Editor Roundtable: Live from Nashville

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We’re in Nashville this week for Story Grid University’s second Editor Certification course. Join us for some lively interviews with the students who are about to join the exclusive club of Story Grid Certified Editors, along with our own insights and next steps.


If you have a question about any story principle, you can ask it on Twitter @storygridRT, or better still, by clicking here and leaving us a voice message.

Join us next time when we’ll Anne pitches Love Actually as a great example of miniplot.

Your Roundtable Story Grid Editors are Jarie Bolander, Valerie Francis, Anne Hawley, Kim Kessler, and Leslie Watts.

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.
Comments (9)
Author Leslie Watts

9 Comments

Peter B. Dudley says:

I hated the part where it was implied that a pantser would have trouble with the Story Grid method. I’m a committed pantser and equally committed Story Grid Nerd. Right now I’m approaching the final payoff of my novel and I’m unsure how I can bring it up to a power of ten. The BH and MB of this thriller were very intense, so it is a problem I’m facing. But I want to find out how I’ll do it. I am the first reader of this story so my experience is exactly like any other reader. If I was a plodder (plotter), I would already know the spoiler and the damn writing would be a boring task. Pantsing is like a Hero’s Journey, I know where I want to get to. There will be obstacles. I have to face them with everything on the line. If I fail, which is possible, the trip will be worth the effort. It already has been.
Note: I began writing for revenge, after being sued for $9 million. So I might have a different take on risks than most other authors.

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Kimberly Kessler says:

Thank you for saying this, Pete! I wholeheartedly agree—Story Grid can be useful for all storytellers, wherever they fall on the planner / pantser bell curve. And wherever in their process they choose to apply the principles and tools—before/during/after!

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Valerie Francis says:

Hi Peter,
I’m not sure which part you’re referring to, but if it was when I mentioned my author friend, my point was that SG isn’t for her. The method doesn’t interest her and that’s fine. It’s not a pantser/plotter argument tbh. Story Grid is primarily an editing tool, so how an author comes up with a first draft is a personal choice. The question we have to answer for ourselves is, how do we want to evaluate the structure of that draft?

Good luck with your WIP!

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Peter B. Dudley says:

Like I said, I’m a pantser, but I don’t use Story Grid strictly as an editing tool. When I’m writing, I’m doing it within the confines of SG structure. For example, If I’m not sure about how the next scene, I’ll start with the climax, what decision does my protagonist have to make next in the story? There may already be an inciting incident or I need to create one. Then I add progressive complications, climax and maybe resolution.

I think many authors cannot have their “editor mind” around when they’re writing. I can. I can switch between “creator” and “editor” easily. The only rule I must follow is the “editor” cannot start the writing, because if they do, he or sometimes she, starts with such high expectations that nothing can get done.

After the beginning, they work as a team.

So, Story Grid is involved right from the start of my writing.

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Thomas Womack says:

lively and thought-provoking conversation! thanks for sharing it!

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Lynne Favreau says:

You Dear Story Grid Editors, I’ve been around here long enough to witness your move through commenting and questioning Story Grid’s first lessons, to becoming editors and teachers. I’m so grateful for all you share, not only clarifying the principles, and how to apply them but your personal journeys. I confess the beginning of this episode evoked a poignant reminder that I haven’t been as dedicated a pupil, but your examples of how much you’ve learned over the last two years, and that I can still show up where I am, buoys me, as does the notion that I don’t have to read the Russians, whew! THANK YOU! Valerie, you are special!!! OMG, Flat earthers!!! The joy and mirth alone is worth listening to.

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Kimberly Kessler says:

Thank you for sticking with us on this ride, Lynne! It’s an absolute privilege to get to do this work and share what we learn along the way. So glad your spirit has been buoyed. The (round) world needs your story!!! 😉

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dave in van says:

Trying to get the sense of a contemporary fiction reader. From this podcast I’m getting: a university educated female of means whose primary narrative/story sense/taste comes from film. Sound about right?

Great stuff as always.

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