Month: January 2015

The Irreconcilable Goods Crisis

Story Grid

Now the Yang to the Best Bad Choice Yin is choosing between Irreconcilable Goods. Making a choice between two “good” things sounds pretty great right?  No matter what you pick, a positive will come to the world.  But don’t Stories require conflict? How can a choice between two good things, not just drive a Story… Read more »

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The Best Bad Choice Crisis

Story Grid

We face two critical Crisis kinds of decisions in our lives. These decisions define who we are as human beings. We do not live in an evil/good, joy/misery, sated/starving kind of world. Never have. Never will.  Because we don’t—we always fall on a spectrum within the confines of each of these values—we rely on stories to… Read more »

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Commandment Number Three

Story Grid

Thou must have a crisis. The Crisis in a beat, a scene, a sequence, an act, a subplot and the global Genre boils down to a question. In all of the units of story…after the inciting incident…the protagonist faces complication/s…the story turning points then lead to definable dilemmas. These dilemmas must coalesce into a question… Read more »

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The Little Buddy of Commandment Number Two

Story Grid

The turning point in a beat, scene, sequence, act, subplot or Story is the moment when new information comes to the fore and a character can’t help but react. This is where the rubber meets the road in a story. Without clearly defined and surprising turning points, the reader/audience will lose interest. Quickly. I’m writing… Read more »

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Commandment Number Two

Story Grid

How does one know when a story isn’t working? After more than ten thousand hours of publishing books, reading submissions and being pitched both fiction and nonfiction, here is just one of the criteria I use to separate the wheat from the chaff. I simply track the story’s progressive complications…the escalating degrees of conflict that… Read more »

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Commandment Number One

Story Grid

The inciting incident is the big event scene that kicks off your story. It is also an equal or somewhat lesser event scene that opens your Middle Build or Ending Payoff. It is an even smaller event scene that kicks off a sequence. It is also a minor event that destabilizes a supporting scene within… Read more »

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The Five Commandments of Storytelling

Story Grid

It’s now time to review the timeless principles that we rely upon to create and evaluate the building blocks of a long form story—scenes. Scenes build into sequences, which build into acts, which create our Beginning hooks, Middle builds and Ending payoffs. The five elements that build story are the inciting incident (either causal or… Read more »

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Flash Forward: The Foolscap in Action

Story Grid

Later on, I’ll go through it in excruciatingly exhaustive line by line detail, but for now  it’s worth looking at the complete Foolscap Global Story Grid for The Silence of the Lambs.  Here it is:   Just as a reminder, to put the Foolscap Global Story Grid in context, this one-pager gives the editor/writer the… Read more »

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Stories Are About Change

Story Grid

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote the seminal book On Death and Dying (1969) in which she laid out a psychological model for the stages of extreme change…coping with the death of a loved one. In the years after publication, psychologists, sociologists and economists have applied Kubler-Ross’s work to the process of dealing with many varieties of life… Read more »

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