The Story Grid, Shawn Coyne

Pretty much every book on writing promises to be "the last book on writing you'll ever need," but I think this might actually be IT. Shawn Coyne is a gifted editor who shows you how to analyze a full-length manuscript the way an editor does, in macro, micro, and integrated formats. I'm glad I've read the other books on writing I've read, because "The Story Grid" reads like a Master Class in story structure.

Once I really grasped his Inciting Incident-Complication-Crisis (Decision)-Climax (Action)-Resolution pattern at the scene, act, and global level, all sorts of things that had frustrated and confused me about other systems started to snap into focus.

Coyne also spends time demystifying genre and genre expectations, which I think is critical for writers aiming to produce commercial fiction to understand.

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There is a FANTASTIC weekly podcast put out by Story Grid by a rotating group of Story Grid certified editors discussing genre and structure by looking at common movie examples. You get different perspectives, but using a common framework and language, and it’s been eye-opening.