Editor Roundtable: The Imitation Game

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This week, Valerie looks at The Imitation Game in order to study how to integrate a framing story into a global story. This 2014 film was directed by Morten Tyldum from a screenplay by Graham Moore. It was based on the 1983 biography Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges.

This was Moore’s first screenplay, and it won him an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay. Moore began his career as a novelist, and to date has three published titles; The Sherlockian, The Last Days of Night and The Holdout. 

Content Warning: The film includes derogatory terms referring to members of the LGBTQIA community.

 

 

 

 

The Story

Genre: Usually we start with a summary of the beginning, middle and end, but the structure of The Imitation Game is different than anything we’ve seen on the podcast so far, so I thought a discussion of the genre needed to come first. Here we have a non-linear framing story with a sub-plot, and a global story with two sub-plots. And, both the framing story and the global story have both an internal and an external genre.

These storylines are woven together seamlessly and that’s what I’m going to focus on today. But first, let’s look at the genres.

The Global Story: Deals with the cracking of the Enigma and I see it as a business performance story with a status admiration internal genre. There’s a love story sub-plot between Alan and Joan, and an espionage crime story dealing with the Russian spy in Hut 8. 

The Framing Story: Is a non-linear crime story told from the criminal’s point of view, and it’s got a love story sub-plot between Alan and Christopher. The internal genre is worldview education, with a negative ending.

But that said, The Imitation Game is so much more than the sum of its parts. The story itself is an enigma in many ways. If ever there was a masterwork for how to use a framing story, it’s this. I’ll talk more about that in a minute.

So, for now, the breakdown of the beginning, middle and end is as follows:

  • Beginning Hook: Alan Turing is hired to work as part of a team of cryptologists tasked with cracking the German Enigma machine. When his request for parts to build a decoding machine is denied, he must accept his commanding officer’s decision or find another way to get the funds. He sends a letter to Winston Churchill and is not only given the money, but is made the head of the unit.
  • Middle Build: Alan Turing hires two new people to his team, one of them is Joan Clarke. Turing, with the help of Joan and the rest of the team, eventually builds “Christopher” the name he’s given to his digital computer, and decrypts the Enigma. When he realizes that a passenger convoy is about to be destroyed by German U-Boats, he must decide whether to tell Denniston about it (which would save the convoy, but lose them the war), or keep it a secret (which would mean that innocent civilians would die, but would retain their chance of winning the war). Turing decides to keep it a secret and the people in the convoy, which includes Peter’s brother, dies.
  • Ending Payoff: Together with Joan, Alan approaches MI6 agent, Stewart Menzies, with a plan to use statistics to win the war as quickly as possible without the Germans discovering that the Enigma has been deciphered. When Menzies tricks Alan into becoming a spy, Alan must decide whether to end his engagement with Joan or keep it. He decides to end it to protect her, which is a personal sacrifice for him (because he does genuinely care for her, and she seems to be his only real friend). He works with Menzies as instructed and the war ends in victory. 

 

Valerie – Integrating Framing Stories

That’s the breakdown of the global story (breaking the Enigma and winning the war). But of course, it’s incomplete because I didn’t reference the framing story and the framing story is integral here. It can’t simply be lopped off. In The Bridges of Madison County, the framing story can be deleted entirely without harming the global story (as I’ve said before, it might actually improve the film). 

Turing eventually committed suicide because he was sentenced to chemical castration by the very government he sacrificed his happiness and risked his life to serve. That fact is essential to this story. It’s the kicker to this whole thing. It’s the knife to the heart. It’s the bit that makes this story stick with viewers. It’s what makes us think and reflect on who we are and what we believe.

My original intention with The Imitation Game was to look at the 3-Act structure in light of Shawn’s new ideas for breaking down the middle build. I intentionally chose my selections randomly from different genres. I’d forgotten that there was a framing story here, probably because it’s so integral to the story as a whole. 

So I think that, rather than look at the 3 acts this week, it’s a better use of our time to examine the component parts of this film and how they’ve been put together to create a cohesive whole. This is advanced storytelling and the filmmakers really know their stuff. This is the kind of storytelling you can get into once you have a solid understanding of storytelling fundamentals, both in theory and in practice.

Of course, the acting is superb as is the costume design and all the rest of it. But I’m putting that aside because as novelists we don’t have access to those things. We have words on a page and our readers’ imaginations. That’s it.

It’s hard to discuss the story structure here without also discussing the genres. I obviously haven’t spoken to Graham Moore, so I don’t know what his thought process was. I’m looking at the screenplay he’s written and then working backwards from it.

Typically, stories that are based on the life of a person focus on one part of that person’s life. As writers, we’ve got to focus on one aspect of the subject’s life because a story that spans cradle to grave is likely going to be too big, and too sprawling. So the questions a writer needs to ask are, “Where’s the story worth telling in this person’s life?”, “What’s the thing that makes this person’s life remarkable and of interest to a broader audience?”. 

Moore could have chosen to write about any number of things in Alan Turing’s life because it was remarkable in all kinds of ways. Any one of the plots or subplots could have been a riveting story in itself. In the film, Turing asks Detective Nock to judge who he is; a machine, a person, a war hero, or a criminal. Nock can’t make a judgement because Turing is all of these things, and more. For example, he’s also brilliant academically.

In the interview for the job, Commander Denniston calls him a prodigy and his credentials are listed. Oh, a sidenote here: The Imitation Game does a masterful job of using exposition as ammunition. This interview scene is the tip of the iceberg. Also, if you’re a member of the Story Grid Guild, we’ve studied this scene type so compare what we learned from Shawn with this example.

As writers, how do we craft a story about a person who is so fascinating that to leave out any area of their life would be to do the person, and the story, a disservice? 

We create a hierarchy.

I keep saying that stories have hierarchies and The Imitation Game is a terrific example of how multiple genres can be represented in a story, and give it depth, without jeopardizing the global genre.

The part of Turing’s life that the storytellers wanted to focus on, is the fact that he’s the man who cracked the Enigma which enabled the Allies to win the war. That becomes the topic for the global story and as such, is at the top of the hierarchy. Everything else in the story needs to serve that one goal—and boy, does it ever. They could have portrayed Turing as a war hero and ended the movie once the Enigma was cracked. That’s the core event of the business performance story. But they didn’t. Instead, they chose to put that about halfway through the film and they made it a turning point.

We’re watching the movie to find out how Alan Turing cracked the Enigma. That’s the part we’re waiting for. When it happens, we experience a brief catharsis until we realize that winning the war isn’t as simple as decrypting messages from the German military. Performance stories typically have a win-but-lose, lose-but-win ending. In Rocky, Rocky Balboa doesn’t win the match, but he goes the distance which is the best he could have hoped for. In Billy Elliot, Billy gets to go study ballet, but he has to leave his family behind. Here, Turing and his team crack Enigma, but they can’t use it to save the passenger convoy. They’ve got to be strategic so that they can win the war as quickly as possible without the Germans discovering that they know how to decrypt their messages. They can save a lot of lives, but not all the lives; millions, on both sides, will still die.

Turing wants to solve the puzzle, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that once he understands how the Enigma works, his job is done. Hugh even says that their job was to crack Enigma. But Turing understands that the job is to win the war. They started by deciphering a puzzle, and they end by playing a chess game with life and death stakes.

To end the story with the cracking of the Enigma would have only been half of that story. To end the film with the winning of the war, would have only been half of Alan Turing’s story. Yes, he’s a war hero, but he’s also socially awkward, tender-hearted, and brilliant. He’s rude and disrespectful but also capable of deep emotion and love, and self-sacrifice. 

In past episodes, I’ve talked about developing empathy for the protagonist. I’ve said that we’ve got to get our readers to become emotionally involved with the hero, and the story, as quickly as possible because that’s what hooks them and keeps them reading.

The Imitation Game opens with Turing as the accused and in a position of being judged. He’s in a position of having to defend himself, but we don’t yet know the charge. He’s been burglarized and since nothing has been taken, he dismissed the Bobbies. For no apparent reason, Nock suspects him and begins an investigation. As the story progresses, we learn more about Turing’s life, and the trauma and ridicule he suffered, and our empathy for him deepens, so does our respect and admiration.

The whole Enigma story is fascinating, but Turing’s story would be incomplete without reference to the charges that were laid against him, and the punishment he was forced to endure. However, the charges have nothing to do with the Enigma storyline, so as a writer, how do we approach this? Well, Graham Moore’s strategy was to create a framing story that’s integral to the global story. It’s linked thematically, but also has the same protagonist.

The film moves around in time; we see episodes from 1928, 1939-1945, and 1951. It includes two main stories (each with their own external and internal genres) and multiple sub-plots. Yet, because there’s a common theme running through everything, and it’s all about Alan, the movement from one storyline and one time period to another is seamless. Each part of the story informs the next. So, for example, when we see young Alan nailed beneath the floorboards, we better understand who the person is, and it increases our empathy for him. It enhances the wartime parts of the story, as well as the scenes from 1951. The various threads are playing off one another to create narrative drive.

I mentioned theme but unfortunately, I don’t have time to do a thorough analysis of it here on the show. I do encourage you to watch the film with the theme in mind. Every scene, every character, is either an expression of the theme, or the anti-theme. 

While you’re at it, examine the development of the characters in this film. They all exist to bring out aspects of Alan’s character and they all help to make him the multi-dimensional character that he is. 

A whole Story Grid analysis could be done on The Imitation Game and maybe one day I’ll get around to that. But the bottom line here is that this is the kind of story you can pull off when you understand story structure and how it works. I mean, they took the core event of a performance story, which is usually the ending payoff, and they made it the midpoint shift of a larger story. And they did it in such a way that it drove the story into high gear. It’s an amazing piece of storytelling.

 

Kim – Core Events

About Core Events

I am examining Core Events this season to better understand how to payoff a story’s global content genre and the experience our reader is hoping for. 

The Core Event is one of four elements in the Four Core Framework that make a content genre the experience that it is. This framework begins with the Core Need, which is represented by the Core Values. The protagonist pursues their need which causes the values to shift which evokes the Core Emotion in the reader. The Core Event is the peak moment of this shift and the height of the core emotion. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Core Events, I encourage you to check out two new titles available from Story Grid Publishing: The Four Core Framework by Shawn Coyne that explains the fundamental elements for each of the twelve content genres; and Four Core Fiction, an anthology of twelve original short stories written by SGCE, one for each of the twelve content genres, globally edited by myself and Rebecca Monterusso.

About Today’s Genre & Story

It was not easy to come to a decision about the Global Genre for The Imitation Game. There are multiple genres at play here across multiple time frames. Most notably to me are the elements of three Esteem tank genres–Performance, Society, and Status. This fits in with the War genre that we see as well, which stems from Safety tank but contains the closely related life values of Honor/Dishonor and Victory/Defeat … War also contains a baked in Society aspect, and Society has a baked in Crime aspect … and while not global, the Crime genre is part of the framing device of the story. These swirling layers are enough to make your head spin.

But ultimately, I landed on Status-Admiration. Despite the circumstances of his tragic death, this genre seems to best represent the legacy of Alan Turing’s life that the filmmakers wanted to share. 

I found an interview with screenwriter Graham Moore and director Morten Tyldum in which they talk about the narrative device of the three different time periods, and their intent to present the emotional truth of Alan Turing’s life, even if it meant taking liberties with historical accuracies. Status-Admiration seems to be inline with their intent. 

So as a refresher, here is the Cause & Effect Statement for Status-Admiration: 

When a sympathetic protagonist with nobility of character and motive, along with a sophisticated worldview, encounters misfortune but maintains their strength of thought/character, they will rise in spite of it.

The Four Core Framework for Status story

Core Need – Respect

Core Values – Success / Failure

Core Emotion – Admiration or Pity

Core Event – The Big Choice (where the protagonist must choose to either sellout their personal code in order to achieve success or adhere to personal code despite the outcome)

Here’s a quote from Story Grid beat The Four Core Framework by Shawn Coyne: “The universal takeaway or controlling idea of a Status story is: Staying true to one’s own values, whether or not this leads to social betterment, defines success. But if one sells out—exchanging their values for meaningless rank, praise, or acquisitions—the result is failure.” 

One thing that struck me was the fact that we are experiencing this story from a place of hindsight, recognizing the value of Alan Turing’s life and the contribution of his work, alongside the persecution and injustice that he faced. In spite of the tragic ending, as an audience I think we do admire him rather than pity him. 

But that said, while this Controlling Idea rings true overall, I did have trouble pinpointing a singular moment that encompasses it and pays off our audience expectations. 

We have the moment when they crack the code, which is significant and something we’ve been waiting for which is a major turning point in the story and leads to the global crisis of what do we do with this information? The dilemma is dramatized with the youngest member of the team having a brother on one of the ships. As members of the team scramble to use the phone in an effort to stop the attack, Alan intervenes and smashes the phone so no one can call. He takes a punch for it but then calmly explains that they can’t tell anyone that they’ve succeeded or all their efforts will be in vain. Alan is willing to be unpopular in order to do the right thing.

There is another moment in the ending payoff that signifies this as well. When Alan finds MI6 Agent Menzies searching his house and is told that Joan is in a military prison for selling secrets to the Soviets, Alan reveals that he knows the identity of the spy–Cairncross. He hadn’t turned him in before because Cairncross threatened to out Alan to his superiors if he did, which would have meant Alan would have been kicked out and unable to continue his work. But, believing that Joan was in danger, he offered up the information to save her. He chooses potential ruin to keep her safe. 

He then learns that Joan is not in fact in prison, but out shopping. Menzies tells Alan that he is going to include him as part of his misinformation scheme to keep anyone from finding out that they broke Enigma and also getting information to their Allies despite Churchill’s orders not to. Then we see Alan break off his engagement with Joan in an effort to keep her safe, outing himself to her and then telling her that he never cared for her. This is a proof of love moment and in line with Alan’s Status-Admiration genre. She slaps and rebukes him, refusing to leave Bletchley, but at least she is no longer connected with him and hopefully will be less of a bargaining piece to manipulate Alan. 

Finally we see the moment when Alan is convicted of public indecency and given the choice to go to prison for two years or to undergo chemical castration. He chooses the latter so that he can continue his work. Alan Turing has a moral obligation to his gift and work and holds that as his highest code. Much like Maximus had to learn to compromise his rigid method of defeating his enemy as a General of a great army, Alan is able to compromise his rigid method of working alone and instead learn to work as part of a team, which enables them to achieve their ends and win the war against Germany.

Because of the layers of Esteem tank happening here, it is difficult for me to parse the ending payoff apart. For a story that was criticized by some for being too “tidy” I don’t know that the ending payoff and Core Event came through in a tidy way at all. The experience is less like a Core moment and more like a takeaway impression.

Also it struck me that the story ends with a strong sentiment of Worldview-Education and Worldview-Disillusionment in this story, and how important it is to understand your significance in the world. This makes sense because so much of obtaining Esteem, Recognition, and Respect ties to how we view ourselves

If we can see our significance, our value, and our place of contribution in the world, the better we can navigate obtaining meeting our needs for Esteem, Recognition, and Respect–without putting conditions on our gift, being coopted, or selling out. But if not, if we lose our significance, value, or contribution, we will not be able to meet those needs. 

In fact, it’s almost as though the final superimposed text at the end of the film serves at the Core Event:

After a year of government-mandated hormonal therapy, Alan Turing committed suicide on June 7th 1954.

He was 41 years old.

Between 1885 and 1967, approximately 49,000 homosexual men were convicted of gross indecency under British law.

In 2013, Queen Elizabeth II granted Turning a posthumous royal pardon, honouring his unprecedented achievements.

Historians estimate that breaking Enigma shortened the war by more than two years, saving over 14 million lives.

It remained a government-held secret for more than 50 years.

Turing’s work inspired generations of research into what scientists called “Turning Machines.”

Today, we call them computers.

This is the moment when the world (and the audience of the film) recognizes and respects the actions of a man who gave his gift unconditionally and upheld his moral code despite adversity and persecution. Because Society has changed, we are now able to recognize Alan Turing, and the significance and contribution of his life to history.

 

Leslie – Point of View and Narrative Device

I’m continuing my study of POV and narrative device this season. If genre is what your story is about, POV and ND are how you deliver it to the reader or viewer. That’s why I firmly believe that your POV and narrative device choice is the most important decision you make after the global genre. 

The narrative device or situation answers these questions: who or what is telling the story and to whom, when and where are they telling the story, and why are they telling the story? POV is the technical element, which tells us whether it’s first or third-person, for example. It answers the question, how do we create the effect of the narrative device? These two elements of story perspective must work together to avoid undermining your story. 

What’s more, POV and Narrative Device give you valuable constraints to make decisions about what to include in your scenes and how—not at random or based on a whim, but to support and enhance your story. I explore this in my upcoming Story Grid beat on POV as well as my Bite Size episode on choosing your POV.

My bite size episode on choosing your POV can be found here, and you can find my article on narrative device here, and the article on POV here. If you have questions about POV and Narrative Device, I’d love to hear them. Leave a comment here, get in touch through the Guild, or submit your question through my site, Writership.com/POV.

What’s the narrative opportunity presented by the premise?

I start my analysis by asking about the opportunity presented by the premise. A story’s  premise describes a specific character(s) in a setting with a problem.

As Valerie explained, we have multiple story lines in The Imitation Game. The two that are most significant for purposes of POV and narrative device are the global Performance Story and the Crime Story. 

The Performance Story involves a mathematician who is part of a team tasked with cracking the Enigma machine code to prevent German attacks on the Allied forces during World War II. We feel the triumph the team feels when they solve the problem, which in a way fortifies us for the harder truth of facing the way that Turing was treated during and after the war. 

I see the Crime Story from a slightly different perspective. To me, the crime is committed against Turing by society as represented by the Manchester police detective, Nock. Turing faces the problem of exposing the criminal to itself in an attempt to obtain justice in 1951. To do this, he tells his story. 

If you combine the two premises, we have the opportunity to explore this question: How can we prevent society from suppressing and chilling the expression of the gifts of individuals, simply because they are different, when it is our combined gifts that help us solve the near-impossible problems we face that threaten our survival? 

What’s the POV?

Turing’s interview by Nock comes in the form of a first person narrative. But when we visit scenes from the past, through Turing’s memories, it feels more like selective omniscience, also called close third point of view. The framing story allows us to see the events from two vantage points in time: in triumph as Turing and the team crack the code and in shame as a national hero is persecuted. 

What’s the narrative device? 

The narrative device is overt here, so the who, to whom, when, where, and in what form are clear. Alan Turing tells his story to Robert Nock in the context of a police interview to answer the police detective’s question, “What did you really do during the war?” The interview happens in an interrogation room in 1951. The War is over, Turing is working in Manchester, but no one is allowed to talk about solving the Enigma machine problem. So that’s the narrative device.

What’s the controlling idea? 

I often say that the controlling idea should align with or make sense in light of the narrator’s purpose in telling the story. Sometimes it’s the narrator’s purpose, but sometimes it’s the primary message they or the reader is left with at the end of the story.  On the surface, Turing explains what he did to get himself released from custody. But the bigger why seems to address what I identify as the controlling idea of the story: Shame and tyranny reign when the system is the perpetrator, suppressing the gifts of individuals that would benefit society.

The film shows us how vital Turing’s gifts were to the war effort; it’s estimated that the combined efforts shortened the war by two years and saved the lives of 14 million people. Who knows what other problems he might have solved had he not been prosecuted for being different. And if we’re paying attention, we can’t help but ask, what benefits to society are we losing today because we haven’t learned this lesson and society continues to suppress the gifts of those who are different? 

How well does it work? 

How well do the creators leverage the opportunity presented by the premise? The narrative situation is a stroke of genius. The Performance story alone wouldn’t deliver the same message with the same level of impact that we get when it’s combined with the Crime Story. Imagine if the Crime Story were reduced to a footnote at the end. We would feel the missed opportunity, but not in the same way.

Again, as presented, we feel the triumph of the team’s success, and we understand the contribution Turing made. And we get the impression that it was a very near thing. There were many moments when Turing could have been derailed by others who didn’t understand his value because he was different. 

We also feel shame because of the way society suppresses gifts as a matter of course. The story allows us to see the same events from different vantage points, and it allows us to get the bigger message of the story and possibly, hopefully, change our behavior. 

This story is worthy of further study, especially if your global story needs another story or two to provide different perspectives—not from different characters but from different times and relative to different events. The Crime Story allows us to step back and see the real harm that happens when the gifts of individuals are suppressed.

 

Final Thoughts and Takeaways for Writers

We like to round out our discussion with a few key takeaways for writers who want to level up their own writing craft. 

Kim:  My big takeaway today is how knowing the heart of what you’re trying to convey and the core emotional experience you want your reader to have can guide your decision making, especially when the story is multifaceted and complex. Using your intent and theme as your core will allow you to explore multiple timeframes and even genres, while still presenting a coherent and meaningful narrative. 

Leslie: When you consider your POV and narrative device choice, don’t be afraid to consider a wide range of possibilities. Look at masterworks in novels, short stories, films, and long-form TV. Look at your story from different perspectives, consider who could tell the story and in what form, and write practice scenes so you can see the effect that’s created. You’ll make a better decision if you cast a wider net. 

Valerie: The Imitation Game has lots of lessons to teach us, but the key takeaway for me is this: we’ve got to make sure we thoroughly understand story structure and the elements of storytelling so that we know how to use them to tell the story we want to tell.

 

Listener Question

To wind up the episode, we take questions from our listeners. This week’s question comes to us from Elissa McColl on the Story Grid Guild.

I’m interested in hearing about your individual processes when it comes to tackling your revisions.

Thank you for question, Elissa!

Before I share my process for revisions, I have two important points I want to mention up front.

First, while the storytelling principles are universal, your method of processing information and making decisions is unique and so your revision process will likely be as unique to you as your ideation and drafting process. And while it can be fun and useful to hear other people’s processes, be careful not to try to shoehorn your brain into a process that isn’t a good fit. The goal of all of this is to give your gift and share your story with others, so please use whatever process you need to make that happen. If my brain’s way of doing things helps you find your brain’s way to do that, I’m glad.

The other is that before you can aptly determine your process for revisions, it’s important to understand what it is you’re trying to accomplish. What is the standard of success you are measuring against? Is it a specific craft principle? Is it a specific reader experience? Is it a specific deadline? What is the proverbial cost, time, and quality triangle when it comes to your story? If you can only have two, what are you willing to sacrifice? So knowing what matters to you is really important when you set out to craft a story. Or else how will YOU know when you’re done?

So with that, here’s a bit about my personal writing process when it comes to handling revisions.

Whatever the medium, my brain approaches crafting a story like a filmmaker, with three distinct phases:

Pre-production

Production

Post-Production

Production is the drafting phase, when I record my story scene by scene in prose. Now any good filmmaker will tell you that the most important phase is in face pre-production–the work that you do before you hit record. Too many filmmakers just want to get shooting and so they invariably say “Don’t worry, we’ll fix it in post.” But post-production can only fix so much.

But today we’re not making a film, we’re writing a novel, so our post-production process is different. We don’t have to bring actors back in after the fact to reshoot something if we can’t actually fix it in post. We just write a new scene. This is great news! But it’s also a caution because without clear constraints from the beginning, it is difficult to tell what is working and not working. We need that standard to measure against. And this is why the Story Grid method and tools are so valuable. They give us a means to measure what’s working for specific aspects of our story.

So for me, it’s difficult to talk about revisions without talking about pre-production (ideation and outlining) because that is when my revisions begin. I vet my global story idea countless times before I ever “record my draft”. In the interview with Graham Moore that I mentioned earlier he talked quite a bit about his writing process where he creates iterations of the story, each one longer than the next: What is the story in one sentence, what is the story in five sentences, in a page, in 20 pages.

This what pre-production looks for me, or as some may call it, the zero draft. I revise the story idea over and over and over during this time, until my global story has a spine and my Foolscap rings true. From here I work my way through the units of story—Acts, Sequences, Scenes, continuing to revise my ideas until I have a solid idea of what each scene in my list should “be about”.

Then I shift to Production and capturing each scene on the page. This is the most painful process for me personally.

After I have a draft, I happily jump into post-production, where (in film terms) we have a screening party and watch the rough cut together. In novel terms, this means reading the draft you have (without making any changes) and asking your trusted editing friends to read it also. Then you share notes about what is working and what’s not and decide on a course of action. Because of the amount of global revisions I tackle in pre-production, the draft is reasonably close. A global story structure exists, scenes (mostly) turn, etc. So this where I can shift  my revision lens from Macro to Micro, looking at each scene as it’s own unit of story to ensure it is doing what the global story needs it to.

Once my scene order is locked, I (and my editor) refine the lens even more and go beat by beat and line by line to highlight the theme/controlling idea and the reader’s mental and emotional experience. I don’t stop until I feel with conviction that the story produces the emotional effect in the reader that I intended.

I hope this is useful to you Elissa. If you want to talk more about revisions or are stuck on a project, I invite you to join me each month for a free editing workshop. Go to www.kimberkessler.com to get access.

Join us next time when Leslie will look at Point of View and Narrative Device in the film Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Why not give it a look during the week, and follow along with us?

Your Roundtable Story Grid Editors are Valerie Francis, Kim Kessler, and Leslie Watts.

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About the Author

Leslie Watts is a certified Story Grid editor, writer, and podcaster. She’s been writing for as long as she can remember: from her sixth-grade magazine about cats to writing practice while drafting opinions for an appellate court judge. When the dust settled after her children were born, she launched www.Writership.com to help writers unearth the treasure in their manuscripts. She believes writers become better storytellers through practice, and that editors owe a duty of care to help writers with specific and supportive guidance to meet reader expectations and express their unique gifts in the world.
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