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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S+SG: the Story Grid Spreadsheet – Mac

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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Story Analysis – Jack Ryan Episode 2

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.


I don’t know about you, but the story is definitely working for me so far. Who is Suleiman? Why does he want to attack America? Let’s dig into the story elements and see how the writers are hooking the viewers.

The 5 Commandments of the 1st Scene

The first scene/ sequence is from the beginning of the episode to when Ryan and Greer land in Paris.

Inciting Incident

The start of this episode shows two men killing a priest in Paris, I’m not sure where that will lead us yet, it’s a good inciting incident for an action story (death/life), but I don’t see the connection yet, it may be a setup for later.

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Writing Soldiers – Coming in July

Every Friday I post information that I hope will help my fellow writers.

On the 2nd and 4th Friday of every month I post articles about how to write about the military, Writing Soldiers. These posts include information on rank, uniforms, tactics, relationships, and other military environmental themes that are constantly confused or misunderstood in the movies, on television, or in books.

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Story Analysis – Jack Ryan Season 1 Episode 1

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.

Here we go.

Why is this series working? What makes it work and popular?

Read on

The 5 Commandments of the Scene/ Episode

Inciting Incident

The Inciting Incident kicks off the scene. Shawn Coyne says in his book The Story Grid that the Inciting Incident must “upset the life balance of your lead protagonist. It must make them uncomfortably out of sync…for good or evil”.

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S+SG: The 5 Commandments – Mac

The soul of the Scene – the 5 Commandments of Storytelling. Scrivener makes it easy for you to track them as you write the scenes, or when you return to do your self-editing.

Warning: These tips are meant to be used with Scrivener Mac version 3.0 of higher.

The 5 Commandments of Storytelling

What are the 5 Commandments of Storytelling? Shawn Coyne describes them in his book The Story Grid as “the timeless principles that we rely upon to create and evaluate the building blocks of a long form story – scenes”.

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Using the Story Grid to Analyze Amazon Prime’s ‘Jack Ryan’ Series – Introduction and 6 Core Questions

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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