It began with a friendly challenge.
After watching the L.A. Dodgers at Spring Training and seeing the multitude of drills unknown players had to master just to get a shot at the Big Show, bestselling writer Steven Pressfield got an idea.
On his weekly call with his longtime editor Shawn Coyne, Pressfield asked, “Is it possible to develop writers like MLB organizations develop major league baseball players?” Coyne answered, “Yes, absolutely.” “Prove it.” said Pressfield.
Starting May 25th, the 15 week Summer Semester Level Up Your Craft course teaches aspiring big league writers the fundamental skeletal structure of story. Including 15 separate lectures from Shawn Coyne, author of The Story Grid, Level Up Your Craft teaches the Big Picture/MACRO fundamentals of storytelling through the lens of three unique masterworks.
The Macro structure is the make or break component of satisfactory narrative. Without a compelling macro structure, no amount of micro facility will save the writer. Macro skill is simply indispensable. So Coyne begins with the indispensable.
Each week, Coyne discusses one of the fifteen strands of global story, the primal skeleton structure for a long form narrative. By using high resolution analysis and specific examples from three very different story masterworks that were successfully adapted into blockbuster films (Bridget Jones’s Diary, The Martian, and Fight Club), Coyne reveals how all three abided multi-millenia old story structure.
Coyne brings the course to completion by generating Foolscap Global Story Grids for each. Students may work through one (or all) of the three masterworks that Coyne analyzes, or they may work independently alongside Coyne and choose their own masterwork. The fundamental principles Coyne teaches will reveal themselves through the lens of their chosen masterworks. By course end, students will be able to generate their own Foolscap Global Story Grid for their chosen works.
Supported by weekly live discussions with Story Grid Certified Editors and an online forum of your fellow students.
There is the pinnacle of ivory tower writing programs. The Iowa Writers Workshop, and its ilk. These are formal Master of Fine Arts programs that admit approximately 50 students a year. They emphasize groups of 10 to 15 writers critiquing each others’ work from week to week and seminars per semester on topics like the “Form of Fiction.” It is assumed that writers in these programs have already mastered the practical art of storytelling as evidenced by their applications. At the end of the two year program that costs approximately $20,000, the student is required to submit a thesis and complete a written test. Graduates can use their M.F.A. credentials to attract literary agents.
There are the bootstrapping online writing courses that promise to teach you a method to complete a novel in a reasonable amount of time using a suggested progression of outlined tasks. Most of these courses are not taught by professionals with 26 years of experience in the field as well as teaching experience at the University level. More importantly, they are not taught by story editors with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of sales from the traditional book publishing marketplace. The best teachers in the realm are writers themselves who have effectively created works that attained a level of commercial success and effectively communicate just how they specifically did what they did an offer the program that worked for them to fellow potential writers.
So your choices are to compete with thousands of others applying to an impressive M.F.A. program with the understanding that the program will assume you already know how to effectively tell a story….or
Hope that the process by which an online teacher created her novel will work for you.
The first method assumes you know how to fish and that you’ll be able to learn how to become a better fisherman if you hang out with other good fisherman at the same fishing hole for two years.
The second method teaches you how to fish like someone who caught a solid trout at a pond thousands of miles away from you in a fishing hole that is nothing like the one you wish to drop your line.
Story Grid University is a third way.
It is a program dedicated to teaching you the principles of storytelling that hold true for all writers, be they at the Iowa Writers Workshop or graduates of the “How to write a novel in 30 days” protocol.
It’s about helping writers get closer to a very very lofty goal…
The goal isn’t to be #1 on The New York Times Bestseller List (not that there’s anything wrong with that…it just isn’t a recipe for longterm artistic progress).
The goal isn’t pumping out as many books as possible in order to keep feeding the insatiable marketplace and then gaming the algorithms to get people to buy your stuff.
The goal is to create a story that lasts longer than you do…
In addition, you get live discussion with Story Grid Certified Editors and direct interaction and feedback with your fellow students.
No matter where you are in your writing journey, spending 15 weeks with Shawn Coyne, Story Grid Certified Editors, and your fellow students will deepen your understanding of story and make you a writer with a clear mission and a clear pathway to move forward.
Yes, it’s a bold claim. And it’s true. We have structured the Story Grid University to give you the best training environment available.
No need to show up when we say. The training is available to experience on your own time. Or show up when we show up. Your choice.
No need to show up in a classroom. Wherever you are, you can learn.
Shawn Coyne has been crafting stories for over 25 years and has worked with top authors such as Steven Pressfield, Robert Crais, Mo Hayder, Michael Connelly, James Lee Burke, Ian Rankin, Don Winslow, Minette Walters… He’s also written the bestselling book The Story Grid and taught storytelling to thousands of writers worldwide.
Each week Story Grid Certified Editors will have a live roundtable discussion to dive deeper into the principles of the week’s lecture and take students questions.
A student-only forum is available 24/7 to interact, ask questions, and get feedback.
You will have ongoing access to the recorded lectures and discussions.
This course is for anyone looking to level up their craft of storytelling. Whether you are a beginning writer just diving in, or a seasoned author looking to stretch your boundaries, this 15 week immersion into the Macro craft of storytelling will level up your understanding of story and forever change the way you write.
Professional writers will find the refresher course to be an invaluable first stop before they begin their next project… reminding them exactly what they need to nail down before heading into uncharted ground. Amateurs will breathe a sigh of relief knowing that all great stories share fundamental frameworks.
As soon as you signup you will get access to the forum and a welcome video from Shawn. The course will officially begin on Monday, May 25th and continue for 15 weeks.
Every Monday the week’s lecture becomes available at 6:00 a.m. Eastern. Then on Wednesday the live discussion with Story Grid Certified Editors will happen. You will be able to submit your questions ahead of time or sign in and ask them live during the discussion.
On Friday you will be able to upload materials to the forum to share and discuss with your study group(this is not mandatory). The forum will always be open to discuss and provide feedback. If you get behind, you can always catch up as everything will be recorded and available.