ Their answer is to deny it all, meaning, no I’m not yet tired, this is an anti-hero that we are likely to support despite his habits and life-choices. 

Randall: A thriller is part Crime, Part Horror, and part Action – and from the trailer, I think we get all of that as a viewer.  Crime turns on the global values of life and death.  Just from the trailer, we see a half dozen deaths and a number of threats to the family.  The fact the FBI is investigating the family solidifies the crime piece.  The horror lies in the beyond damnation of the protagonist involving his family, his children – this could be his fate worse than death.

It seems to have all the ingredients of a good thriller, but whether they will be able to deliver remains to be seen.  

Question: What makes a Great Thriller

Parul: Compelling hero or anti-hero 

Randall: Great Inciting Incident, Great Villain, Great Hero at the Mercy of the Villain

Mel: Great internal and external genre combo

Next Episode: Ozark Analysis and Foolscap

More Story Analysis

If you want to see more applications of the Story Grid methodology, below are links to my analysis of various novels and television shows in blog posts and podcasts:

Story Grid Showrunners Podcast – Parul, Melanie, and I analyze hit TV series using the Story Grid methodology.

My blog posts analyzing other Television series – my person take using the Story grid 5 Commandments to look at my favorite TV series – Jack Ryan, Batgirl, For All Mankind, Hanna, and more.

Novel analysis – I analyze some of my favorite books using the Story Grid 5 Commandments and 6 core questions – First Blood, Old Man’s War, Waylander, and more to come!

If you like my Posts – Buy me a coffee.
Thanks!

The Story Grid

Story Grid Book

If you want to learn more about writing a story using the Story Grid methodology, go to the Story Grid Webpage to find free videos and articles on how to implement the methodology.

These articles contain information about the 5 Commandments of Storytelling and the Editor’s 6 Core Questions from the book The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne. They also give details on obligatory scenes and conventions for specific genres, such as the thriller, love story, war story, crime story, and more.

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

Editing Services

If you are interested in hiring me to edit your manuscript or if you need help writing a novel, check out my editing services. Also, see my Testimonials page for comments from previous clients.

Thanks!

Manuscript Editing Services
Manuscript Editing Services

Showrunners 028: Killing Eve Season 3 Foolscap

Reminder: Please watch the TV-Series Killing Eve Season 3 before you listen to the following episode. We not only give away spoilers, but we talk about the global story, and it’s just more valuable for you if you know what we are talking about because we reference a lot.

The following is an extract of our episode. For further information, please listen to the show.

Download

Spotlight on Villanelle: Three Seasons have passed and we still talk about Villanelle. What is it about her?

Let’s revisit her character across the series.

Mel: Villanelle demonstrates cold brutality even though she looks stunning and absolutely beautiful which deceives everyone around her. Her beauty and innocent appearance are like the trap that lures her victims into her reach so that she can kill them.

Villanelle doesn’t follow a moral code and only does what excites her. If she has to do something, she doesn’t want to, she falls back into lashing out like a child. Not being able to see the consequences of her actions. She’s impulsive, while her ego requires her to feel invincible. And still, there’s something about curly-haired women in their early 40’s, that throws her completely out of balance. And she can’t deal with her emotions..

As we have gotten to know and love her, she is a twisted personality. She can show every personality trait that we can sympathise with. From funny, to warm, vulnerable, but also strong and frightening. And whenever you look at her, you can’T tell what’s on her mind. Is she gonna kiss you or kill you? That makes the show very exciting.

As said in the last episode of season 3, she can make people change to their worst. She is the reason why Eve unlocked her inner monster and changed from that self-doubt person who carried so much guilt and said sorry for everything to becoming a person who slowly loses her moral path. 

The beauty of the show is, as it seems, that maybe one day Eve and Villanelle will be at the same level. Eve seems to become darker and lose her sense of justice and morality, while Villanelle walks on the path of redemption – which was only possible through Eve. And maybe, one day, Villanelle will have changed so much for the better, that she can lead Eve back on the path of redemption. That would be a great twist and sign of character development.

Parul: If we take our toolkit out and start to analyze this character and use categories – how might we break up Villanelle’s character? 

Randall: You and I have talked about this on a couple of different other mediums, the anti-villain and the antihero. And I think we both agree that Villanova falls into the antihero a bucket, basically because she’s not your traditional black and white anti-villain. She’s not completely evil because she is the person who’s falling her Eve. She has multiple opportunities to kill her, Carolyn. She’s not killing all these people that are hunting her. Uh, and she’s actually and others that are hunting her.  She wants to get out as Mel said, she wants redemption. 

Parul: We witness her vulnerability – her abnormal upbringing. And the beauty that Melanie talked about is actually something that you can’t help, but be drawn to if she was, you know, not so pretty if she didn’t look so angelic and wasn’t so charming, would she still be an anti-villain? 

We also see how Villanelle’s love story gives her a chance for redemption.

Melanie: At the beginning of season three, she had to live with the fact that Eve might be dead. She didn’t know if Eve had survived. At the end of season two, Villanelle shot Eve because she was not ready to let Eve walk away, but in season three, Villanelle turned around, told Eve to turn around as well and let her walk away. That’s proof of love. 

Parul: I love the integration of love and thriller, you know we have been quite critical of season three, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s still a memorable series that people will be talking about for years to come. Villanelle is a character that we will be referencing for a long while. 


A look at the inciting incidents across all three Seasons. How do they compare?

Inciting Incidents:

  • Season 1: There is a killer on the loose and they need to solve the crimes
  • Season 2: Eve starts investigation into the Ghost
  • Season 3: Kenny dies

Summary of our thoughts on the inciting incidents across the three seasons

If it’s a thriller, they all start in debt. So that’s a good start for any thriller. 

Season 1 II: There is a killer on the loose and they need to solve the crimes

  • Does this turn on life and death – hell yeah it does; it begins with this guy having his femoral artery slashed.
  • The Inciting Incident sets the theme, tone, and mood for the series – people will die, can the protagonist stop her? It’s exactly where you want to be as an author or a screenwriter – you want to tell you your audience this is what this series is about.
  • We see the power difference between the two.  Eve is very, very unprofessional. She’s taking croissants to the briefing and making noise, she’s clumsy (she bumps the table, and she’s late to the meeting.  And then we have Villanelle, who isn’t making any mistakes.
  • We were the most invested in the inciting incident for Season 1 which also included the typical investigation story throughout the season. In Season 1, we have the big showdown in the end. This big promise was kept

Season 2 II: Eve started a less exciting investigation against a new serial killer The Ghost.

  • In season two, the Ghost assassin was interesting but it was wrapped up pretty quickly. It didn’t have that same tension of trying to find out who the assassin was. 

Season 3 II: Kenny dies.

  • Kenny’s death was a good inciting incident and could have potentially led us to an investigation of the Twelve. Instead, it ended up going totally off track as we have talked about in previous podcast episodes.
  • In season one, we are introduced to the 12th, the master villains but by season three they had virtually disappeared. 


A look at the crisis across all three Seasons. How do they compare?

Season 1: Should Eve, now sacked, go to Paris, confront Villanelle and risk her life? Or does she return to London

Season 2: Should Eve save Villanelle from Raymond by killing?

Season 3: (Multiple characters have crisis questions – whose should we follow?)

  • Eve:  Should she stop Carolyn from shooting Konstantin and be a hero? Or stay quiet and keep out of danger?
  • Villanelle: Does she escape with Konstantin as per the original plan?  Konstantin is not family anymore
  • Konstantin (Crisis: Does he go and risk his life or run away and risk Paul’s wrath?)
  • Carolyne: Should she believe Konstantin and spare him or kill Paul and risk the consequences? (he might be part of the 12)

Summary of thoughts on the crisis points

  • Compare crisis for Season 1 versus Season 2 and then Season 3. By Season 3, Eve’s crisis point has been reduced to should I get up and stop Carolyn from killing? Eve is supposed to be the lead character. 
  • In season three, the crisis point has a higher emphasis on Constantine. Does he go and risk his life? So does he go to the airport to escape the Twelve or to the house where Paul is? Really though it’s Carolyn’s crisis: should she believe Constantine or not. She decides to believe him and then kills Paul.


What’s next?

Join us when we talk about the series OZARK.


Find all our other episodes here:

https://storygrid.com/category/showrunners-podcast/

If you like my Posts – Buy me a coffee.
Thanks!

The Story Grid

Story Grid Book

If you want to learn more about writing a story using the Story Grid methodology, go to the Story Grid Webpage to find free videos and articles on how to implement the methodology.

These articles contain information about the 5 Commandments of Storytelling and the Editor’s 6 Core Questions from the book The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne. They also give details on obligatory scenes and conventions for specific genres, such as the thriller, love story, war story, crime story, and more.

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

Editing Services

If you are interested in hiring me to edit your manuscript or if you need help writing a novel, check out my editing services. Also, see my Testimonials page for comments from previous clients.

Thanks!

Manuscript Editing Services
Manuscript Editing Services

How I can help you improve your Story

I just completed an editing session last weekend with a new client. Her name is Briauna and she started a podcast called Teaching Myself to Write Novels. She decided to put some of our recorded session on her podcast, so if you are interested to see how I work with authors, here is a recorded live session.

Briauna does about a 5 minute introduction and then the recording of our session starts. We spoke for a little over two hours, but she edited it down to about 30 minutes. We cover the first part of the book pretty thoroughly, but the middle and ending of the book are mostly cut out (probably because she didn’t want to ruin the ending for her potential readers).

Here is the Google Podcast Link:

The purpose of this session was to help iron out the 15 core scenes of her book which is Story Grid lingo are the 5 commandments of the three acts, what we call the spine of the story:

Act 1 – Beginning Hook

  • Inciting Incident
  • Turning Point
  • Crisis Question
  • Climax
  • Resolution

Act 2 – Middle Build

  • Inciting Incident
  • Turning Point
  • Crisis Question
  • Climax
  • Resolution

Act 3 – Ending Payoff

  • Inciting Incident
  • Turning Point
  • Crisis Question
  • Climax
  • Resolution

Let me know if you have any questions about my method!

If you like my Posts – Buy me a coffee.
Thanks!

The Story Grid

Story Grid Book

If you want to learn more about writing a story using the Story Grid methodology, go to the Story Grid Webpage to find free videos and articles on how to implement the methodology.

These articles contain information about the 5 Commandments of Storytelling and the Editor’s 6 Core Questions from the book The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne. They also give details on obligatory scenes and conventions for specific genres, such as the thriller, love story, war story, crime story, and more.

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

Editing Services

If you are interested in hiring me to edit your manuscript or if you need help writing a novel, check out my editing services. Also, see my Testimonials page for comments from previous clients.

Thanks!

Manuscript Editing Services
Manuscript Editing Services

Showrunners 27: Killing Eve S3 Ep 8

In two weeks (June 19, 2002), we’ll have a summary episode where we talk about the six core questions and release our foolscap.

Reminder: Please watch the TV-Series Killing Eve Season 3 Episode 8 before you listen to the following episode. We not only give away spoilers, but we talk about the global story, and it’s just more valuable for you if you know what we are talking about because we reference a lot.


Initial Observations

Mel – Seems like the biggest crisis, and the highest stakes were neither for Villanelle nor Eve, but for Konstantin in this final episode, while Eve and Villanelle were only bystanders. If I wouldn’t love the character of Konstantin that much, the episode would have been lots more disappointing.

Parul – 50% thriller, 30% love, 20% morality 

Randy – Finally.

Read More

What is an Anti-Hero?

Join Parul and I on a Reedsy YouTube Webinar as we discuss the Anti-Hero? What is one? How do You create one? Why do we love them?

Read More