You’ve got a manuscript. Or a big chunk of a manuscript. But now you’re stuck. All the advice you’ve heard is: Finish the first draft. But now what? You thought once the first draft was done, it would get easier. But you have this giant pile of words, and you’re not sure what to do next.
So you do what Stephen King says: You stick it in a drawer for a couple weeks.
But when you come back to the pages with fresh eyes and reread them, you’re not much better off. You’re not sure if you have a one-star or a five-star story. Does it work? If it doesn’t work, how do you make it work? If it does kind of work, how do you make it one of the best of its genre? In other words, how do you level-up your story?
You put it back in the drawer, because it seems a lot easier to work on a new manuscript. But the same thing happens again. And again. And again. Soon you’re one of those stereotypical writers who produces thousands of words, but never publishes. Someone who starts but never finishes.
Time to call an editor?
You decide you need some help. You hire an editor, give her what seems like an arbitrary amount of money, and send her your manuscript. And then you wait.
Finally, you get some feedback, but it’s impossible to follow. There’s advice on a few individual scenes and maybe some vague feedback on bigger chunks and problem characters—but nothing concrete. Nothing that explains specific problems and gives you the steps you need to follow to fix them. You’re still stuck.
This is exactly the situation Ellen found herself in a few weeks ago. She had finished a manuscript and was stuck, with no idea what to do next.
This is when she hired Alice Sudlow, one of our Story Grid Certified Editors.
Ellen sent Alice the manuscript, and Alice got to work.
Alice did not send Ellen a dozen pages of indecipherable notes. Instead, she systematically put the manuscript through the Story Grid, using Shawn Coyne’s proven methods and tools. After a couple of weeks, Alice got on the phone and gave Ellen specific feedback, explaining what was working in the manuscript and what wasn’t. Alice helped Ellen discover the story she truly intended to write, a story that drew on her own experience and strengths and that would resonate with readers.
At the end of their call, Alice provided clear guidance on what Ellen could to do next to improve the manuscript and suggested some masterworks to read for inspiration.
By the end of the call, Ellen had two critical things:
- A comprehensive picture of the current state of her manuscript.
- A clear understanding of next best steps for improving the manuscript.
Here’s what Ellen had to say after working with Alice:
“I am inspired by our work together, and I think my recent struggle with writing in is large part due to many of the things that we decided needed to be rethought in the book. You have given me so much to think about. It feels good and right. So write I shall!
I hope to hire you again after I’ve gotten somewhere in the new writing. I have met a lot of professionals in the business, and I think you have been the most memorable and constructive. Good Mojo!
Thanks so much!”
WANT TO GO FROM FINISHED DRAFT TO A PUBLISHABLE DRAFT?
Maybe your dream used to be finishing a manuscript, but that’s changed now. You don’t just want a manuscript; you want a finished, working, good book. You want to transform your “meh” manuscript into something you’re proud to show the whole world.
And you want to improve as a writer.
You’re no longer focused on leveling-up one draft; it’s about leveling up as a writer. You want to understand story in a deeper way. You don’t want to make the same mistakes over and over. You want to make some newer, better mistakes that move you closer to your big goals.
You want to engage in a process of revision that will stick with you and make you a stronger writer. By the end, your second draft will really work.
And your next first draft just might work better too.
And your next.
You’ll be a writer who doesn’t just complete manuscripts; you’ll be one who finishes and publishes good books.
HOW DO YOU GET FROM HERE TO THERE?
This is where the Story Grid Diagnostic comes in.
Over the past three years since Shawn Coyne published The Story Grid book, he’s released more than 100 episodes of the Story Grid podcast and appeared as a guest at many conferences and on other podcasts. The number one request from readers and listeners is: Can you recommend other editors who can work on manuscripts using the Story Grid methodology?
Unfortunately, he always had to say no.
Recently, 19 editors came to Nashville, Tennessee, to spend an entire week in training with Shawn. For the first time, he revealed the entire approach he uses when he works one-on-one with authors to help them take their drafts to the next level.
He taught these 19 editors how to analyze scenes and how to use Story Grid tools to determine exactly what works and what doesn’t. He also trained the editors in the process of walking an author through a Story Grid analysis.
Now you have a chance to work with one of these 19 Story Grid Certified Editors.
THE STORY GRID DIAGNOSTIC
The Story Grid Diagnostic is a tool Shawn developed specifically to take any writer’s manuscript to the next level. The Diagnostic is like getting an MRI of your story to provide a clear picture of where it stands now and a prescription for concrete next steps on how to improve it.
Here is what you get when you invest in a Story Grid Diagnostic:
- The 6 Core Question Analysis. Your Story Grid Certified Editor will read your manuscript and apply the Story Grid 6 Core Question Analysis to your work. This is a deep dive into your manuscript, analyzing what works and what doesn’t work.
- A One-Hour Phone Consultation. You will talk one-on-one with your editor, discussing your own questions and the editor’s analysis of your story. You’ll leave the call with a clearer global, big-picture view of your manuscript and its genre.
- A Story Grid Spreadsheet of Your First Five Scenes. Your Story Grid Certified Editor will provide a full Story Grid work-up of the first five scenes of your manuscript. This will give you a black-and-white, close-up view of which scenes are working and which aren’t—and why.
- Next Steps Recommendation Letter. Every writer is at a different place in his or her journey. Your Story Grid Certified Editor will provide suggested next steps you can take to level-up as a writer. This will include specific Story Grid homework to help improve your skills and your manuscript.
- Masterworks of the Genre Recommendations and Additional Resources. Throughout the Story Grid Diagnostic process, your editor will help you identify and refine your genre choice. Once that’s done, your editor will provide a list of Masterworks to study along with the Story Grid Genre Cheat Sheet for your genre.
We promise that at the end of this process, you’ll have a clear understanding of the level of your current manuscript and the best steps you can take to move forward.
All of this will be delivered within 30 days.
READY TO TAKE YOUR MANUSCRIPT TO THE NEXT LEVEL?
Are you ready to pull your work-in-progress out of the drawer and actually take steps to finish it—or take your finished manuscript to a higher level?
Do you want to work one-on-one with a Story Grid Certified Editor—someone who can actually help you in a concrete, understandable way?
You’re at the point of decision. You can either continue down the path of least resistance, the path you have already been traveling, or you can choose the road less traveled.
The path of least resistance will probably result in the same outcomes you’ve seen before. But if you want something different, if you want to change the direction of your writing, you have to do something different.
Make a new choice, and pursue a new, better outcome.
When you invest in a Story Grid Diagnostic, we will immediately send you a survey to get a little bit of information about you and your writing. Then Halea, our trusted Story Grid office wizard, will connect you directly to your Story Grid Certified Editor, who will walk you through the entire process. It’s as simple as that.
Are you interested in a Story Grid Diagnostic for your manuscript?