Off-beat and Overwhelmed – The Story Grid #Review Post 4

story gridI’m old enough to know when to quit. I’ve been studying the Shawn Coyne’s Story Grid system for a few weeks now and I’ve learned a lot, but now I’m cross-eyed, tongue tied and generally pooped. I’m overloaded with analytical detail, which I understand has its use, but honestly the gargantuan amount of it is scary.

The general idea is that with my writer’s hat on I should create my story  by plotting or pantsing or any combination of the two, and then I should put on my editor’s hat and analyse the story carefully.

The process reminds me of what Irving Layton wrote, and I paraphrase, critics are people who study the stains on the sheets left by lovers after a night of passion. That’s how I feel numbering, labeling, evaluating, sorting and balancing every beat, scene and act in my story.

Yes, I understand it’s good for me, like nasty tasting fibre is in the morning. But no, I don’t enjoy it.

I write because I love the rush of creating stories, of getting inside my character’s heads and getting to know what makes them tick.

I understand the process and the need for it, but I won’t be using the whole grid sheet model. It’s way over the top for me. I’ll stick with Blake Snyder plottingsave-the-cat rules (from Save the Cat) and keep in mind additional details from Coyne’s work, particularly those that address genre rules.

Have I stopped reviewing?

No. I will be posting some more of my notes on the Story Grid process, just not this week. I’m working on the second draft of my next book and it needs my full attention.

Other Posts on The Story Grid

Narrative Velocity – Starting The Story Grid

Form Over Formula in Story Writing – The Story Grid Review, Post 2

The Power of Genre, Post 3

Author: Jo-Ann Carson

Jo-Ann Carson writes a saucy mix of fantasy, adventure and romance. Her latest stories are in the Gambling Ghosts Series: A Highland Ghost for Christmas, A Viking Ghost for Valentine’s Day, Confessions of a Pirate Ghost and The Biker Ghost Meets his Match. An anthology of the novellas will be coming out this summer. Currently she is working on Midnight Magic, A Ghost & Abby Mystery, the first book in a spin-off series from her Viking ghost story. Jo-Ann loves watching sunrises, playing Mah Jong and drinking good coffee. You can chat with her on social media: You can find all her links on her website -

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