What does it take to write a world-changing nonfiction book?

You have a great idea for a book.

You know it will change people’s lives.

The difficulty is turning that idea into a book.

You’ve been thinking about this book idea for a long time. It’s been on your mind. You talk to people about it. You share it with people. 

Maybe you’ve tried to start writing about it in a blog post or an article. Or maybe you’ve imagined yourself giving a killer TED Talk that breaks the Internet.

You know it needs to be a book, but you keep getting stuck.

You’ve read amazing books that have changed your life. You’ve also read books that were a waste of your time.

How do you craft a book in such a way that people will finish the book and tell their friends about it?

"Story Grid actually grew out of nonfiction. So all of the tools we use at Story Grid are perfectly applicable to nonfiction—in fact, they’re indispensable. . . . I can teach you how to structure your work to create a perennial bestseller, something that people read and share with their friends. Something that will change other people’s lives."

— Shawn Coyne, author and founder of The Story Grid

How do you get from your great idea to a finished book that will change people's lives?

You know it's time to get down to work, but the prospect of writing a whole book is daunting.

No, it's downright scary.

You know how to type. You know how to string words into sentences into paragraphs. But every time you start working on this book, or even thinking about working on this book, you get stuck.

You feel like you're staring at a 20,000-foot climb, and you don't even have the right boots on.

If you’re going to climb a mountain, you need equipment, training, and a guide. This is where Story Grid comes in.

"I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I got out of school, but I haven’t written anything. Story Grid is the chance to grab onto a process and a structure—and also a community of people who are doing the same thing."

— James Pier

Train with an expert who can show you the ropes.

Join Shawn Coyne for the Story Grid Big Idea Seminar.

Shawn Coyne, an editor with over 30 years of experience in the publishing world, created Story Grid to provide the maps and tools writers need to create stories that work. He has helped bestselling authors, including Harlan Coben, Steven Pressfield, James Lee Burke, Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, and others bring brilliant books into the world and reach millions of readers.

"The breadth of Shawn’s knowledge and what he has studied is staggering, and he’s able to put it all together. . . . This is invaluable. It’s revolutionary."

—Sally Driscoll, writer
Austin, Texas

A Big Idea book brings together the best elements of many types of nonfiction, from academic writing to “how-to” books to memoirs.

Getting people to think differently and embrace new ideas isn’t easy. But nothing worthwhile is easy.

Shawn’s Story Grid system for nonfiction can help you shape your ideas, prepare micro- and macro-scale plans, and then take the steps to complete your journey.

"I’m coming away with not only techniques, which is what I came looking for, but I’m actually having insights and breakthroughs. . . . The benefit of this workshop for my reader is that they’re going to be hooked into the idea that I’m writing about earlier and also be transformed by the reading of the book, rather than just coming away with information. . . . It’s also strangely and unexpectedly transforming me as a person as well!"

— Darren Rowse, author, speaker, and founder of Problogger.net
Melbourne, Australia

"It was very intense, but through osmosis, I now have this really deep understanding of how Story works. . . . Before [the seminar], I could see that things didn’t work, but I had absolutely no way of articulating why they didn’t work.  Now if I’m working with a client and I need to articulate to them why something’s not working . . . I now have the language to do that."

— Kelly Exeter, author and editor, Flying Solo online business community
Perth, Western Australia

What do students have to say about the program?

What is included in the Big Idea Nonfiction Seminar?

8+ Hours of Video Training by Shawn Coyne

  • The Big Picture: Where do stories come from? What common traits to fiction and nonfiction stories share—and how do they differ? How do great stories help people survive and thrive in the world?
  • Story Spine: How can a strong story spine anchor the beginning, middle, and end of your book and keep readers emotionally involved?
  • Human Needs: Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs provides a framework for understanding how different kinds, or genres, of stories work.
  • Understanding Genre: Each story type, or genre, sets up readers’ expectations. If you don’t understand your genre, you’ll never meet those expectations and readers will walk away confused and disappointed.
  • The 5 Commandments of Storytelling: Every Big Idea book needs to abide by some storytelling essentials in order to grab and hold an audience.
  • Units of Story: Shawn shares his Russian doll theory of story structure.
  • Foolscap Global Story Grid: According to historian and novelist Norm Stahl, “God made a legal-sized piece of yellow foolscap paper just long enough to outline an entire project." That’s how Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, starts every book. You should too.
  • The Story Grid Spreadsheet: Shawn will introduce you to the scene-by-scene micro-analysis tool that is at the heart of his methodology.
  • How to Build Your Own Story Grid: Learn how to plan your readers’ experience on the micro and macro levels with a powerful visual tool.

Exclusive Story Grid Tools and Resources

You’ll leave the seminar with books, worksheets, and spreadsheets—plus answers to dozens of frequently asked questions.

  • The Story Grid: What Good Editors Know. The book that started it all, which includes an in-depth analysis of Thomas Harris’s classic thriller, The Silence of the Lambs.
  • The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell: A Story Grid Masterworks Analysis Guide. No one knows nonfiction storytelling like Malcolm Gladwell. The Guide walks you through Gladwell’s masterwork scene-by-scene to see how he does it.
  • What's the Big Idea? A compact introduction to four types of nonfiction, and a deep dive into what makes Big Idea books tick.  
  • Story Grid Spreadsheet of The Tipping Point. A microscopic analysis of every scene in Gladwell’s book.
  • Foolscap Global Story Grid of The Tipping Point. One masterwork. One sheet of paper. A bird’s-eye view of how it works.
  • Story Grid Graph of The Tipping Point. Visualize the rise and fall of the book’s complications, crises, and resolutions in a whole new way.
  • A Blank Foolscap Global Story Grid. This is where your journey starts—with a one-page roadmap.
  • A Blank Story Grid Spreadsheet. Find out what’s working and what’s broken in your own work-in-progress by building a Story Grid spreadsheet.
  • 6+ Hours of Q&A. Listen to Shawn answer some of the most common questions from writers just like you.

If you’re a writer with ideas to share, Story Grid has got your back. 

If you’re an editor who wants to help others tell their true stories better, Shawn can show you how.

Story Grid’s methods can save years of frustration by showing you how great nonfiction stories work and giving you the tools and support you’ll need to write your own Big Idea book and share your ideas with the world.

Let's climb this mountain together.

Join Now

$127/mo for 6 months