I’ve enthused before about Shawn Coyne’s The Story Grid: What Good Editors Know. Once I’d read the book a few times, in addition to bingeing my way through every single episode of The Story Grid and The Story Grid Editor Roundtable podcasts, I was emboldened to take the tools and apply them to my memoir. I knew I more or less had the story arc in place, but I also knew from reader comments that there were some gaps that fuddled or distracted. It’s always amazing what you don’t realize has to be said because it’s so obvious to yourself!
Armed with Story Grid tools and reader comments, I did a close analysis of the entire book—and saw what was missing.
In short, while all the pieces of the external genre were in place (in Story Grid lingo, Love/courtship), a few key scenes were missing from the internal genre (Worldview/maturation). And this was a serious problem, because while the love story is the hilarious-and-heartbreaking narrative that should drive readers on chapter by chapter, the real meat of the story, and its final payoff, is in the maturation of worldview. Less obviously dramatic, but ultimately more meaningful.
Once I saw that, I also saw exactly what to do—where I’d missed an opportunity or failed to realize the stakes of an event. Corrected and embellished, I now had a plot with two strong and interrelated plot tracks to take the reader all the way to the end. I even charted the revised version one more time to make sure every last scene was carrying its weight.
And then I was done, right?
Not quite…Read More