Jack Ryan Episode 7 – Story Analysis

This post analyzes the Amazon Prime television series Jack Ryan using the 5 Commandments of Storytelling and the Editor’s 6 Core Questions from the book The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne.

SPOILER ALERT!!!

This post will spoil everything about episode 7 from the Jack Ryan television series, so make sure you watch it before reading on.

The 5 Commandments for Episode 7

The first scene/ sequence begins with US intelligence forces analyzing the Suleiman’s location based on Hanin’s information.

Inciting Incident

The inciting incident for this episode when Dr. Kathy Mueller (Ryan’s girlfriend) briefs the military and CIA that the ebola infected body that Suleiman stole with his brother 6 months earlier could be weaponized. At this point, Ryan and the CIA think they know what the next terrorist event is, just not where or when.

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Writing Soldiers – Rifles used by the U.S. Army

This post will be the first in a series. The U.S. Army uses lots of different weapons for different reasons. This first entry will discuss the basic rifle that everyone uses.

M4 assault rifle

The M4 Assault Rifle is the standard weapon currently used by the Army.

It is a shorter and lighter variant of the M16A2 assault rifle, which the Army still has in its inventory, though all combat troops are issued the M4. The M4 is a 5.56×45mm NATO, air-cooled, direct impingement, gas-operated, magazine-fed carbine. It has a 14.5 in (370 mm) barrel and a telescoping stock.

Vital Statistics:

  • Cyclic Rate of Fire: 750 – 900 rounds per minute
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,970 ft/second (910 m/second)
  • Effective Firing Range: 500 meters (550 feet)
  • Feed System: 30 round magazine (20 and 100 round magazines available too, but normal Army magazines are 30)
US ARMY M-16 rifle magazine with cartridges
ID 112424863 © Zim235 | Dreamstime.com

There are a number of scopes available to attach to the M4 via its Picatinny Rail system which will make it more accurate at farther distances, but they are not standard issue. The normal sites are called iron sites which consist of a front site post that can be moved up and down, and a rear site aperture that can be adjusted right and left.

There are a number of accessories available for the M4 Picatinny Rail system to include scopes and bipods shown here.

There are a number of Accessories that are used by the military (though not in all units) to include: not vision scopes, telescopic scopes, laser pointers, bipods, larger and smaller magazines, grenade launchers, shotguns, and front front hand grips among others. The top of the rifle has a Picatinny Rail that is used to change out scopes and sites.

See this article for a full description of the Picatinny Rail system.

See the following YouTube video for details about the Picatinny Rail system.

The following image shows the progression of rifles in the US Army, from top to bottom, the M16A1, M16A2, M4, M16A4 (primary weapon for the US Marines).

M16s

The M16A1 was used at the end of the Vietnam war. Studies showed that US servicemen wasted ammunition by spraying bullets on automatic mode. After Vietnam, the Army adopted the M16A2 which did not offer an automatic mode, and instead used a 3 round burst. One of the biggest visual differences between the two rifles is the shape of the front hand guard: the M16A1 has triangular hand guards, and the M16A2 has round hand guards.

In the mid 1990s, the Army began to adopt the M4 rifle. They chose the M4 over the M16A4 because of the collapsible butt stock, which they believed helped soldiers in close quarter combat and also made the rifle lighter. The US Marines have adopted the M16A4 rifle.

There are still number of M16A2 rifles in the Army inventories, and many National Guard and Reserve Units still have them instead of the M4 rifles. Only a few regular Army units still use the M16A2 rifle, most have adopted the M4 Rifle.

If you have any questions or comments about Army rifles please submit below. Next week time we’ll discuss the other standard issue weapons for infantry unit such as machine guns, grenade launchers, and pistols.

Jack Ryan Episode 6 – Story Analysis

This post analyzes the Amazon Prime television series Jack Ryan using the 5 Commandments of Storytelling and the Editor’s 6 Core Questions from the book The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne.

SPOILER ALERT!!!

This post will spoil everything about episode 6 from the Jack Ryan television series, so make sure you watch it before reading on.

The 5 Commandments for Episode 6

The episode begins 6 months in the past with Suleiman and his brother stealing an ebola infected body from a World Health Organization cemetery in Africa. Really, this could be the inciting incident for the Middle Build. I’ll break this down fully at the end of the series.

Inciting Incident

The inciting incident for this episode is Suleiman’s wife, Hanin, and her daughters trying to escape in a truck to the coast in order to get passage to Europe. The reason this is the inciting incident is that it is imperative for Ryan to get Hanin in order to stop the next terrorist attack. There is a couple countdowns at work here to: the window of time to get Hanin (before she is killed by Suleiman’s men or escapes to Europe never to be seen again) and the countdown to find information on the next terrorist attack before it occurs.

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Scrivener meets Story Grid – the Editor’s 6 Core Questions and the Hero’s Journey

This post explains how to combine the software of Scrivener with elements of the methodology explained in the book The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne.

Warning: these tips and techniques work best with Mac computer loaded with Scrivener 3.0 or higher; most of this can be done on a windows machine, but there are some advanced functions that are not currently available on the windows version

The past episodes of the Scrivener meets Story Grid posts have included methods to build the Story Grid Spreadsheet using the Metadata function. If you have not read those posts, here are links:

The Editor’s 6 Core Questions

Shawn Coyne describes the Editor’s 6 Core Questions as an indispensable tool to determine if a story is working. When I’m writing or editing a book, I like to map these out as I read through a draft of a manuscript, and this is how I do that.

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Jack Ryan Episode 5 – Story Analysis

This post analyzes the Amazon Prime television series Jack Ryan using the 5 Commandments of Storytelling and the Editor’s 6 Core Questions from the book The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne.

SPOILER ALERT!!!

This post will spoil everything about episode 5 from the Jack Ryan television series, so make sure you watch it before reading on.

The 5 Commandments for Episode 5

The first scene/ sequence begins with a chemical/biological team in protective suits opening the church door and discovering all the dead bodies and the device used to kill them.

Inciting Incident

The inciting incident for this episode is the Suleiman’s threat that ‘Paris is only the beginning’. This is definitely a threat of more terrorist attacks on the West.

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David Morrell’s First Blood (Rambo Book 1) – Analysis and Editor’s 6 Core Questions

I think it would be hard to argue that David Morrell’s book First Blood (Rambo’s first coming out) is not an action book. It definitely is. What might be surprising, to those that haven’t read the book, is how violent it is. In the movie, I believe there is only one death, the man that falls from the helicopter, and the rest are just injured or incapacitated. The novel, on the other hand, is a blood bath. And in the end, though I doubted myself at first (because who wants to go against Rambo), Rambo is the bad guy, the antagonist. He’s the guy going around killing police officers, civilians, and National Guardsmen. And despite what an asshole Sheriff Teasle is for setting Rambo off, in the end he is just trying to end the bloodbath.

The Editor’s 6 Core Questions

This post analyzes David Morrell’s novel First Blood using the Editor’s 6 Core Questions from the book The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne.

  • Genre
  • Obligatory Scenes and Conventions
  • Point of View
  • Object of Desire
  • Controlling Idea/ Theme
  • Beginning Hook, Middle Build, Ending Payoff
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Story Analysis – Jack Ryan Episode 4

This post analyzes the Amazon Prime television series Jack Ryan using the 5 Commandments of Storytelling and the Editor’s 6 Core Questions from the book The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne.

SPOILER ALERT!!!

This post will spoil everything about episode 5 from the Jack Ryan television series, so make sure you watch it before reading on.


There are two storylines happening in this episode, one for the Protagonist and one for the Antagonist.

The 5 Commandments of the Jack Ryan’s storyline

Inciting Incident

The start of this episode begins with Suleiman’s brother, on the run and wounded, being stopped by a French policeman while fleeing through the Alps. Though seeing the blood, mysteriously the policeman allows him to go on his way. Once again, a good inciting incident for an action genre story, the terrorist is wounded (dying), he may decide to kill the policeman rather than be killed (he has his pistol ready). This inciting incident is further connected by the next scene where Jack Ryan and the French woman detective following Suleiman’s brother in order to discover the other terrorists and find out where a larger attack may take place.

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Writing Soldiers – A Day in the Life of an Infantry Soldier

This is a difficult post to write, especially the first in this series, because the real answer is – it depends.

Soldiers are constantly in different phases: recovery, preparation, combat – among others. So, their daily routine will change depending on which phase and what location they are in.

Soldiers also have different job. There are over 100 different jobs in the Army, and each one has its own rhythm and structure.

Let’s start this blog series on Writing Soldiers with the daily routine of Combat Soldiers at their home base. There is some controversy about what makes up a Combat Soldier, because many non-combat Soldiers experience combat situations and the lines are kind of blurry. However, the truth is that there are some jobs that are intended to be in combat situations and some that are not, and some that cross the line between the two. The Army divides MOS (professions in the Army) into combat and support, and the daily life of each is significantly different.

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Story Analysis – Jack Ryan Episode 3

This post analyzes the Amazon Prime television series Jack Ryan using the 5 Commandments of Storytelling and the Editor’s 6 Core Questions from the book The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne.

SPOILER ALERT!!!

This post will spoil everything about episode 5 from the Jack Ryan television series, so make sure you watch it before reading on.


The 5 Commandments of Episode 3

The action of this episode is split between Jack Ryan, Suleiman’s brother, Suleiman, Suleiman’s wife, and the drone pilot (who actually gets a lot of screen time).

The 5 commandments of this episode focus on finding Suleiman’s brother in order to stop a future big terrorist attack. All of them focus on the life/death of being able to stop this event and save innocent lives.

Inciting Incident

The first scene/ sequence is aftermath of the explosion due to the suicide bomber. A good life/death scene for an action genre. However, I think the actual inciting incident is in the second scene, when the drone pilot destroys a suspected terrorist on his motorcycle. This scene sets up the drone pilot to do something later in the episode and is not directly connected with the action the protagonist goes through in this episode.

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Scrivener Meets Story Grid – Creating the Story Grid Spreadsheet

This is the meat and potatoes of the Story Grid, the Spreadsheet, where everything is laid out before your eyes and you can start doing some internal analysis. Let’s get started!

Warning: these tips and techniques work best with Mac computer loaded with Scrivener 3.0 or higher; most of this can be done on a windows machine, but there are some advanced functions that are not currently available on the windows version

Over the last month, I’ve discussed how to inset all of the columns of the Story Grid Spreadsheet into Scrivener with the end result of being able to export all of this information into an excel spreadsheet. If you have not read those posts, you should probably begin there. Here are the last two posts on this process:

What is the Story Grid Spreadsheet

Shawn Coyne describes his Story Grid Spreadsheet as “invaluable in pinpointing places where you went off course, missed a crucial scene or beat and/or made minor continuity mistakes”.

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