Jack Ryan Intro

For the next couple months, I’ll analyze the Jack Ryan television series from Amazon Prime.

Here we have the 6 Core Questions every editor asks when he/she reviews a manuscript, they are the core of any great novel, the key parts that make or break the story.

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Gentleman Jack Ep8

As a love story, this series works very well within the parameters of Shawn Coyne’s Story Grid Processes. Here, we’ll discuss the 5 commandments of the last episode and then answer the question “Does the story work?”

5 Commandments of HBO’s ‘Gentleman Jack’: Episode 8

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.

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Gentleman Jack Ep7

As we approach the end of the first season of this series, we can see that the conventions and obligatory scenes are playing out and that many of my predictions from the first episode have happened. Let’s continue with an evaluation of the 5 commandments for this episode.

5 Commandments of HBO’s ‘Gentleman Jack’: Episode 7

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.

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Gentleman Jack Ep6

We’re going to sum up the story so far here. We should be approaching the end of the Middle Build, so let’s see how well the story follows the story grid and if it’s working.

The Love Story So Far

As I mentioned in the introduction a couple weeks back, Shawn Coyne says a Love story “gives us prescriptive and cautionary tales to navigate love’s emotional minefield.”  Rachelle Ramirez outlines the elements of a Love Story in her article “Secrets of the Love Genre”.

Shawn mentions that most stories follow a 25% beginning hook, 50% middle build, 25% final payoff structure. Since this series will only be 8 episodes, Episode 6 marks should mark about the end of the Middle Build, and I wanted to review which conventions and obligatory scenes have already been covered.

The Global Value of a Love story is love to hate, attraction to indifference.

It’s difficult to see what kind of precautionary love story this will be yet, positive or negative, so it is difficult to see what exactly the controlling idea will be (love wins when…, or love fails when…)

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5 Commandments – Win

Let’s start with the 5 commandments, the core of every Story Grid scene. On the windows version of Scrivener, you could put them in a couple places.

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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

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Gentleman Jack Ep4

The 5 Commandments of Gentleman Jack: Episode 4

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:

There is a conversation about gay men that were hanged a few weeks ago and how many people know about Lister and Walker’s relationship.

Progressive Complications:

Walker confides with Lister that Mr. Ainsworth forced himself on her when he was still married to his wife and is pressuring her to marry him

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Old Man’s War – SciFi Action

Once a month, I analyze a novel I’m reading using the 6 Core Questions discussed in the book The Story Gird by Shawn Coyne.  These Questions can help an author write a better story by focusing the writer on the controlling idea of his/ her novel and also being aware of the conventions and obligatory scenes for the selected genre.  See these Story Grid articles about the core questions:

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Gentleman Jack Ep3

My analysis of television series’ episodes use Story Grid’s 5 Commandments of a Scene. I hope that this analysis will help writers make better scenes for themselves. Additionally, I will cover the 6 Questions Every Editor Asks, also from the Shawn Coyne’s book The Story Grid.

The 5 Commandments of Gentleman Jack: Episode

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:

Anne Lister’s visits Ann Walker at the Lake while Walker is with her cousin.

Progressive Complications:

Walker’s relative catches them in the act of making out

Crisis:

Will Walker be ashamed or embrace her feelings for Lister

Climax:

Walker embraces her feelings for Lister

Resolution:

They continue to make out

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 www.storygrid.com:

Love Story Value Shift:

+/++ attracted to physical
The two women make out and have sex

Society Value Shift:

+/++ more and more successful

More successful dealings with coal.

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

Obligatory Scenes and Conventions for a Love Story

  • First Intimate Connection – The woman make out and have sex off screen; first kiss; walker asks lister to spend the night
  • Confessions of Love – Walker tells Listers that she loves her at the end of the episode
  • Harmer – Walker’s relatives; an unknown person who sends an anonymous message
  • Secrets – Lister tells Walker that she doesn’t have much experience with women and kissing (lies)
  • Lister’s Aunt appears to be a Helper and maybe a Mentor, unclear right now

Obligatory Scenes and Conventions for a Status Story

  • As the coal situation develops, Lister learns the Antagonists’ Object of Desire – the Rawson brothers want to steal her coal interests; this would mean that Lister goal is to stop them, and she makes numerous moves in this episode to do just that
  • Lister’s Aunt appears to be a Mentor, unclear right now

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!