Gentleman Jack – Intro

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.

For my first series I will review with the Story Grid 5 Commandments, I’ve chosen the HBO series ‘Gentleman Jack’, mainly because I’ve just started watching it myself.

From IMDB, Gentleman Jack is described as “A dramatization of the life of LGBTQ+ trailblazer, voracious learner and cryptic diarist Anne Lister, who returns to Halifax, West Yorkshire in 1832, determined to transform the fate of her faded ancestral home Shibden Hall.”

This is a new series on HBO that began April 22, 2019 and episode 5 has just aired.

For Genre, I believe this is an external Love story/ internal Status story.

The Love Story

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”.

My initial take is that Anne Lister and Ann Walker main characters of the love story.

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

Obligatory Scenes Include:

  • Lovers Meet
  • First Kiss or Intimate Connection
  • Confession of Love
  • Lovers Break up
  • Proof of Love
  • Lovers Reunite

Conventions Include:

  • Love Triangle
  • Helpers and Harmers
  • Gender Divide
  • External Need
  • Opposing Forces
  • Secrets
  • Rituals
  • Moral Weight

The Status Story

Shawn Coyne says a Status story “concerns a single protagonist’s quest to rise in social standing and the price he or she must pay in order to do so.”  Rachelle Ramirez outlines the elements of the Status Story in her article “The Secrets of the Status Genre”.

Anne Lister is the central character of the Status Story, a “LGBTQ+ trailblazerer” and gay woman in a pre-womens’ rights society, is the epitome of this type of protagonist as she tries to improve her rights. At 53 minutes in the episode, she actually addresses male only suffrage.

The Global Value of a Status Story is Success to Failure.

Obligatory Scenes

  • An Inciting Opportunity or Challenge
  • Protagonist leaves home to seek fortune
  • Forced to adapt to a new environment, Protagonist relies on old habits and humiliates herself
  • The protagonist learns what the Antagonist’s object of desire is and sets out to achieve it for herself
  • Protagonist’s initial strategy to outmaneuver Antagonist fails
  • During an All is Lost Moment, Protagonist realizes they must change their definition of success or risk betraying their morality
  • The Core Event: Protagonist chooses to do what’s necessary to attain status or reject the world that they strive to join

Conventions

  • Strong Mentor Figure
  • Big Social Problem
  • Shapeshifters as Hypocrites (secondary characters say on thing and do another)
  • The Herald or Threshold Guardian is a fellow striver who sold out
  • A clear Point of No Return/ Truth Will Out moment, when Protagonist knows they can never go back to the way things used to be
  • Ironic Win-But-Lose or Lose-But-Win bittersweet ending

In the next Post, I’ll dig into the 1st episode of Gentleman Jack.

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!

Importing Files into Scrivener – Mac and Win

If you have some manuscripts that are still in Word or a TXT file then there is a very easy way to transfer them into Scrivener and organize them into individual chapters. If you have them in another format that you can copy, the second part of this article is dedicated to transferring these documents into Scrivener.

The Import and Split

This process is only supported by TXT, RTF, DOC, DOCX, files.

Take your manuscript and put a symbol, for instance ‘#’, in front of each chapter heading.

For instance, if your first chapter heading is: ‘Chapter 1: The End is Near’

Then you would type : ‘#Chapter 1: The End is Near’

An easy way to do this is by using the replace function and replace ‘Chapter’ with ‘#Chapter’. After you insert the symbol, run a find function on the document for the symbol (in this case ‘#’) to make sure the symbol isn’t used elsewhere in your document. Obviously, if this symbol is in other parts of the document, use another symbol.

import and split

Next, open a blank scrivener project. Make sure to highlight the location you want the document copied, usually the Manuscript folder in the binder. Then go to file>import>import and split – this will bring a pop up window that looks like this:

Make sure you have the symbol that you used before each chapter heading entered in the “Sections are separated by:” box (As I said, I used the ‘#’ symbol).  Browse for the file you will import and then click OK.

Tarzan import example

I downloaded a text version of the book Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs from the Gutenberg website, copied it into word, inserted ‘#’ before each chapter heading, and then imported the document into scrivener. It looked like the below screen shot, with all the chapters separated into text sections in the binder on the left and labeled by chapter name.

Unsupported File Types (PDF and others)

If you have another type file that you want to move into Scrivener, use the following method.

Copy the text or manuscript you want to move. Select the folder in the binder you want to move the manuscript (usually the Manuscript folder). Use the the ‘Paste and Match Style Function’Edit>Paste and Match Style – to copy the text into Scrivener. Then scroll down to where you want the chapter split and select Document>Split>At Selection. If you highlight the chapter name and select Document>Split>At Selection as Title then Scrivener will split the selection as a new text file and put the section selected as the title. You can continue to do this through out the novel to separate all the chapters.

More Scrivener

For More Information on Scrivener and the Story Grid, check out my Scrivener Post Page to see all of my posts on the subject.

I started out learning Scrivener on my own, and I loved the tools I found. I eventually paid for an online course called Learn Scrivener Fast. It was very thorough and professionally done, and I learned even more tips and techniques. I really loved the course, and I became an affiliate, this is my affiliate link to Learn Scrivener Fast. I do receive a percentage of anything spent through that link.

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!

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!