Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 6: The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne

There are a lot of writing craft books out there for writers.  I’m sure many of them are useful for fledging writers to get better at their craft of writing fiction.  However, I realize that a certain writing craft book comes into a writer’s life at the right time.

The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne is that book for me.

I published my third fantasy novel, Diondray’s Roundabout, and I have reached the point where I want to learn how to tell stories better.  I want to learn how to tell stories from the ground up.  To write stories that want to make people stay up all night to read them.  Stories that make people tell their friends how much they loved that book and recommend they read it too.  I want to craft stories that have a special connection between writer and reader.  Stories that matter in a reader’s life and something they will return to repeatedly.

How does one learn to write stories in such a fashion?  Well, I believe The Story Grid by veteran editor Shawn Coyne has created an exhaustive blueprint for story writing.  Coyne has edited some of the biggest names in the publishing business during his twenty-five-year career and created a tool with The Story Grid to reveal what every successful story has regardless of genre.

The Story Grid explains the importance of choosing the correct genre for a story, the five commandments of storytelling, and how each unit of a story (Beat, Scene, Sequence, Act, and Subplot) work together to create a cohesive work of fiction.  Coyne provides The Foolscap Global Story Grid and The Story Grid Spreadsheet as tools to show how a writer can breakdown their story into the proper components to write a better novel.

He uses those aforementioned tools to show why The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris is one of most innovative and groundbreaking thrillers ever written.

The Story Grid is a detailed writing craft book and provides a lot of information on how a story can come together from the first page until the end of the book.  Coyne makes the point throughout the book that The Story Grid is a tool, not a formula.  It is a tool to help writers become their own editor and learn fundamental story structure.

The Story Grid will become an indispensable reference tool for my writing and a must for writers who want to understand what makes a story work.  Highest recommendation.

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