Secrets of the Worldview Genre

Download the Worldview Genre Cheatsheet

What if I told you that Worldview stories are crucial to human evolution, vital to our basic survival, part of what makes us human? What if I said there is an invisible mesh-like structure holding almost every story together? And what if I could help you decipher that mesh and unlock your readers’ understanding of their world? That mesh is the Worldview story. It’s hardwired in our brains. It’s the story that pervades all of human societies because it’s how we think. The Worldview genre is not limited to Coming-of-Age, Young Adult, or Maturation stories. It can feature protagonists of any ages and appeal to a wide variety of audiences. It can involve rites of passage or revelation. It forms the internal genre and emotional backbone of almost any Hero’s or Heroine’s Journey. The Worldview genre is the story within every story, and mastering it is imperative for every writer.

So let’s examine the basics of the Worldview Genre.

Need to get familiar with the Story Grid’s categorization of genres first? A refresher is here. “The Worldview Maturation Story is essentially the hero’s journey. All stories have maturation built into them as each story’s change arc requires the protagonist to shift their point of view in order to attain wisdom or experience….WORLDVIEW is an arch-plot (single protagonist) or mini-plot (multiple protagonists) internal genre, showing the process by which cognitive dissonance upsets the balance of a character’s life, requiring a shift in their view of reality.” —Shawn Coyne The Worldview Genre is huge so we’ll break this down first by the overall genre and then by subgenre. All stories are about change. In the Worldview Genre the protagonist must change by overcoming something within themselves, giving up a want in order to get what they need, which is generally a new and more mature, clear, meaningful or informed view of life. Worldview stories can be Prescriptive or Cautionary. They help readers or viewers draft a narrative around their own possibilities, limitations, decisions and need for change.

We’re drawn to Worldview stories for similar reasons.

Core Emotion is what a reader wants to feel–the reason they choose a particular type of story. It’s what they want to experience through story without potential real-life consequences. According to Norman Friedman, The Core Emotion of the Worldview genre varies according to the subgenre. People choose a Worldview story to experience hope, relief, or satisfaction by emerging whole from a threat to their internal status quo, or to feel a sense of loss or pity for a less fortunate character. We’ll go into the four subgenres below.

What is a Worldview story?

As Shawn Coyne demonstrates in the Story Grid Gas Gauge of Need, a Worldview story is driven by the protagonist’s need for self-actualization. When Worldview is your primary genre, your protagonist is not concerned with staying alive (as in an Action story), or with safety and security (as in a Crime story), but with fulfilling their talents and their potential, making sense of the world, and understanding their role in it.

 What are the values at stake in a Worldview story?

Values in a story shape your protagonist’s arc. They drive the characters’ actions and choices. The Global Value describes the path along which the protagonist changes from the beginning of the story to the end. The Global Value of a Worldview story depends upon the subgenre. Generally, a Worldview story runs along this line:

What’s the Controlling Idea of a Worldview Story?

A Controlling Idea of a story is the “lesson” your reader comes away with, the meaning they apply to your story. Also called a Theme, it’s the single sentence summing up the argument your story attempts to prove through narrative. This is made overt and transparent in non-fiction works such as the Big Idea Book and is usually only implied in fiction. (I’ll do more posts on this in the future.) The Controlling Idea of a Worldview Story depends on the subgenre (see below) but here is how we Certified Story Grid Editors wrap them together: If your story is positive your controlling idea will go something like this: Sophistication, wisdom and/or meaning prevail when we learn to express our gifts in a world that we accept as paradoxical and/or imperfect. Basically, we grow the heck up, stop seeing the world in only black-and-white terms, and start seeing and allowing for all those grays. If your story is negative you’ll have a controlling idea like this: Ignorance, naiveté or meaninglessness reign when we fail to mature past a black-and-white view of the world. In other words, we don’t grow up. We don’t mature because we’re stuck in the worldview  conventionally belonging to a child or adolescent. Yikes.

What are genre conventions

and why do we need them?

Here’s how Coyne explains Conventions: “They are elements in the Story that must be there or the reader will be confused, unsettled or so bored out of their skull that no matter how beautiful the sentences, they’ll quit reading. Conventions are not obligatory scenes…they are specific requirements in terms of the Story’s cast or methods in moving the plot forward (minor revelatory turning points that must be there but can be weaved into the story at the writer’s discretion).”

What are the Conventions of the Worldview Genre?

Each Worldview subgenre has its own conventions, but here is what they all seem to have in common:
  • The protagonist has at least one strong mentor figure. Sometimes they, instead, have several less involved mentor figures whose advice collectively adds up to the whole.
  • Mentor examples are Emperor Marcus Aurelius of the film Gladiator, Atticus Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird, Mr. Miyagi of The Karate Kid films, Glenda the Good Witch of The Wizard of Oz.
  • At least one large social problem is the subtext of the story. Examples are ageism, racism, misogyny, and class.
  • There is a clear threat of escalating danger, even if the danger is limited to the psyche of the protagonist.
  • There is at least one shapeshifter or hypocrite character capable of directly impacting the protagonist. This is a secondary character who says one thing and does another. Usually this character first appears as a helper and then become a hinderer but this can be reversed. The shapeshifter’s levels of antagonism can vary greatly between characters and stories.
  • The Worldview story follows a cause and effect trajectory as the protagonist pursues their object of desire from beginning to end.
  • The protagonist sees the world not as it is but as they believe it to be. They are focused on their want instead of their need. This external object of desire forces them to face a specific longstanding problem or fear.
  • Through character action, the protagonist is forced to change in order to get what they need. This change results from conflict. A critical flaw of the protagonist must be remedied for them to self-actualize.
  • Character development is accelerated, generally happening much faster and more definitively than in “real life.”

 What are Obligatory Scenes and why do they matter?

Coyne describes obligatory scenes as “must-have scenes for paying off readers’ expectations as set up by the conventions of the genre.” If you leave out a scene, you’ll have a story that doesn’t work. The scenes, in the Worldview Genre, closely follow the classic Hero’s or Heroine’s Journey.

What are the Obligatory Scenes

of the Worldview Genre?

  • There’s an inciting incident that challenges the protagonist’s worldview.
  • The protagonist denies the responsibility to respond to the opportunity or challenge.
  • Forced to respond, the protagonist lashes out against the requirement to change behavior. They resist change and rely on old habits.
  • The protagonist learns what the external antagonist’s object of desire is.
  • The protagonist’s initial strategy to outmaneuver the antagonist fails.
  • There is a clear “point of no return,” the moment when the Protagonist knows they can never go back to the way things used to be. There must be a precise moment when the protagonist’s worldview is knocked out of alignment.
  • During an All Is Lost moment, the protagonist realizes they must change their black and white view of the world to allow for the paradoxical nature of life.
  • The protagonist’s gifts are expressed as acceptance of an imperfect world. This is the Core Event of the Worldview story.
  • The Protagonist’s loss of innocence is rewarded with a deeper understanding of the universe based on their actions in the Core Event.
  • There is a paradoxical win-but-lose, lose-but-win, bittersweet ending. The protagonist gets what they need but not what they want, or vice-versa. There are clear sacrifices either way.

What are the four Worldview subgenres?


The Maturation story is about the protagonist’s shift in worldview from naiveté to sophistication. The Core Emotion for the reader or viewer at the end of this story is either hope and satisfaction, or relief, at the protagonist’s having emerged whole from a threat to their belief system. The Controlling Idea of a Maturation story on the positive side is: Sophistication prevails when we learn to express our gifts in a world which we accept as paradoxical and imperfect. The character begins as flawed, with a negative attitude regarding some aspect of life. Their story arc is an attitude change from negative to positive. A less common variation is the negative version in which the flawed character fails to grow or mature: Naiveté reigns when we fail to accept the paradoxical and imperfect nature of the world. Examples of the Maturation story are the movies Saturday Night Fever; Love, Simon; and The 40-Year-Old Virgin; the novel Cerberon; and the TV series Friends (comedy) and Dawson’s Creek (drama).


The Disillusionment story is about the protagonist’s shift in worldview from belief to disillusionment. The protagonist begins with an optimistic or positive view of some aspect of life and ends with a negative or pessimistic view of it. Sometimes referred to as the Degradation Plot, this story is essentially the opposite of the Education plot. The Core Emotion the reader or viewer seeks from a Disillusionment story is a feeling of loss or pity for the protagonist whose belief has been eroded. The Controlling Idea of a Disillusionment story: Disillusionment reigns when we fail to accept the paradoxical nature of the world. The flawed character begins with a positive attitude regarding some aspect of life. Their story arc is an attitude change from positive to negative. Examples of the Disillusionment story are the novels The Great Gatsby and Love Me Back.


The Education story is about a protagonist’s shift in worldview from meaninglessness to meaning. A sympathetic protagonist faces a threat to their view of life and emerges into a new and better kind of wholeness at the end. Their story arc is an attitude change in which the familiar takes on new meaning. The Education story is not written to educate the reader, but to show the protagonist “becoming someone.” This story is essentially the opposite of the Disillusionment plot. The Core Emotion the audience is searching for in this story is relief and pleasure at the protagonist’s having emerged whole from a threat to their belief system. The Controlling Idea of an Education story is: We gain meaning when we learn to express our gifts in a world which we accept as paradoxical and imperfect. Examples of the Education story are Educating Rita, Tender Mercies, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.


The revelation story is about the protagonist’s shift in worldview from ignorance to knowledge, through the revelation of hidden information. The Core Emotion the reader or viewer feels at the end of this story is relief or satisfaction when the protagonist learns what is essential in time to avoid disaster, OR pity and horror when the protagonist finds out too late. The Controlling Idea of a Revelation story is: Right action is possible only when we have a clear knowledge of reality, OR Disaster reigns when live in ignorance of reality. The character begins lacking some crucial knowledge. Their story arc is a change in both attitude and action as the missing knowledge is revealed. Examples of the Revelation story are Oedipus Rex and Arrival.

What about characterization in a Worldview story?

Coyne has said, “Character is Action.” It’s not what they’re thinking or saying that defines your characters, but how they choose to act and what they do. How does this play out in the Worldview story, where the choices and changes are often internal? “Action” does not have to mean gunfire or fistfights. An action can be as simple as setting the glass of whiskey down. Leaving the house. Turning down a backroad. Clicking on “send.” There are two places in each scene where the old “Show, don’t tell” rule is crucial: the Turning Point and the Climax. Even–maybe especially–in a quiet, internal Worldview story, concrete character action is essential. Show what the character is thinking, deciding or feeling by what they’re doing. In story, change requires conflict. Lots of conflicts. So, your protagonist has to mature in opposition to an antagonistic force, person, or people.

Additional suggestions regarding

the Worldview Genre:

Compare and integrate the Hero’s Journey (Joseph Campbell) or The Virgin’s Promise (Kim Hudson) with the obligatory scenes and conventions of the Worldview Genre. Change is hard and requires loss. See if you can weave in Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ change curve with your story arc. For example, the Inciting Incident of the global story correlates to Shock, Progressive Complication #1 correlates to Denial, Progressive Complication #2 with Anger. Progressive Complication #3 could correspond with the Bargaining Phase, the Turning Point with Depression, the Crisis with Deliberation, the Climax with Choice, and the Resolution with Integration. Consider one of these external content genres as your story’s secondary genre: Action, War, Love, Crime, Thriller, Society, or Performance. Also, consider the internal genre of Status. Think of all the lessons a protagonist could learn as she tries to improve her position within a hierarchical society.

Time to put it all together.

Now you have the basic keys to the Worldview Genre and many of the tools you’ll need to write better Worldview stories. The way to put this all together is to read widely within the genre. Compare the masterworks of the genre. Imagine your story arc by using the values at stake in the Worldview Genre. Get your words on the page and then compare your work to those masterworks. Check your work with The Story Grid book and against the Worldview Genre secrets here. Use what you learn to edit your work and finish that story. Your readers, like me, are waiting for stories that will help us navigate and better understand our world. We’re ready to grow the heck up.

Check out Secrets of the Worldview Genre, Part Two, where I lay out all of the key scenes for a working Worldview story.

Need some extra help completing your manuscript? Grab a spot on my calendar for a free half-hour consultation so we can determine how I can best help you meet your story goals. Interested in other articles I’ve written on genre? Check out these links: Secrets of the Performance GenreSecrets of the Morality GenreSecrets of the Status GenreSecrets of the Society GenreSecrets of Writing MemoirSecrets of the Crime GenreSecrets of the Worldview GenreSecrets of the War GenreSecrets of the Action GenreSecrets of the Thriller, Part One and TwoSecrets of the Horror Genre , Secrets of the Western Genre, and Secrets of the Love Genre, Secrets of the Big Idea Book, Part One, and Part Two. I wish you the best of luck and hard work with your story.

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About the Author

Rachelle Ramirez is a developmental editor for award-winning and bestselling authors but her favorite work is with first-time novelists and narrative nonfiction writers. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her family, ridiculous dogs, and a few too many urban chickens. You can see more at her website
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tomalexwhitham says:

I can’t begin to explain how thankful I am for this article. I’m currently trying to fix a shaky first draft of a Worldview story and this has given me so much to think about.

Thank you, Rachel!
(And of course, Sean)

Rachelle Ramirez says:

Worldview is a tough Genre because of the huge variability in story possibilities. The arcs, focus, and subtle approach needed are a complex puzzle with magnificent potential. I love the Worldview Genre because of how essential the story is. If you need any assistance with your manuscript, consider that I do free 30 minute consultations for writers. We can get pretty far in a half hour. Look at the value shifts first, your object of desire, narrow down your subgenre, and then attack the obligatory scenes and conventions. You have all the tools you need to get this done and assistance (from any Story Grid Editor) to get the manuscript where you need it to be. You can contact me directly at

Kristine Ghavami says:

Hi Rachelle,

I recently heard of StoryGrid through Savannah Gilbo (if you have heard of her). She recommended anyone who wanted to learn more to check out StoryGrid. I’ve been writing since the 4th grade and recently been working on an idea I thought of while I’ve faced difficulties in my life. I find writing to be rejuvenating but more so, it’s a passion and strength of mine.

Kristi says:

This discussion is so helpful to me as I plan my revisions. I appreciate it when you say: “especially in a quiet, internal Worldview story, concrete character action is essential.” I’m planning all kinds of trouble for my main characters! Thanks again for a masterful Story Grid diagnostic of my first draft, Rachelle!

Rachelle Ramirez says:

Your story is one that needs to be told. I am so excited to see where you take it! Kristi, I benefited so much from our working together, it really helped me craft this article. I kept thinking of you as my target audience. As far as the “quiet” discussion, that was a gem from fellow Story Grid Editor Anne Hawley. Kudos to her in all that she shares and teaches.

Irene says:

What a detailed, useful, generous article this is. Rachelle, I can’t thank you enough for sharing this. I’m feeling deeply grateful and enlightened too!

Rachelle Ramirez says:

Irene, Thank you for commenting. Best of luck on your Worldview story. I know it’s not easy to be innovative in this genre but it is an important one. No one can tell the story you are meant to tell so keep at it. If you get stuck, feel free to contact me. I do free thirty minute consultations and we could get pretty far in that amount of time.

Daniel says:

Hi, Thank you for writing this post. It is helping me flesh out a story I have been thinking about and world building for during the last month. I love the story and want to tell it well.

Could you give a list of some books in the Worldview – Education genre?

Thank you again.

Wren Kenny says:

I’m fortunate enough to live near 3 other story-gridders. I thought I was writing a romantic comedy, spy story which I described to an agent as ‘If Helen Fielding and Janet Evanovich spilled coffee on Stella Rimington.” Though my novel contains elements of humour, romance, danger and spycraft, from our two meetings at Wine O’Clock in Prosser, Kim Kessler challenged that I might be writing women’s/society or worldview/maturation or revelation. I read this today, and I most definitely am writing a worldview story and it’s revelations that bring maturation. Thanks for this article. It will really help me moving forward.

Rachelle Ramirez says:

I am so glad this post helped you find your way into your story structure. In a love story with two protagonists (as opposed to only one lover as your protagonist) you have three stories to track. You have the primary love story external genre (Courtship? Marriage? Obsessive Love?) and you have an internal genre for each protagonist. I’m sure that’s not more than you can chew and that the stories will flow naturally together as you get further into your process. In order to be worthy of love or able to love, each character must change for the better. It’s what will bring them together. You can do it. One step at a time. Main genre first. Primary protagonist second. Secondary protagonist third. The first two should meet all conventions and obligatory scenes. The third can have more happening off the page as long as the change arc is clear. Bridgette Jones’ Diary is a good example. Her arc is all on the page, his isn’t. But we see clearly how he made the changes, where he started and where he ended up in a different place with a logical progression that deeply impacted their love story. But she could not have met him there if she hadn’t had an equal or bigger change in herself. I don’t want to suggest Bridgette Jones’ Diary is the masterwork of the genre. Just an example I know you’re familiar with. I wish you the best in your process.

Izzy Chaudhary says:

Rachelle, this is so helpful, thank you. I’ve been racking my brains to see how my story fits into any fully-fledged genre, and here it all is, in a nutshell. I’ll set to now, with your very clear and helpful outline in mind, as I work on the next draft. How do I go about getting a 30 minute session with you?

Rachelle Ramirez says:

Hello Izzy, Thank you. My current work in progress is a Worldview story as well. I am overlapping Worldview and Society in my next level draft plan and having a great time getting creative with the Virgin’s Promise, Kubler-Ross Change Curve, and Shawn’s 15 key scene structure. I’d love to chat with you about your story. You can find me at or email me directly at [email protected].

Miles White says:

I have read this article a few times now and I understand it well enough now, but I’m still stuck on finding the right external genre for my novel, though it is definitely some kind of Worldview story. Does Worldview work as an external genre is what I keep turning over.

Rachelle Ramirez says:

Hello Miles, This is an excellent question. I answered this question for you in the LUYC Forum. If you’d like help finding your external genre, you can contact me (or any other Story Grid Editor) for a free 30-minute consultation call. I’m willing to bet your external genre is already right there, hiding in plain sight. It’s hard to write a story without a secondary genre, even when we want to. What actions and conflict are getting in the way of your protagonist’s want? What type of antagonist do you have? What does the antagonist do to prevent the protagonist meeting their goals? What does the character have to overcome in order to get what they need? What is the inciting incident of the story? The turning point? The climax? These usually point to secondary genres as well.

Tara says:

I’m really torn between whether my main one is worldview or society. Essentially, it’s a story about how when you lack self esteem and don’t value yourself, you seek validation elsewhere and give away your power. You become manipulated and controlled by others.

There’s two female protagonists. One is a people pleaser and finds herself in an abusive relationship that slowly gets worse. She loses her power and is humiliated but secretly starts working to get her life back, builds her self esteem and successfullly escapes.

The other is younger and feels like she doesn’t fit in. She ends up with another group who feel rejected by society. The men with the power in this group are another race which adds another layer of rejection by society and makes her even more vulnerable. She ends ups being manipulated by the man she gets into a relationship with, groomed and prostituted out. A fellow girl she’s friends with is murdered by a punter but she’s still sent out to work by her boyfriend the following night. She ends up trying to commit suicide.

The two women’s lives cross at different points and the first one tries to be the helper/mentor to the second towards the end. We’re left not knowing whether the second one makes the changes or returns to life on the street.

There are lots of echoes between the two women’s lives. I can see there are elements of love and thriller but don’t feel either would be primary or secondary content genres.

Is it more society or worldview?

Rachelle Ramirez says:

Hello Tara, You are not alone in this struggle. A lot of people are writing what they see as a Society/Worldview combo and not able to define which one is on top. Meanwhile, neither genre seem to fit just right. To determine your genre, choose a primary protagonist. What is the change of the main protagonist from beginning to end? What does she want? What does she need? How are they opposed to one another? What are the obstacles put in her way? You wrote, “It’s a story about how when you lack self esteem and don’t value yourself, you seek validation elsewhere and give away your power. You become manipulated and controlled by others.” Check out the post I wrote on the Status Genre. That’s the internal genre in self-esteem and third party validation. In Status stories, the protagonist defines what success is, not the outside world. Success to one person is entirely different for another. What is your protagonist’s definition of success? In the story I am writing and in Memoirs of Geisha the protagonists see obtaining the wealthy older man as their ticket to success. Not exactly what I’d call success. Kim Kessler and Leslie Watts also wrote some posts on the internal genres that might be helpful. It sounds like you are pretty safe in throwing out Thriller as a possible genre. You can also toss Love unless there is a love story between the two women with the possibility of sex or perceived romance. Sounds like Status. If you still feel like you are stuck after exploring the internal genres more, you can call me, or any other Story Grid Editor, for a half hour consultation by clicking back to the editing services page.

Matt Sinclair says:

This is a very helpful post. I find myself starting to identify some of the things I may be missing in the novel I keep trying to revise. I haven’t quite figured out how to inject some of these ideas or use them to expand secondary characters into something somewhat more. But it has me thinking, and that’s a good thing.

Rachelle Ramirez says:

Check out the Secrets of the Morality Genre and Secrets of the Status Genre posts as well. You may surprise yourself and see that you’ve already met the parameters of a different internal genre. Need help? All the Story Grid Editors do free half-hour consultations. I know I’d be happy to help. Walk you through some questions…

Jim Wilbourne says:

Is there something to be said about the overlap between the Crime genre and Worldview: Revelation?
I’m outlining a story right now where I have a mystery that needs to be solved as one of the primary threads of the novel. On one hand, the value at stake and the controlling idea matches Worldview: Revelation. It’s about knowledge vs. ignorance. However the conventions and obligatory scenes listed here only partially match this kind of story. It seems like I need more elements you might find in a Crime story to make this work. Perhaps there’s room for a different kind of Crime story (maybe a “Riddle” or “Puzzle” sub-genre?) Do you have any thoughts about this?

Rachelle Ramirez says:

Hello Jim, Sorry it took me so long to respond to this post. I am just now seeing it. Those are some interesting questions. The Crime and Worldview Genre do frequently overlap. As the writer, you know you need to identify which is your primary story and meet all of the obligatory scenes and conventions for that genre. For your secondary story, you need not meet all of them, but should aim for as many as possible. So, you could have an external and global genre of Crime with a secondary of Worldview story or the other way around. You do need an external genre and an internal genre in a story if your primary story is an internal one. I suggest all stories have an internal and an external genre to be well written, but not everyone agrees. Which of these speaks to your primary story: 1) Justice prevails when the protagonist overpowers or outwits their antagonist, or 2) wisdom prevails when we learn to express our gifts in a world that we accept as paradoxical and/or imperfect after the knowledge we lacked is revealed? Is the protagonist’s primary change from beginning to end: 1) lacking justice to gaining justice, or 2) lack of knowledge that impacts their growth to gaining knowledge that allows them to move forward? Is the climax of the story: 1) the exposure of the criminal by the protagonist, or 2) Missing knowledge is revealed to the protagonist and their gifts are expressed as acceptance of an imperfect world? Obviously, if your answers are ones, your story is Crime. If your answers are twos, the story is worldview/revelation. If the answer is “both,” then you probably have a Crime story as your primary genre. And remember that you should have an internal and external. It’s great if you could combine the two. One question I have for you about this “puzzle” you speak of is whether it’s possible that you have an Action/Labyrinth plot or a Performance story. I need to know more about it. If you still have questions and are unsure about your genre, we could get on the phone or Zoomchat for free half hour consultation and we could probably figure it out in that one free call. My favorite thing to do is help a writer find their genre. My calendar is at or feel free to contact me here in the comments.

Sandy Day says:

I’m reading this again to double check that I’ve ticked all the boxes. My secondary genre in my Maturation plot is an Addiction Story with an negative ending. Have you written anything on Addiction Stories? I heard it mentioned once in the Round Table Podcast.

Rachelle Ramirez says:

An addiction story often falls into the Morality Genre. Lots of great memoirs out there on addiction that follow the guidelines of fiction. So, the secondary genre of a maturation plot needs to be an external genre. Is it Love? Domestic Society? What external events force the character to change?

Sheryl Gwyther says:

Rachelle, as usual, you have given me much food for thought!! I’m writing a children’s novel, set in 1920 about a young Rominichal girl’s journey to Australia with her family to find a safe, unprejudiced place to live … but of course, it’s jumping from the kettle into the fire – racism and bigotry against gypsies was as strong in an offshoot of the British Empire as it was in England.
Now, even though I’m well into the first draft, I realise I’m not really clear about my Global genre (who am I kidding! I haven’t really established in my head, the External Genre!) I think the Internal Genre is Worldview – Maturation … as my 12 year old finds her right place in the world, gaining inner strength as well as a stronger voice. Maybe this is the Global Story, rather than an external genre?
After a few years of following and loving the Story Grid, I’m frustrated that I can’t always find good fits for External Genres in children’s novels. (Although, my novel, Sweet Adversity, published in 2018 with HarperCollins Australia, did fit the Thriller (Child in Jeopardy) genre well, and I used it to checklist myself all the time re obliquatory scenes etc.
I’m struggling with this new novel! I wonder if you might have some enlightening comments to set me along the right path. I hope this comment makes sense.
Thank you again, for your work. 🙂

Rachelle Ramirez, Story Grid Certified Editor says:

Hey, Sheryl, I’m sorry I missed your comment here. I can see how it can be difficultt to determine if.a c hildren’s book is internal or external. The Action and Worldview Genres in those books, the basis of the external and internal genres, can ride pretty close to 50/50. Because what is the action worth if it doesn’t raise their maturity and what does it have to conflict with if not naive worldviews? For Worldview, it requires action to get the protagonist out of their head, to force them to change. What good is a worldview if it is never challenged. If this is your first draft, I’d go ahead and write it as both. Use your external genre to push you intenal genre and your internal genre to push your external genre. Get the heart and soul of the story down. That’s the point of the first draft: heart and soul with a beginning, middle, and end. That’s it. You can decide which genre is primary after you know for sure what the climax and reslolution are, what the key scenes turn on. If they are primarily life and death, it would be hard to make an argument for an internal genre being at the top. If you’d like, grab a free half-hour spot on my calendar at and we can walk through the outline, idea, or masterworks and figure it out pretty quickly. Whatever you choose will be the right choice because there is no wrong answer.

Loretta says:

Rachelle, I have read this and the other “secrets” articles at least 10 times each and I always come back to them as mainstays of my ongoing writer education. I just wanted to say a huge thank you for putting out content that is so valuable! It’s truly amazing. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Rachelle Ramirez says:

Thank you, Loretta! I’m so glad these posts have been helpful to you. I’m in the second draft of The Story Grid Guide to Genre so that all these posts (updated) and more will be in one consolidated book. Best of luck and hard work with your story.

Elissa Matthews says:

Rachelle, this was a wonderful and helpful article – thank you so much. I’m working on a Worldview-Revelation story – you mentioned Oedipus Rex and Arrival. Are there others you can list as well? Thanks!

Rachelle Ramirez says:

While Shawn states that Fight Club is a Thriller, it sure has a strong internal genre of Worldview/Revelation. Here is a link to my breakdown of Fight Club as a Revelation story. What is Remembered by Alice Munro is WV/Rev. Shutter Island, The Number 23, Roald Dahl’s “Beware of the Dog.”The Knife of Never Letting Go is a Thriller with an internal Rev. story. The Queen (drama) 2006. Another Story Grid Editor says The Perks of Being a Wallflower is Rev. All Big Idea Books are revelation. Are you writing fiction?

brainnoms says:

Hi Rachelle,
I have a question about the obligatory scenes here. Two of them seem very similar, and I’m not sure what the difference is.

1. There is a clear “point of no return,” the moment when the Protagonist knows they can never go back to the way things used to be. There must be a precise moment when the protagonist’s worldview is knocked out of alignment.

2. During an All Is Lost moment, the protagonist realizes they must change their black and white view of the world to allow for the paradoxical nature of life.

Can you explain the difference/maybe provide some examples please? Thank you!

Rachelle Ramirez says:

Great question. The “point of no return,” is the moment when the Protagonist knows they can never go back to the way things used to be. It’s a precise moment when the protagonist’s worldview is knocked out of alignment. This happens earlier in the story than the All is lost moment that occurs at about the three-quarter mark, sometimes later. In The Wizard of Oz, the point of no return is “We’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.” The all is lost moment is when the wizard floats off to Kansas without Dorothy. One knocks their original thinking off balance, the other forces them to change their thinking to a new operation in order to solve the big problem.

Michael Cohen says:

Hi Rachelle,
I am a beginner getting started as a writer. My interest is in writing in the worldview or status genres. Do you have some examples of textbook worldview books and authors I can start reading to begin modeling for the storygrid?

My goal is to write stories regarding the philosophies and spirituality of yoga. Based on what I’m learning from the story grid, it seems worldview, status, or society cold be genres worth exploring. Any guidance you can provide wold be much appreciated.

Rachelle Ramirez says:

Are you working in fiction or narrative nonfiction? Are you offering prescriptive advice to the reader? Are you including personal stories as anecdotes?

Michael Cohen says:

Fictional stories to offer perscriptive advice. My goal is to use fictional stories to introduce the concept of using mantras and intentions within ones yoga or meditation practice. I will use the stories as examples of different worldviews and status roles people have to inspire the reader to set their own personal mantra within their yoga or meditation practice.

Michael Cohen says:

I forgot to mention above that I am inclined to write short stories with miniplot structure. Btw…Thank you so much for helping and replying so quickly!

Michelle Upton says:

Hi Rachelle,
Thank you so much for this informative article.

My current WIP is Chick lit using the definition ‘Chick lit is genre fiction which addresses issues of modern womanhood, often humorously and lightheartedly. Although it sometimes includes romantic elements, chick lit is generally not considered a direct subcategory of the romance novel genre, because the heroine’s relationship with her family or friends is often just as important as her romantic relationships.’

Reading your article I believe my WIP is also a Worldview Maturation Story, and because it follows four sisters (from their POV) as they deal with their mother’s cancer diagnosis it is also a mini-plot (multiple protagonists).

I have roughly written the first draft of my novel and I’m currently making a Story Grid spreadsheet so I can see what scenes I’ve got and what I still need.

My question is, for the Chick lit genre would my obligatory scenes be the same as the worldview genre obligatory scenes as I can’t find much information about the Chick lit genre.

Thanks so much for your time.

Rachelle Ramirez says:

I’m so glad you asked that question, Michelle. Chick-Lit is a marketing genre. For Story Grid, the Chick-Lit description doesn’t help guide us as writers in writing a story. It helps guide our marketing for the book. There are twelve content genres; action, crime, horror, love, war, western, society, performance, worldview, morality, and status. You will have one internal genre (you identified this as Worldview) and one external genre. You might have an action story if the cancer is the villain and the siblings are trying to save the mother. You might have a supporting love story in there as well. I’d be happy to chat with you and help you figure out the secondary genre for your story, if you’d like. We can do that in a simple free 30-minute consultation. If you are interested, you can grab a spot on my calendar.

Michelle Upton says:

Thanks so much for this Rachelle. I really appreciate your time.

Now I know Chick Lit is a marketing genre I will go back and look at the twelve content genres again and if I’m still stuck I may take you up on a consultation.

Thanks again xxx

Kajsa Dahlin says:

Hi! Great work, I must have read most of your content by now connected to genre and I love it!

I am working on the outline of my story now when I have finally decided on my content genres (primary Worldview – Revelation and secondary Action – person against state). It was a close call with Morality. I struggle however with understanding how the obligatory events should merge with a standard outlining method such as for example the 3-act method. Where should preferably these events fit together?

For example: the worldview is knocked too much out of frame to become a point of no return as mentioned late in the obligatory scenes, how does that fit with the inciting incident which should also do that, and the point of no return in Plot point 1 in Act 1?

What is actually the core event and understanding – the actions in/after the black moment just before the climax of the full story?

Thank you for helping me clear it out a bit!

Rachelle Ramirez says:

The core event is the climactic event/scene for your primary genre and should include, if possible, the climactic event of your secondary genre. If not, they should sit next to one another. Unfortunately, how to structure a novel is outside the scope of this blog post but I’d be happy to chat with you about your specific story and how to weave the Worldview story with an Action story. I do free half-hour consultations by phone or Zoom for prospective editing clients. We can chat to see if we’re a good fit for working together. You can grab a spot on my calendar. You might also want to check the book I edited by Shawn Coyne on the Action Genre.


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