Tell Your Story

[0:00:00.9] TG: Hello and welcome to the Story Grid Podcast. This is a show dedicated to helping you become a better writer. I’m your host, Tim Grahl, and I’m the struggling writer trying to figure out how to tell a story that works. Joining the shortly is Shawn Coyne. He is the creator of Story Grid, the author of the book Story Grid and an editor with over 25 years’ experience.


In this episode we continue talking about my nonfiction book running down a dream we figured out the theme. I’ve got the introduction written and now I’m trying to actually weave that theme through the rest of the book, and you will see what Shawn has to say about my first try. So we’re going to talk through that and hopefully get me to a place where I can start fast-tracking finishing up this book.


So let’s jump in and get started.




[0:00:48.2] TG: So Shawn, now that we have I feel like the introduction set as far as the theme of the book where I’m starting the story I’m telling. So I started working on weaving that through the first section of the book. So the whole book is probably going to be about 40,000 words, maybe a little more, and it’s split up into kind of three larger sections, the middle build is. So I went through the whole first section and try to rewrite it with the new theme, which I put it all. So I sent you like 10,500 words, which was like I think about six chapters or something and like it feels like the more I read it the more it just becomes noise in my head, because I have all of these old versions of the book that are like ringing in my head.


Anyway, I went through, I wrote — You encouraged me to write like an introduction and conclusion kind of to each section. So I did that. Tried to work it through the middle. We’ve been talking about we’re hoping to publish this in the next few months, and we are talking about there’s all these little to do’s with publishing you like cover design and different layers of editing. Then I’ve got to like do my marketing and get the website up, and I’ve got to record the audio. All these things that in my head are finite. I know how long they’re going to take, but this is the part that I’m just super fuzzy on, because every time I brought you an introduction you are like, “No. Not good enough.” I’m like I’m in this to make it the best book it could possibly be, but I have no idea how long it’s going to take me to whip this middle build into shape.


Anyway, I sent you that a couple days ago. Try to not get you 10,000 words three hours before we’re recording so you would have a little bit of time to look at it. But anyway, how are you feeling about how I’m doing so far with getting the middle build kind of on track with what we now know the book is about?


[0:03:05.5] SC: Well, all of the material — And I’ve said this to you before. All the middle build material is in there. Right now your task is to progressively tell a story to the reader as you are dropping in your tools. So the reason why the introduction was so important, the prologue, was you needed to hook the reader into going through your book. When they hit some tools that they may or may not agree with or not like, or whatever, then that’s going to happen. It’s just the way it is.


Some parts of a book, people just don’t respond to and they respond to others. The storytelling quality of the book has to be so strong that they’ll push through it and they’ll go, “Yeah, that’s kind of 50-50 for me, but I want to see his next thing. I want to see what happens next.”


For you, yeah, this is your ninth draft and you see all the other drafts in every sentence that you wrote and you’re losing the macro 30,000-foot view of what this story is. Let me just generally remind you what the story is, this is about someone who wasn’t totally completely sure about what their journey should be, what their inner gift was, but knew they had one. So they convinced themselves, and I’m speaking of you personally here. You convinced yourself 10 years ago that you had a gift and that it was your responsibility to pursue the gift and do what you could to bring whatever it is you had inside of you out to the world. That’s the universal thing.


So that’s what the prologue is. It’s your All is Lost moment, because what happened was you’ve discovered that moment, you quit your job and then you hit a wall, and the wall was you knew you had a gift but you were afraid of poking around to find out what it was. What was it specifically? So that’s why you [inaudible 0:05:21.4] and didn’t do your work and you hung at it, you talk to your friend Dan all day. Then you hit the All is Lost moment, which is a very nice beginning of your story when you had to borrow money from your parents to meet your bills and you had a real horrible meltdown. Now, at that point, you’ve got the reader by the throat and what they’re saying to themselves is, “What happens next? How did he get out of it? What did he do next?”


So when you sent me the 10,000 words, what you forgot to do was to literally hold on to that thread and you kind of begin from the beginning, “Here is the beginning of the book now.” Do you see what I mean? You didn’t say the next day I had the check in my hand and I felt like I was going to be okay, but I needed to figure out how to avoid this problem in the future. So the very first thing I did was X, and instead — And you do have the answer to that. It’s just that all of the parts in your story are not in the right order yet.


So this is what happens, and I’m working with Steve on a project with him, and Steve does the same thing. His mind is working in a particular way and it’s very orderly for him. Then he hands me the material and I literally take each one of his chapters and I have to staple them altogether and then I’ll just mix-and-match and move this here and that one there and say, “Give me a transition here,” and you’ll go, “Oh, okay.”


So that’s really what you need to do now. So what you want to start out with is — And it’s almost like you want to think about it thematically in terms of your title, which is it’s a marathon. It’s a marathon race. So even though it’s cliché, and it might still work, but you want to think about like how do you run a marathon? Well, the first thing you do, I don’t think they’re in blocks, but the beginning would be like getting the jump or getting out of the blocks.


So it’s like that thing that we were talking about the last time we met where that woman, financial advisor that you know, you were talking to her and she said, “Look. Wealth is about time. You buy time with wealth.” So how wealthy you are depends on how long you have to worry. If you don’t have any food, you’ve got to worry about tomorrow’s food So you’re not worrying about self-transcendence when there’s no food in the refrigerator. You just got to go out and make enough money to get food so that your kids can eat.


Then once there’s food in the refrigerator, then you plan a month or a week. So it moves from day, to week, to month and to year. Then when you’re really wealthy, then you can think of two years, three years and maybe five years. So that’s a concept that you need to explain to the reader, but you don’t just say that to them, you show them. So after you had this meltdown moment, the reader is going to say to themselves, “How did he solve the no money problem? How did that happen.” So that’s how you would begin the beginning of your book after the prologue. You would say, “Okay. So just to remind everyone, I just had a major panic attack. I melted down in front of my wife. Explained to her our situation. She gave me a pep talk, and now I knew I couldn’t just quit. So here’s what I did to get food on the table and to pay the bills for this month. I had the check for my mom and dad, so I knew, “Okay. If worse comes to worse, all I have to do is deposit that check.” Maybe I can do something so I don’t have to deposit the check. So what can I do so I don’t have to deposit the check that my hard-working mother and father have given me? Then I did this.”


You want to basically get the reader out of your crisis so they’re like, “Oh my gosh! That’s a great idea,” and you’ve told me things that you’ve done when you had a big, big deficit. I’m not going to give away the payoff fear, but they’re very simple tools that are probably in the last third of your book. You could pull those tools and go, “Okay. This is what you do when you need — You’ve got a week. You’ve got one week and you got a book three new clients.” This is what you do, and you put that at the beginning, because at the beginning of the story your reader is going to want to know how you’re solving your massive problems as quickly as possible. You want to give them the tactics of how to buy some time.


The material that you sent me is terrific. I’ve read it before. It’s really helpful. What it is, is material for someone who’s already bought themselves some time, because you talk about how to actually face up to the fact that you’re lying to yourself. Now, when you’re panicking and you need to make the mortgage payment, you’re not worried about how you’re lying to yourself. You’re worried about how are you going to get the money to pay the mortgage. So that’s how you keep your story moving through and holding the attention of the readers.


The great thing about a big idea book is that the reader gets so captivated with the storytelling that they actually have to stop themselves and say, “Oh my gosh! That’s a great idea as a tactic. I’m going to write that down.” But the reason why they’re reading is because they want to know what happened to Tim next. What happened next? Does that make sense?


[0:11:25.5] TG: Yeah, I think so. So let me stop you, because I have a couple of questions. Actually, a couple of them I’ve been running into while I was working on this. So the first is — So when I showed this to a friend of mine, the introduction, the new one, he’s like — So one friend who’s a writer was like, “This is the best thing you’ve ever written.” So that was nice. Another one who’s also a writer was like — He liked it too, but he’s like, “Are you writing a book for entrepreneurs. Are you writing a book for writers? Are you writing a book for artists?” Like my initial answer is, “I’m writing for anybody with a dream.” Then I was like, “If one of my clients had ever said that to me, I would smack them in the face,” because that’s like the broadest possible thing. So when I think back to those moments, like the things in my head that I wanted were to build something of my own.


[0:12:23.5] SC: That’s good. Now, hold on. I’m going to interrupt right now because I want to make a comment about what the second person said, because they’re right. They’re absolutely right. But I think this is part of the reason why your book is so important. This is part of your big idea. Your big idea is what do you do when you don’t know what to do? You wanted to build something. Okay, that’s really a good start, but you didn’t know what to build. Did you say to yourself, “I want to build a skyscraper.” No! Why? Because you don’t know how to build a skyscraper, but what you didn’t know how to do was how to fix websites, right?


The thing that you wanted to buy when you quit your job was the freedom to explore your internal landscape, which is even more frightening than going into the dark wood, because you don’t know what’s inside you. You have no freaking clue. You just know you have the suspicion, you have an intuition, that there’s something inside of you that’s super important to release, but you don’t know where it is.


So when your friend said you’re not being specific, that is true. So what you are doing in this book is you will be specific about what you did to solve your problems, but this is not a book that is super tactics for writers who are writing genre fiction for middle school graders who like dinosaurs, right? It’s not that, but it’s also not like, “Oh! Make all your dreams come true. Just say these magical words.” It’s not that broad either. But is it something that is for people who have a suspicion that something inside of them needs to come out? They’re not sure what it is and they’re not sure how to make that happen.


What you’re saying is start by making — It’s like what you say in Steve’s book; do it or don’t do. So Steve doesn’t say be a writer or don’t be a writer. Does he? No. But a lot of the people who come to the War of Art are writers, but Steve uses all kinds of examples in the War of Art about the struggle of resistance. He talks about people who are opening up plumbing supplies store. He talks about golfers. He talks about Buddhists, because the problem is a universal problem, and this is a big idea book. This is not a self-help book. The second person who said, “You’re not being specific enough,” is absolutely right, but what they’re right about is the wrong flavor of nonfiction. They think they still see your book as being a how to prescriptive guide. It has elements of that. Absolutely! But it also has storytelling.


So you are going to use your very specific story, and this is the problem that you have right now, is that you’re not being specific enough about your arc. You would have to write in the beginning, “Look, I knew I had something in me, but I also knew I had to pay the bills. So what I did is I set up a consulting agency in which I helped people who were writers create their own websites, because I was really interested in becoming a writer, but I didn’t really know how to write. So I thought, “Hey, why don’t I put my skillset into the arena, into the territory of the thing that I’m interested in?” So how can I make a living in the world of the writer? “Oh, I know. Writers don’t know how to do websites. I do. What I’ll do is I’ll create websites for writers, and in my relationships with those writers I will, just through osmosis, start to learn about what the writing life is about.” Guess what? That was a really good practical solution for someone who had an inkling, “I want to write something someday, somehow, but I don’t have any craft. I don’t have any friends who are writers. I don’t have any real connections to writers.”


So most people would say, “Oh, forget it! It’s never going to happen for me.” What you’re saying is, “Hey, look at me. I’m just stupid old Tim Grahl who doesn’t have any connections, but what I did to say, “What can I do to get into that universe?” I know what I can do, I can help writers with the problem that they have that I can solve.”


So that’s how you started becoming a writer, was not writing, but by servicing writers. You knew the territory you wanted to pursue. I mean, I get these emails, I get messages all the time where people asked me to teach them how to write. You know what I — In the back of my mind I’m like, “Are you kidding me? Seriously? You think I can just —” I’m like, “Have you listened to the podcast I’ve done with Tim? It’s like we’re going on three years now. Does he have a finished product? No. Is he bitching about it? No. He’s learning.”


[0:17:58.7] TG: A little bit. I’m bitching a little bit.


[0:18:00.7] SC: No you’re not. So instead of taking that tac where you just send Shawn Coyne an email and said, “Teach me how to write.” What did you do? These are part of the tactics that you have in this book by the way. So this isn’t anything that you haven’t already have written. It’s just move it.


[0:18:18.1] TG: Okay. So what I realized as I was going through it, I think you answered my question. So I just need to tell my story. I mean, once I say it I’m like, “Well, yeah. I’ve been trying to keep it as like this collection of tools that I’m going to teach, but I need to just tell my specific story, because — What is it? Specificity leads to universality.


[0:18:48.7] SC: That’s right.


[0:18:49.3] TG: And then just step through.


[0:18:51.6] SC: You have to narrate how you solved your problems. Occasionally — And I know you, then this is how you solve your problems. When you have a problem that you don’t have the answer to, you seek people who have the answers. Sometimes you can even just read a book and you don’t even have to contact anyone, and there are your answers. Sometimes you need personal contact with somebody. Guess what you do? You either pay them out of your own pocket and be thankful for the value that they’re giving you is far more than you’re paying out of your pocket. Somebody like Josh Kaufman, right?


You didn’t really have any money, but you knew what Josh Kaufman was offering you was far more valuable than the money you’re going to pay him. So you happily paid for it. When you wanted my advice, you’re like, “I can’t pay you $60,000, Shawn, but what I can do is handle your marketing. You have to do anything, and I will expose you to more and more people and your methodology and I’ll take care of all that stuff for you,” because that’s a skill you already possess that wasn’t difficult for you. You’re like, “I can fix that in five seconds, and Shawn doesn’t know how to do that. I’ll just leverage something that he doesn’t want to do and get something for myself, and then I don’t have to pay $60,000. I can just pay nothing and work.”


So I think you progressed to that stage where you understood the notion of value as being more than just a dollar thing. Because even if you had emailed me, and I get this all the time too, “Hey! I’ve got my $60,000, Shawn. Now, I own you. So I want your time now.” No. No. No. No. No. No. Because that’s just like to weed out people who aren’t serious. Then if your book is a mess and horrible, you couldn’t pay me $600,000 to fix it for you. So these are the lessons that you can impart to the reader about being humble and learning and finding your general arena. It’s like when people say, “I really want to write a story,” and my first question is always, “What’s your favorite novel? What kind of novel would you like to have written? What kind of movie would you would’ve liked to have put your name on?” If then they say, “Oh! Alien.” I’m like, “Oh, great. Okay, you’re working in the horror genre,” and then you have a conversation to start.


So for the group of people who are reading your book, they have a general idea of the territory they want to be in and you can say in your book, “I had a general idea of what I thought would bring out the gift inside of me, but I didn’t really have any clue of what exactly what route it would take, but I knew generally it was about writing. So I thought to myself, “What can I do to get in to that big Venn diagram of writing?” That is specific information that is brought too.


So if someone says, “I want to become a baseball scout for the Major Leagues.” Then you would say, “Well, okay. Then in the world of baseball, how could you lend something, contribute in some way that would attract people in the baseball community to work with you?”


[0:22:26.6] TG: Yeah, I just had this conversation with someone in Nashville. So, of courses, he was a musician. I’m like, “Look. I know nothing about the music industry, but based on what I’ve dealt with, here is a couple things I’ve done that’s been helpful.” He’s like, “Oh, I could do —” Like he immediately translates it into his world.


[0:22:46.6] SC: This is a very long answer to the question of your second reader who said, “You’re not being specific with your target market, Tim. You need to really narrow your focus to one particular discipline. What I would say to that is that that’s not what this book is. This is a big idea book that gives a broad set of tools that someone can use globally and adapt to their particular situation. So you’re not saying, “If you want to be a writer, you need to knock on the door of Philip Roth and ask him for advice, because that’s going to get you nowhere. My advice to you is to get off of my driveway. That’s what the advice guru gave me. Anybody who did that to me, that’s the advice I would give them.”


So your advice is like get into that global arena and start poking around. It’s like in cellular biology, nutrients go through the cell wall to get into the cell. So if you want to get into writing, you got to poke through the cell wall, and the way you poke through the cell wall is to provide some nutrients to the cell. So if you know how to fix websites, and writers need websites, guess what you are now? You are now a guy who does websites for writers, and that’s what you did. If you’re a musician and you know how to do websites, and musicians need websites, now you’re a guy who specializes in websites for musicians, right?


[0:24:25.0] TG: Yeah. Okay. I guess I’ve been worried about — So what I did in that week after getting the check from my parents was extremely specific to getting clients for my business.


[0:24:39.4] SC: Exactly. That’s what we want to know.


[0:24:41.1] TG: That to me is outside of this idea of like helping people be successful creatively.


[0:24:47.4] SC: You’ve got to pay the piper. Nobody is going to believe you. Nobody is going to care about your messages about how to get more time to understand that they’re watching too much TV. If they don’t appreciate how you solve that possible — That’s the problem everybody freaks out about. How do I pay my bills to, Tim? Yeah. Yeah. I want to self-transcend just like you, Tim. But how do I get my bills paid first?


When you deliver this information right up front, you were building ethos, pathos, logos. You’re building ethos, which is the way the reader sees you as an expert. So if you, in chapter 2, say, “Okay. You’ve got a problem? I had a problem. My problem is I needed money, and I needed money in 21 days. This is how I filled my bank account to pay off my mortgage, because I did not want to cash my parents check. My goal was they took the time to not only write this check, but to put it in an envelope, put a stamp on it, go to the post office, stick it in the mailbox and have it into my hands within a couple of days to save me from disappointing my son and my wife. The best way I can repay them for that love is to not cash that sucker. You may not even think about that now, but that is a fascinating truth.” Guess what your reader is going to think of you when at the end of chapter 3 you say, “You know what? I didn’t cash the check, and I was able to call my parents and say, “You know what? Thank you. If you don’t mind, I’m going to hold on to the check in case I do need to cash it someday.”


[0:26:49.4] TG: I still have it.


[0:26:50.1] SC: Of course, you still have it. I was hoping you still had it. I didn’t know if you did, but of course you still have that check. That check is what every human being wants, Tim. That check is a symbol of their love for you and of their trust in you. That saying, you’re a man’s son and we love you for who you are, and money is really important. We don’t have a ton of it, but what’s ours is yours, and you cash this check whenever you need it because we know that you won’t do it unless you really have to. That is one of the greatest gifts on this plant, and that is a very, very big part of why you feel confident to keep going into the wilderness and keep trying things. 80% of the stuff you try doesn’t work, and understanding 80% of what you try doesn’t work is a really great lesson. It’s never easy when the stuff you try doesn’t work, but you know, “Ah! 20% is pretty good. I’m doing fine on my 20%.”


So the reader, once you give them that that wonderful beginning, they’re going to want to know what happens next. So please tell them what happened next.


[0:28:09.2] TG: Okay. So I need to — Because a lot of — When I was going back through it, a lot of it I wrote basically like I write my blog post, which is like, “Here’s a problem. I know how to solve it. Here’s what you do. Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!”


Basically I just need to tell the narrative of — I need to progressively complicate, right? Here’s the problem. Here’s how I fixed it, which caused this problem. Here is how I fixed it, which caused this problem,” all the way until —


[0:28:39.4] SC: It’s all a progressive complication, because what you described after you saw that big problem is, “Woohoo! I didn’t have to cash the check. Back to World of Warcraft,” right? Then you’re like, “World of Warcraft! World of Warcraft. This is great! Oh, no! It’s the 15th of the month again. Oh! Let me do it again.”


So that progressively complicated you to another problem and you’ve realized that, “This isn’t going to keep working. I can’t keep sending these desperate emails. I can’t keep doing this, or I’m going to lose all credibility. I’ve got to learn how to do something else.”


[0:29:19.5] TG: Okay. So the whole thing should be [inaudible 0:29:23.3].


[0:29:23.6] SC: Yeah. I mean, if you read the Tipping Point, the brilliant thing about the Tipping Point is you are in the passenger seat with Malcolm Gladwell as he explores this amazing intellectual prop, and you go to lunch with these people and you’re at the table with Malcolm Gladwell and all these people, and you learn and you — So you’re progressively moving with him through the story, and that’s what you want to do in yours.


[0:29:51.7] TG: Yeah. So with his books — I mean, it’s been a while since I’ve read it, and then when I did read it I didn’t have these glasses on. So the way that he writes his books are like, “I ran into this question. I went to look for an answer. Here’s the answer I found,” but which just opened up the next question.


[0:30:09.2] SC: Yes.


[0:30:09.7] TG: What you just said, you’re just following along as he learns.


[0:30:14.3] SC: Yes.


[0:30:14.8] TG: That’s going to be mine, is you’re going to follow along as I solve this problem.


[0:30:19.5] SC: Yeah.


[0:30:19.8] TG: Okay.


[0:30:20.7] SC: Then you hit a wall at the end of the middle build that pushes you into the ending payoff of the big revelation, which is the thing that Steve solved three months ago.


[0:30:31.1] TG: Right. Yeah, I mean, it is nice to know where I’m starting and where I’m going, like that was really hard.


[0:30:40.2] SC: Remember, you use this as interstitial narrative, to move the reader from tool to tool with giving them a setup, “Then I realized, “Oh! I’m really not that busy. How do I see really — What do I really need to do every single day? I’m going to write that down, and then I’m going to cross out the things I really don’t need to do and see how much time I really have. What if I didn’t play World of Warcraft today?” So it’s great.


[0:31:11.4] TG: So I have another question that I’ve been not wanting to ask, which is usually a sign I need to ask it. So we’ve talked a little bit about this before, but now it’s like it’s getting real. So I just want ask it one more time and have you tell me the answer one more time before I really get into this.


So the story that I told in the introduction last week is not true in the way of like I don’t remember all of the details of that day. There was the check, for sure. There was my wife taking care of me, for sure. There was a lot of like tears in figuring out what I’m going to do next, but did it happen in the way like the exact step-by-step way I told the story? I can’t remember.


[0:32:03.6] SC: Of course, you can’t.


[0:32:05.3] TG: Right. So these stories — Of course, that’s true for everything. I didn’t know 10 years ago that I was going to have to like recall this for a book. Like I get a little nervous about telling these stories in a nonfiction book that are telling a truth, but not the truth in the way that you want to read in like a history book. I think about all of the — I forgot. These writers that like write books that they say are nonfiction and then when people go and poke at the details they find out a lot of it was made up. Like there is that one guy that made up all that shit about the way Max Rabin like they were using like child labor to build Macintosh computers, and he told this like crazy story about meeting like a five-year-old or something. Then he went around the country telling this story. Then lo and behold, when they fact checked it, it wasn’t true.


It’s like I worry about — Like I told that story. I mean, the emotions and what went down is true. Is it factually true that it went step-by-step like that? Probably not, but I can’t remember. That means that’s going to be the whole rest of the book, is like me having specific memories. Like I specifically remember it being dark in me opening the letter with the check, and then from there I told the story around it. Is that okay?


[0:33:38.3] SC: It’s not only okay. It’s the only way stories work. Stories are boiled down works of art. What is art? Art is artifice. It’s taking deep truth and boiling it down to its constituent most important parts. So do we want to hear the literal truth of how it took you four days of crying into your pillow before you realized what a nightmare you were living in, or do we want it encapsulated into one dramatic scene? I think you know the answer to that.


The fact is that fiction is the truth when it’s done properly. Meaning that deep truth is not objective recollection of facts. It’s a subjective piecing together of clues until someone has a revelation and a climax and a cathartic answer to an experience. It’s about going into the unknown, confronting the unknown and learning something about that thing that’s unknown that is now known. That sounds very trippy, but it’s true.


When we write a story, we are trying to confront things within ourselves that we really don’t know much about. When we are undergoing a very deep psychological shift, we are living in a turbulent, chaotic world. So we’re not even aware of eating dinner when the world comes down on us. We’re not aware of going to the bathroom. We’re not aware of driving our car for 3,000 miles sometimes. We just sort of move, we’re in New York one day and we’re in California the next. The truth — That’s because we’re living in a chaotic experience.


So when you’re recalling the moment in time when you moved from not knowing to knowing, you boil it down until it makes the most sense to you, and then you can communicate that with other people. So you are not lying and making up a story about Steve Jobs. That is horrible. That’s beyond horrible. That’s a big fat lie.


What you are saying is, “Through my own recollected experience, this is what it was like.” You’re not saying, “This is exactly the way it was,” because no one cares about the 19 days it took you to hit this revelation. They’ll be bored stiff. We want you to boil that pain of 19 days into 1,500 words. That’s why everybody gets the big emotional wallop at the end of a well-told scene, is that it’s boiled down experience to the most fundamental foundational parts of change, which are inciting incidents, progressive complications that lead to a turning point, that raises a crisis question, that results in a climax and resolution. That is a change, and we don’t want to read 40,000 words to get one change. We want one really big climactic wallop at the beginning of a he book, the inciting global incident that will propel us to find, “Holy cow! What’s going to happen next? How is this thing going end?” The best way to end something is surprising, but — What’s the other word?


[0:37:28.9] TG: Inevitable.


[0:37:29.4] SC: Inevitable. So your story is going to end surprising and yet inevitable, because you’re going to get what you want and then you get to realize, “Well, maybe this isn’t what I want. Who knows? Oh, no! What am I going to do now?”


Know, what you’re doing is really important, and the reason why you’re spending this much time thinking about the writing is because you know deep down the right thing to do is to tell the story very well. If that means substituting the garage for the kitchen, you’re going to do that and you’re going to have the courage to say, “Candice, do you remember who was in the kitchen?” She’ll go, “I don’t know. It 10 years ago. I just remember —”


[0:38:16.1] TG: I was making dinner.


[0:38:16.9] SC: Right, “I just remember you were freaking out, and we talked through it and you eventually got out of it. Anyway, I got to go.” She’s the only other witness to this thing. So tell your story the best way you can, and please leave out all the details we don’t care about.




[0:38:33.4] TG: TG: Thanks for listening to this episode of the Story Grid Podcast. for everything Story Grid related, check out storygrid.com. Make sure you pick up a copy of the book and sign up for the newsletter so you don’t miss anything happening in the story grid universe. If you’d like to check out the show notes for this episode or any past episodes, all of that can be found at storygrid.com/podcast. If you’d like to reach out to us, you can find us on Twitter @storygrid. Lastly, if you would like to support the show, you can do that by telling another author about the show and by visiting us on Apple Podcast and leaving a reading and review.


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The Book

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First Time Writer

Is this your first crack at writing and finishing your book? Are you lost on how to tackle this project? This is the place to start.


Is this your first crack at writing and finishing your book? Are you lost on how to tackle this project? This is the place to start.