Selling Girls in America Podcast – Bonus Edition: COVID-19 Effects

Due to recent current events surrounding the COVID-19 health crisis and shutdown of numerous systems we wanted to update you on the impact this is having on sex trafficking.

Throughout the show we reference a recent report that Guardian Group put together to lay out the impact. You can find Part 1 here.

To listen to the podcast, subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcast or your favorite podcast platform, or go to the Guardian Group Webpage.

Resources:

Intro to Sex Trafficking Training

Tools for parents to keep their children safe while online more.

If you’d like to join this fight during this critical time you can donate here.

Thank you for listening!

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Showrunners 025: Killing Eve S3 E6

When the 3rd season is over, we’ll have a summary episode where we talk about the 6 core questions and release our foolscap.

Reminder: Please watch the TV-Series Killing Eve Season 3 Episode 4 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 – Very unexpected, and not believable beginning, and then the characters became unreal for me, too.

Parul – I like many scenes, glad the investigation is back on track, but I’m worried about the global story

Randy – No way!

Read More

Showrunners 024: Killing Eve S3 E5

If you want to see previous episodes of the Story Grid Showrunners Podcast, check out my episode list or go to www.sgshowrunners.com

When the 3rd season is over, we’ll have a summary episode where we talk about the 6 core questions and release our foolscap.

Reminder: Please watch the TV-Series Killing Eve Season 3 Episode 4 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 – A documentary about life in remote Russia that has a tragic, but expected ending.

Parul – If I’m looking for a silver lining – here is a good way to look at how one might introduce a villain’s backstory

Randy – WTH?


Recap: What happened in the previous episodes: 

  • Villanelle asks Konstantin about her family
  • Villanelle does a job for him and got the address for Grismet, Russia
  • Dasha tells Villanelle that the 12 want to meet her, but she must be good
  • Eve chooses Niko over herself – going to Poland to reunite with him
  • Dasha kills Niko in front of Eve and Eve is crushed


5 commandments for Eve

Eve wasn’t in this episode.


5 commandments for Villanelle: 

  1. Inciting Incident: Villanelle returns home to her family.
  2. Turning Point: Borka tells Villanelle that her mother blamed him for embarrassing the family because he didn’t win the food competition.
  3. Crisis: Shall Villanelle confront her mother about their past and everything that’s been left unspoken OR shall she continue to enjoy this family life?
  4. Climax: Villanelle confronts mother with the childish behavior she used to do (tomato sauce in eyes and knife in hand)
  5. Resolution: Mom wants to throw Villanelle out, but Villanelle tells her mother that she put her darkness onto her. So Villanelle kills her, and burns down the house, but makes sure her two brothers are not in the house.


Thoughts about the Format

Randy: Well, I think they made an error in judgment here.  Either Eve is the main character of the story or she is sharing that position with Villanelle.  I kept hoping that episode would end with an Eve bit to entice us along.  There were some classic Villanelle scenes, but this wasn’t necessary.

Mel: Did they want to keep up the excitement about Eve seeing how her husband has been killed that they made an entire episode about Villanelle being with her family? 

I mean last week we already talked about the change of format when each character had their one piece in the episode and it all led to one event that was announced at the beginning of the show.

But this episode was just one single, very long scene that fulfilled the five commandments in a weak way with an episode’s showdown that I suspected from the beginning. After all, it’s Villanelle.

I noticed sometimes tv series end with a great cliffhanger and the next episode they don’t get back to that incident and show some other characters, but this episode was just stalling. Maybe they need to stretch the material they have, but if they continue like this, who wants to see season 4? They should worry about telling a great and tight and entertaining story that abides it’s genre because this is not the show from season 1 anymore.


Parul: They’ve kept Villanelle’s humor and psychopathic tendencies in here.

Aside from the missing big elephant of Eve & the Twelve which is what this story is all about, they have ruined any sort of empathy I had for Villanelle – her family didn’t seem that bad. The mother said she ‘had darkness’, but I didn’t understand the dynamic between them. Why did the mother give her away, what is this darkness she spoke of? What did the writers want us to feel about Villanelle after this? That she is completely unhinged? She’s become wholly unlikeable and I’m more confused about her background than I was before.


Thoughts about the Global Story

Randy: I don’t see how this episode progresses the global story, maybe they will surprise me.  The story should always progress towards the wants and needs of the main characters, moving forward, and the crisis should get progressively harder, the best bad choices should get progressively harder to make.  I don’t see this here.  Maybe they were trying to make us feel that this was a hard choice for her, but it didn’t seem like it.

Mel: Did they run out of ways of exciting kills? I mean, this entire episode went against everything we loved about the show Killing Eve. and after devoting 40 minutes to Villanelle entirely, the payoff should have been amazing. But we don’t even see how Villanelle kills her mother. She’s just lying on the ground while Villanelle sets the house on fire and it explodes. Something we’ve seen so many times before in other stories. And setting a fire didn’t even come as a surprise, because we were told in the beginning that Villanelle set the orphanage on fire.

Parul: Everything goes back to the genre for the Season, this is a thriller and both for the series as a whole and for the Season itself, we should be seeing progressive complications that get in the way of the villains being caught. This episode was a microscopic zoom in to a villain’s backstory, and doesn’t progress the story. 


Spotlight on the Backstory  

Examples of stories with effective backstories: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, the L Word.

How we might have written this differently:

Parul: We’re missing speech in praise of the villain. We’ve moved from Season 1, where we had a speech in praise of the Villain (remember how the killer had eluded MI6 for years across multiple continents) to speech to weaken the Villain. For example, if they had given us the true cause for Villanelle’s mindset or why she ended up with the twelve, then we might have had a speech in praise of the villain. You might have had a scene with the mother telling Villanelle to give up her job, and Villanelle telling her mother how powerful the twelve are. Or you could have the Twelve appear at the mother’s house – after all, they know everything right? They could have killed her entire family to force Villanelle back to them. This episode could have been a reason for Villanelle to truly hate the Twelve and join forces with Eve.


Morality Genre

Villanelle certainly dealt with a ghost from her past who haunted her because she never seemed to have gotten over her mom abandoning her when she was still a child.

But this doesn’t mean punishment for Villanelle in the sense of the morality genre when you feel like you live in damnation for all the things you did wrong, but freedom. She’s rid of her burdens now.


What can we expect in the next episodes?

Parul: It seems like they are pushing Villanelle’s character to become less sympathetic, which is a shame. I’m guessing that Villanelle will reunite with Eve, but I can no longer see a reason for the two to have any spark, or for us to want that for them.  

Randy: I mean, whatever happens next will be surprising to me i guess, but not in a good way.  I hope we don’t see another funeral scene for Niko.  Maybe we’ll have a whole episode dedicated to what Eve is doing while Villanelle is family bonding.

Mel: I’m not expecting anything anymore. I’ll just get disappointed. But if they want to make up for the lack of story, then they need to deliver a fast-paced episode with great unexpected turns. But I guess, they will switch back to Eve and maybe make one episode entirely about her and the mess she’s in. I hope you see the irony 😉


What were your favorite scenes?

Randy: She won the dung throwing competition!  The crazy dance scenes.

Mel: Seeing Villanelle happy as she won the different challenges and at the end the competition. You know, at least someone had a reason to smile in this episode.

Parul: I appreciated the absurdity of an Elton-John loving family in Russia, given how flamboyant he is, and how homophobic Russia is supposed to be. The dancing was awkward but the subtle humor was good.

Story Grid Showrunners Podcast

If you want to listen to more Story Grid Showrunner Episodes, subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts, or on whichever platform you prefer to listen to your podcasts. If you liked the episode, please comment on Apple or Google Podcasts, it helps other listeners find us and spreads the word to other writers and editors.

Also, you could visit my Story Grid Showrunners webpage which has a list of all of our episodes and links to listen to the recordings.

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
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Showrunners 023: Killing Eve S3 E4

When the 3rd season is over, we’ll have a summary episode where we talk about the 6 core questions and release our foolscap.

Reminder: Please watch the TV-Series Killing Eve Season 3 Episode 4 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 – Confusing, because I wondered why they’ve changed the way they tell an episode, especially in midseason? Probably only to keep the tension between Eve seeing Niko and in between until we found out why we thought something was off.

Parul – I’m not sure about the new format. But I am happy about the addition of the red-haired woman. Good episode but slower and doesn’t match the allure of Season 1.

Randy – The ending was just bad writing, but it could have been great.


Recap: What happened in the previous episodes: 

  • Carolyn follows a lead to a possible accountant for the 12
  • Villanelle and Eve meet for the first time this season
  • Eve starts analyzing again and thinks Villanelle will kill Carolyn
  • The accountant is killed instead of Carolyn and Eve loses her last clue
  • Villanelle gets a new perfume
  • Villanelle asks Konstantin about her family


5 commandments for Eve

  1. Inciting Incident: Niko, who we thought had abandoned her, has messaged her.
  2. Progressive Complications TP: In the office, Eve discovers the connection between the chalk murders in 1974 (Russian sports rivalry) and the Catalan murder. She knows that this killer could lead them to the Twelve.
  3. Crisis: Should Eve keep investigating the Twelve OR make the choice to pursue Nico and take care of her relationship and amend her past failures.
  4. Climax: Eve goes to Poland to find Niko
  5. Resolution: Niko is killed in front of her eyes (and unknown to her the Twelve are plotting for an accelerated enmity between her and Eve)


5 commandments for Villanelle: 

  1. Inciting Incident: Dasha tells Villanelle she’s up for promotion but she has to play by the rules!
  2. Turning Point: Konstantin hands her proof about her family and wants her to do a job off-the-records for him, and he will provide her with the location of her family.
  3. Crisis: Should Villanelle refuse Konstantin’s offer to show the Twelve that she can play by the rules and listen when she’s told not to travel OR does she risk her promotion to find out more about her past?
  4. Climax: Villanelle does the job for Konstantin and kills Charles Kruger’s wife in Lyon.
  5. Resolution: Villanelle is back in Russia (and unknown to her, her ‘relationship’ with Eve has been destroyed)


Thoughts about the Global Story

Randy: I enjoyed how most of this episode played out.  We see similarities to the past seasons – Villanelle gives a cake while in the first season it was new clothes.  I like that Carolyn is waking up and back to her spy self, understanding that Konstantin is working her daughter.  We have playful Villanelle on the cable car.  And I love that Irina is back.

My biggest problem is at the end of this episode they are not staying true to Eve’s character.  She sees Niko get stabbed, but she does nothing – she doesn’t try to stop the bleeding, she doesn’t chase down the villain who obviously just stabbed Niko.  She drops to the ground, defeated.  For me, this ruined the whole episode.

The hook here for this episode is that Villanelle is back in Russia, and that didn’t go very well for her last time.  And the anticipation of possibly, finally, getting to know the Twelve.

Mel: Niko’s death is certainly the most crucial part for everything that will follow. This will set Eve on a hunt for his murder. She will suspect it was Villanelle but might realize after her initial rage that the message ‘Still got it’ doesn’t sound like Villanelle at all – and it wouldn’t make sense either that she had killed him. 

So I guess Dasha’s plan will fail because that incident might bring Villanelle and Eve back together again – in an unexpected way. Maybe Eve will even seek her help. And Villanelle still cares about Eve – we know that. 

Parul: Come on Twelve, you’ve given us the red-haired woman, that’s a great addition but we need more. The Global Story is a Thriller and we need to have a greater emphasis on investigative work. That has fallen by the wayside in this episode. I continue to love Villanelle’s character but I am confused about what we are after. Who is the master villain and what do they want?


Obligatory Scenes & Conventions for a Thriller

Randy: Still no Speech in praise of the villain.

I am curious how the hero at the mercy of the villain will play out – who will be the hero?

Since Niko is dead, what will Eve’s all is lost moment be?  I’m afraid the writers may have written themselves in a hole.  This is too early, we aren’t even halfway through the series yet, it will be difficult to top that after the death of Kenny and Niko, and keep the audience hooked.  I can’t see higher stakes.

Parul: We don’t have a speech in praise of the villain but we do have the all-knowing eye of the 12. The red-haired woman knows all about Eve. Everyone seems to know about Eve and Villanelle but this doesn’t seem to put Eve in danger (for some reason this would be a problem, as the red-haired lady explains to Dasha)


Morality Genre

Mel: In this episode, Eve is a mess – once again. She sleeps in the office and hopes no one would notice her smell, her hair, or her clothes. She doesn’t dare to go back home.

Then Eve receives assistance from an unexpected source. That’s a convention of the Morality Genre. Jamie acts like a mentor. He is not only taking her in, but he also opens her eyes by telling her that she’s not the only self-loathing arsehole in the room. Other people have done bad things too.

This talk leads to Eve finally choosing her own life and Niko over the ongoing investigation. She knows she can make a change through her own choices, and she chooses Niko.

If this is morally right is still in question.

She does put her own as well as Niko’s need ahead of a group who will continue to suffer as long as the 12 are out there. But perhaps, this is her doing the first right thing on her own path or redemption. She wants to make things right, and Niko certainly belongs to it.

BUT 

Niko was her reason for living. Nothing left to live for. 

And losing him throws her directly into her All Is Lost Moment because he was the only good that she had left in this world. She is in shock, literally, she can’t even go there and be there with him as he dies. She just breaks down, helplessly.

And she needs to realize, every path, every decision she has ever made, led to this moment. It’s her fault – on some level.


What can we expect in the next episodes?

Parul: They’re building us up for another Eve-Villanelle Clash. But aside from that, I don’t know. There is a storyline about the missing six million dollars.

Randy: Obviously, Dasha hopes that Eve thinks it’s Villanelle that killed Niko.  I hope the writers are better than using that trope to fool the hero.  Eve’s gift is finding the truth, we’ll see.

Mel: Eve is at the beginning of her All Is Lost Moment. The question is: Will she discover her inner moral code and do what’s right to stop the 12 with whom everything began, or does she choose the immoral path? The immoral path would be giving up and staying a self-loathing arsehole as well as not keeping it professional between her and Villanelle once they both discover they’ve been played.


What were your favorite scenes?

Randy: I liked the anticipation of Dasha’s plan at the end, but I think the writers dorked it up.  And I like the scaring the hiccups away scene – classic Villanelle.

Mel: I liked Villanelle’s awkward dance after being told she gets a promotion.

Parul: The introduction of the red-haired lady who when mentioning Eve talks about her turtleneck. She’s cut from the same cloth as Eve. Hot, snobby, and deadly.

Valerie Francis wrote a great article about the importance of great villains in stories called Stories Need Great Villains on www.storygrid.com.

Story Grid Showrunners Podcast

If you want to listen to more Story Grid Showrunner Episodes, subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts, or on whichever platform you prefer to listen to your podcasts. If you liked the episode, please comment on Apple or Google Podcasts, it helps other listeners find us and spreads the word to other writers and editors.

Also, you could visit my Story Grid Showrunners webpage which has a list of all of our episodes and links to listen to the recordings.

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 022: Killing Eve S3 E3

Killing Eve Season 3 is now underway, with our main protagonist Eve & Villanelle continuing their cat and mouse game. Does this season work? And how does it compare to the previous seasons? We invite you to watch the episodes with us during the week and then tune in to the podcast as we discuss what worked, what didn’t work, and why.

When the 3rd season is over, we’ll have a summary episode where we talk about the 6 core questions and release our foolscap.

Reminder: Please watch the TV-Series Killing Eve Season 3 Episode 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.


Initial Observations

Mel – Finally, Killing Eve is indeed back. Everything we loved about the show, they had saved for this episode. Loved it.

Parul – Mostly good. A little disappointing.

Randy – Nothing new, not too many surprises


Recap: What happened in the previous episodes: 

  • Eve finds out Villanelle is alive; Villanelle finds out Eve is alive
  • Villanelle is ordered to mentor a new assassin to prepare for management, but she ends up killing him
  • Eve asks Carolyn for help to find Kenny’s murderer
  • Constantin finds Villanelle


5 commandments for Eve

  1. Inciting Incident: Thumb Drive is opened
  2. Progressive Complications TP: Villanelle is in town and tells her she’s not here for her (she also confronts Eve on a bus, they kiss and fight – which we are distracted by.
  3. Crisis: Does Eve snap out of her depressive trance and tell Julian what she knows? 
  4. Climax: She uses the clue Villanelle gave her to figure out that V is on a mission
  5. Resolution: Doesn’t get to Carolyn on time; Eve shoots Charles the accountant. Eve returns home confused and defeated, returning to find V’s creepy gift. 

Parul: So this episode is tricky for me, it’s disappointing because Eve is a step removed from the thriller storyline. The Turning Point Complication is when she realizes that the Twelve are after someone else – Carolyn. And the crisis is lame – how do I get hold of Carolyn?  – which she does but too late. It’s only by the ‘mercy’ of Villanelle that Carolyn isn’t shot. Eve’s storyline instead focuses on her inner turmoil – Morality.


5 commandments for Villanelle: 

  1. Inciting Incident: Villanelle took the baby of her last assassination to prove to herself that she can take care of things.
  2. Turning Point: Dasha offers her a new job which is in London.
  3. Crisis: Shall Villanelle return to the city in which she will be tempted to seek out Eve and possibly kill her even though she loves her somehow OR shall she refuse the job offer and lose the power she seeks to attain?
  4. Climax: Villanelle returns to London
  5. Resolution: Villanelle completes her job, but she had to return into Eve’s life as well – which will have consequences.


Thoughts about the Global Story

Randy: So, I think Eve is losing it more than we’ve seen before.  I think the show has lost its edge.  I wasn’t really worried about Carolyn dying, especially when they didn’t show the kill shot.  Also, The kill with the piano tuner was neat, not sure I understand the whole baby scene unless they are trying to link that to Villanelle looking for her family.  I agree the Eve and Villanelle scenes are good and what kept the series fresh, however in the past these scenes were integrated with the plot.  I almost think that the other 12 assassins should have been sent after Carolyn, and the Eve vs Villanelle scenes should be integrated.  

Mel: I am so glad that Villanelle is back in Eve’s life. It seems like Villanelle is now trying to prove her worth. She failed as a keeper, and maybe getting the baby is her form of lashing out. Maybe she thought she could raise a kid to be the next amazing assassin, and not start with something that is doomed right from the start.

And she lashes out when she thinks that a perfume could give her power. I thought this was also a funny scene. She says: 

“I want to smell like a Roman Centurion coming across an old foe who once hurt her greatly, but the centurion comes back and is now an Emperor”

And then my husband said: Oh, so she wants to smell like Russell Crowe in Gladiator.

But anyway, Villanelle wants to prove to everyone how powerful she’s become – even though she’s just returned to be a serial killer. She’s not yet a keeper, she just pretends. She thinks she’s an Emperor who will conquer everyone – but I guess this sets her up for a great worldview – disillusionment story – which will probably make her lash out again since she’s a psychopath.

Parul: The Climactic moment was weak – they should have allowed Eve to make a comeback and at least try to save the day. Compare this to Season 1 where we saw Eve racing to get to Frank or Bill. But here, it’s by phone, and Eve plays a more passive role. Villanelle is back and is exerting dominance over Constantine which is great. But we’re no closer to truly understanding the master villains. I think that there was an opportunity to unpeel the layers of the Twelve. They could take us down dead-ends, show us double-crossing agents, etc. 


Obligatory Scenes & Conventions for a Thriller

Speech in praise of the villain – there is a speech in praise of the 12 in this episode, but it’s weak and it’s nothing we don’t already know.

Villain’s MacGuffin – we don’t know what the 12 want, why they killed Kenny;  I don’t think Villanelle is the Villain here, not with the way the current plot is going, and if she is, then she should have killed, Kenny.

Parul: I agree, I think that Villanelle remains the shadow villain here, the lightning rod for the bad side, but we urgently need to understand who the Twelve are. 


Morality Genre

Mel: In a Morality-Redemption Story, the protagonist couldn’t live with himself anymore for all the things they recognize about their own life, so that they want to make a change to redeem themselves again.

But this WANT to change is tested multiple times by incidents that make it even harder for them to stay on their path of redemption. They are tempted to return back to the way it was or to stray from their moral code.

Because doing what’s morally right is no walk in the park. 

And they keep being tested.

Like Eve.

She was a mess in the first one and a half episodes. But she came around and even decided to work with Carolyne again to do the right thing for her friend Kenny and find out more about his murder.

This was a first big step for her to redeem herself after having been so selfish in the past two seasons.

But this episode challenges Eve tremendously.

Villanelle is back.

Villanelle presents the convention of a seemingly impossible external conflict. She’s Eve’s love interest and she’s a psychopathic serial killer.

Villanelle is also the ghost from Eve’s past who torments her – literally. And she steps back into Eve’s life and is really testing it out if Eve will be capable of putting the needs of others ahead of her own self to follow her path of redemption.

And because it’s Villanelle, Eve will have lots of trouble to follow her new path. She might express her inner darkness again – when it comes to her affections for Villanelle. And that mistake will lead to another, the even bigger challenge to finally do what’s morally right.

Parul: I love the morality storyline, but it should be against a stronger Thriller storyline, it shouldn’t dominate this episode which it did. We spent more time in Eve’s sadness than in her heroic actions, and that’s a shame. 


What can we expect in the next episodes?

Parul: There has to be a twist. Someone that we know that we already see must be involved with the twelve. We have to have something more than just ‘oh look it’s the twelve let’s take them down’. 

Randy: I’m not sure I can predict what will happen, which is good and bad.  As far as I can see, so far the show isn’t meeting many of my expectations and I’m afraid I’m going to be disappointed.  However, I guess the writers might be able to turn it around and reach an inevitable and surprising end.  I hope so.  So I predict more Eve and Villanelle interaction, Eve stepping it up and becoming less of a victim.

Mel: I stay with the Morality-Redemption story. In this episode, we got a clue about who is the foil for Eve. That is a convention of the Morality Genre and it means there is a character who embodies the ideals and attributes opposite of Eve. This character exists to show the viewer the other path Eve could have taken.

And maybe that character is Carolyn. She tells Eve in this episode that it isn’t fun to use the people you once loved. And I wonder if this is a clue that Eve will have to use Villanelle to get to the 12 – which will be unimaginable hard – but also in alignment with the Morality Story – because that would mean Eve has to sacrifice herself for the greater good = which is stopping the Twelve.


What were your favorite scenes?

Randy: I like the perfume scene.  Other than that, I didn’t have many favorite scenes.

Mel: It’s so crazy. I couldn’t decide in the last two episodes which scenes I really liked because there were none. But this episode had too many that I can’t decide between them. I guess I go with Villanelle who asks the perfumer to make her a perfume that makes her smell like she got power, and then she forces Eve and Konstantin to smell her new perfume.

Parul:’I want to smell like a Roman Centurion’ – that remains my favorite scene. It’s classic Villanelle. Awkward as hell, aggressive, and hilarious.

Story Grid Showrunners Podcast

If you want to listen to more Story Grid Showrunner Episodes, subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts, or on whichever platform you prefer to listen to your podcasts. If you liked the episode, please comment on Apple or Google Podcasts, it helps other listeners find us and spreads the word to other writers and editors.

Also, you could visit my Story Grid Showrunners webpage which has a list of all of our episodes and links to listen to the recordings.

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

E10: Selling Girls in America – Conclusion Season 1

To listen to the podcast, subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcast or your favorite podcast platform, or go to the Guardian Group Webpage.

This season was designed to lay a foundation of knowledge around trafficking for listeners. It is our vision for future season to provide a space for survivors to share their stories.

In the meantime it is time for American’s to raise their voice for change in this space, to advocate for training, to support organizations and to get behind stopping this crime.

Thank you for taking the time to listen to our show, we hope we provided you with more knowledge on trafficking than you started with.

As mentioned Guardian Group is donor funded, if you would like to support their work please donate here.

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 021: Management Sucks! Killing Eve S3E2

Reminder: Please watch the TV-Series Killing Eve Season 3 Episode 1 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 – This episode did not work for me and I’ll add the why later on.

Parul – Strangely, I really enjoyed this episode, and I was really disappointed when the series ended.

Randy – I get it, they had to have an episode where the two protagonists both know that each other is alive, but it was kind of slow and even the Clown assassin kill scene didn’t catch my attention much (Villanelle is above that).  But they have all the players in a position to make something exciting happen next episode.  Remember, wasn’t it episode 3 that Bill got killed last time?


Recap: What happened in the first episode: Slowly Slowly Catchy Monkey?

Eve is alive. She accidentally messages Kenny and he shows up at her place. He wants to tell her about a lead he’s been following about Frank’s and Fat Panda’s death, but Eve doesn’t want to deal with the 12 anymore – because it almost got her killed last time.
The episode ended with Eve coming to Kenny’s workplace, but he falls off the roof behind her and is dead.

Villanelle meets her old mentor Dasha again who offers her a job and the prospect of her old life again – the glamour and the excitement of killing. Villanelle kills a woman in Girona and she’s all happy again. 


What did we assume would happen after having watched the first episode? 

Short version

Let’s look at Eve’s global character development over the last seasons.

  • Eve in Season 1: She was very naive in thinking she could take on a serial killer because she studied the psychology of female assassins
  • In Season 2, Eve’s selfishness is becoming a lot clearer. Her goal is not to stop Villanelle anymore, but she wants to be with her. Even if that means sacrificing her marriage.
  • So whenever we have a story about Worldview Education or Maturation, at one point or another the character falls into their all is lost moment. And they have to change their way of thinking to embrace better-suited goals or value what’s important to them.
  • Sometimes a story ends negatively for the protagonist when they’ve reached disillusionment – like in the case of Eve. And this sets them up to want to redeem themselves.
  • She needs to finish what she started in episode 1: stop Villanelle.


Long Version: 

Let’s look at Eve’s global character development over the last seasons.

I’d like to start us off by talking about our expectations for how the story would continue after having seen the first episode.

I was especially looking into the Morality-Redemption storyline for Eve. Now, why did I think that Eve’s internal genre has changed from Worldview to Morality?

Okay, so let’s look back at Eve from Season 1. She was very naive in thinking she could take on a serial killer because she studied the psychology of female assassins. She had to learn the hard way that she may have the skills to track Villanelle down, but when they are face to face, Eve can’t kill her. It’s not in her nature. 

In Season 2, Eve’s selfishness is becoming a lot clearer. Her goal is not to stop Villanelle anymore, but she wants to be with her. Even if that means sacrificing her marriage. Eve’s blind belief to think she could change Villanelle to the better moves to justified belief because Villanelle is working with her to catch this other serial killer: The Ghost. But Season 2 ended with the moment that everything Eve had believed in and everything she had done for Villanelle turned out to be false. Eve fell right into her all is lost moment and she got shot by the woman who even turned her into a murderer. So whenever we have a story about Worldview Education or Maturation, at one point or another the character falls into their all is lost moment. And they have to change their way of thinking to embrace better-suited goals or value what’s important to them.

Sometimes a story ends negatively for the protagonist when they’ve reached disillusionment – like in the case of Eve. And this sets them up to want to redeem themselves. Eve has to learn she can’t be selfish anymore. This had led to her murdering someone, losing her job, endangering others, a failed marriage, and almost losing her own life. So the first step Eve took was trying to get as much away from her old life as possible – working in a kitchen. But that will not be the way how she can ever redeem herself. She needs to finish what she started in episode 1. Stop Villanelle.

So in the last episode, I expected that two more obligatory scenes of the Morality Genre would need to be shown: 

  • The Protagonist expresses inner darkness with an overt refusal of the Hero’s Journey call to change: Carolyn tells Eve that she doesn’t believe that Kenny killed himself. And she shows her a picture of the murdered woman in Genova – telling Eve Villanelle is back. But Eve denies. She does not want to investigate anymore.
  • The protagonist’s refusal of the call complicates the story and the call comes a second time but in a different form. Eve didn’t want to work with Carolyn again, but Kenny’s boss wants to investigate Kenny’s death and Eve joins them.

So we see, they have delivered those two obligatory scenes even though the second one was rather weak as they used Julian to tell Eve that Kenny had highly sensitive information on his phone. This was meant to be a revelatory turning point, but …

  1. Why would you tell someone how valuable something is when you want it for yourself. Maybe Jamie is manipulating Eve to work for him. Not sure yet. 
  2. Eve is an investigator by nature. She should have known herself – after what Kenny told her – that he was investigating the 12 and that’s reason enough to think there might be some clues on his phone. She doesn’t need to be told that there is.

Randy – I am expecting more action.  We had Villanelle getting back into the killing and she seemed happy, but we only have one kill (two if you count Felix, which I don’t feel she has got reprimanded for that yet).  So this was just a filler episode, not something we are used to in the Killing Eve series, and I hope it doesn’t happen often.  Historically, the writers have been really good intertwining the action and the revelations.


5 commandments for Eve:

Inciting Incident: Eve discovers that people think Kenny killed himself OR it is that Carolyn asks Eve if they can chat, (which is a shadow request for her to be in her team again. Bear in mind that later Eve tells her ‘I’m not on your team’.)
Progressive Complications: 
Kenny’s love interest, Kenny’s boss and colleague trying to solve the murder, Villanelle is alive and active, Eve has Kenny’s phone but can’t break the password
Turning Point: Eve finds out that Kenny had a secret thumb drive that is in the possession of the police
Crisis: Shall Eve investigate Kenny’s murder with Jamie Hayward, or should she approach Carolyne 
Climax: Eve approaches Carolyn.
Resolution: Carolyn and her start to talk, not knowing they are being listened to by Constantine.


5 commandments for Villanelle:

Inciting Incident: Villanelle has to train a new assassin and prove her management skills if she wants to be a keeper for the twelve
Turning Point: Felix messes up the kill
Mel: Konstantin tells Villanelle that Eve is alive.

Crisis: Does V. intervene OR does V prove her management skills or return to normal hasty action
Climax: She intervenes, 
Resolution: V. kills both the target and Felix messes up the management job. She finds Constantin in her apartment and tells V. that Eve lives; we haven’t seen the consequences of killing Felix yet.  (Management is watching other people do things worse than you could)


Thoughts about the Global Story

Mel: It’s not clear yet how Kenny’s murder and Villanelle resurfacing in Girona are connected. Eve may investigate Kenny’s death but she doesn’t choose to look into Villanelle again. Investigating Kenny’s death will probably lead back to the 12, but then Eve has to decide again if she wants to continue or not as soon as Villanelle comes into play. That means we get another Hero’s Journey call to change and to redeem herself by finally trying to stop Villanelle – but I guess they will leave that open for another season, so this season now will be about introducing the 12 and straying further away from Eve’s and Villanelle cat and mouse game – what we loved so much about the show.

Randy: I agree with Mel, except that V. is linked to the 12, especially if she actually does get promoted to management, so I think we will see that eventually.  There are two targets for Eve now, the person who actually killed Kenny and the 12 who Kenny was researching.

Parul: All the key players are on the back foot. Kenny is dead, Eve is traumatized and Carolyn can’t work. This is perfect for the 12. While we don’t know much about them, and I don’t think it would hurt to know more, there are two key moves/ dialogues that made me more fearful of the twelve and their ability to know all, to shapeshift. Constantine managed to give Carolyn’s daughter a souvenir with a bug – how long has Constantine been working for this family? She is fond of him as an uncle figure, and he has no qualms exploiting this. Also, Constantine tells Villanelle that he has always been working for the 12. I wasn’t scared of him in Ep 1, but now I worry he’s more vicious than he’s letting on. He doesn’t have blood directly on his hands but… would you want to bump into him on the street? This family man is a strange breed and like Villanelle he’s a shapeshifter, you can never ever trust him.


The flaws of this episode – What didn’t work

  1. Passive protagonist: Eve. She’s shown again at her worst (smoking and drinking at the funeral and not doing anything). We’ve already seen how her life is messed up, but they showed it to us all over again.
  2. Passive Eve turns to a Passive Carolyn who gives up because she says her hands are tied. But Carolyn was the one who had started this unofficial investigation into Villanelle in the first season, and now Carolyn just gives up? That’s out of character.
  3. Repetition of Scenes: We’ve already seen a funeral scene (Bill), and once again we get a tour through one of Villanelle’s high priced amazing apartments. And Villanelle has to prove herself again by having to work with someone (But she does dress so well!).
  4. No exciting killings in this episode. Even looking like a clown didn’t bring back the excitement about Villanelle’s craziness. (Randy: agreed!)
  5. This episode could have been tighter, scenes could have been cut, and changed with others who do contribute to the main story. So maybe they should have just combined the first and the second episode into one, cut out all the repetitions, and we would have a more fast-paced intro to the new season.


Obligatory Scenes for a Thriller

Inciting Crime indicative of a master villain and there must be villains:
This is shown in the killing of Kenny, who is the obvious victim.  But the crime of the master villain, aka the 12, remains to be seen in all its glory.  We know that the 12 orchestrate death around the world for a specific goal, but we don’t know that goal yet.  I hope that we will find out through Kenny’s research more about the 12 and what they have done and are capable of, maybe even who some of them are.  As we mentioned in the last episode, for this season to work, the writers really need to have a good speech in praise of the villain about the 12.

Parul: A few hints at the power of 12, look at the grand house they buy Villanelle, PLUS if they have managed to keep the snake charmer Constantine, then there is something insidiously sinister about him


Conventions for the Thriller Genre

Crime: villain, victims & crime needs to happen early on in the story
The man at kid’s birthday party, although it seems like this was only done to include killing and bring in some humor, but it backfired because it wasn’t strong

The crime must give a hint of what the McGuffin of the villain is
Villanelle wants to be a keeper, that’s why she has to teach that young guy how to kill. But being a keeper is not really what Villanelle wants, so it’s not her MacGuffin.
Parul: this is the true weakness of the series. We still DON’T know what the hell the villain wants!

Crime needs to get personal
Every moment of Eve’s tortured expression tells us that the crime (from Season 1), has made this personal to Eve. 

The antagonist in a thriller is a human monster
Villanelle, and Constantine too.

Clock
Jamie Hayward puts Eve under pressure when he tells her that as long as she doesn’t give him the phone, time passes without them being able to solve Kenny’s death. But again, not strong enough.

Randy – I don’t see a clock yet, except the same one that was in the first season, if they don’t stop the 12 then people die, maybe people they love.


The Morality Genre within this episode

Morality – Redemption.

No conventions, other than showing once again the protagonist at her worst.

And those two scenes about the call to change were in it, but I’m not sure if they won’t be repeated again too.

The Protagonist expresses inner darkness with an overt refusal of the Hero’s Journey call to change:

Carolyn tells Eve that she doesn’t believe that Kenny killed himself. And she shows her a picture of the murdered woman in Genova – telling Eve Villanelle is back. But Eve denies. She does not want to investigate anymore.

The protagonist’s refusal of the call complicates the story and the call comes a second time but in a different form.

Eve didn’t want to work with Carolyn again, but Kenny’s boss wants to investigate Kenny’s death and Eve joins them.


What can we expect in the next episodes?

  • Randy: Once again – speech in praise of the villain.  More killings from V., hopefully back to her stylish methods and no more clowns.
  • Parul: They have to keep the tension for both the minor Love Genre, Morality Genre but more importantly innovate in the thriller genre.


Question: What were your favourite scenes?

Randy: The end, when Vl says “if I killed everybody who betrayed me, there would be nobody left”.

Mel: There wasn’t really a scene at all that I liked. I think the moment when Eve threw the beer can away.

Parul: I quite liked Carolyn’s teary moment in the car – the humor and restraint is understated and unpinned with British humor

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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.

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Showrunners 020: Killing Eve S 3 E 1

Killing Eve is back!  For the next two months, we’re going to ask you to watch the episodes with us and then tune in to the podcast as we discuss what worked, what didn’t work, and why.

When the 3rd season is over, we’ll have a summary episode where we talk about the 6 core questions and release our foolscap.

Reminder: Please watch the TV-Series Killing Eve Season 3 Episode 1 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 – Without Eve in her life, Villanelle returns to her old self.

Parul – I no longer look at Constantine

Randy – Villanelle is back killing in her unique way, and the trailer shows some other scenes which look interesting, to say the least.  I’m in.

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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.

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Showrunners 019: Analysis of You – a perfect story grid thriller

This week, the Story Grid Showrunners fell in love with the Netflix TV Series YOU – a perfect combination of a thriller and an obsession love story that is topped by a strong Morality internal Genre that moves from Selfishness masked as altruism to pure selfishness.


Reminder: Please watch the TV-Series YOU 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 – The villain is the hero of his own story. And it was great to get into the mind of a psychopath, especially through the first-person narrative, seeing how he leaves red herrings for whoever is trying to get him and start seeing the good guys as his antagonists while wanting him to succeed.

Parul – Another great story where we have great innovations of the Love Genre mixed with the thriller genre to give us an engaging narrative drive.  Reminds me of Killing Eve.

Randy – Awesome.  A compelling story, well told.

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