Narrative Velocity - Starting The Story Grid - Jo-Ann Carson

Narrative Velocity – Starting The Story Grid

story gridI started reading The Story Grid by  Shawn Coyne today and thought I’d blog about it as I go through each section.

Who is Sean Coyne?

“…a twenty-five year book-publishing veteran. He’s acquired, edited, published or represented works from James Bamfored, John Brenkus, James Lee Burke, Barbara Bush, Dick Butkus, Harlan Coben …
“During his years as an editor at the Big Five publishing houses, as an independent publisher, as a literary agent both at a major Hollywood talent agency and as head of Genre Management Inc., and as a bestselling co-writer and ghostwriter, Coyne created a methodology called the Story Grid to teach the editing craft.” (back blurb, The Story Grid, Shawn Coyne)

What is The Story Grid About?

The Story Grid is a tool to resuscitate a pile of prose stuck in an attic drawer … a tool that can inspire an original creation … will teach you how to edit your own work … or someone else’s.” (Ibid.)

Amazon Link

Today’s Main Points:

  • 70% of the book buying is done by women
  • there are two categories in book publishing: literary and commercial (genre)
  • the audience for literary fiction is shrinking so publishers won’t  rely solely on literary fiction
  • the result of  literary and commercial (or genre) fiction merging is that there is,

“…a great demand for novels at the top of the commercial list – thrillers and/or dramas that women will want to read.” (p. 21, Shawn Coyne, The Story Grid)

  • the age of the great editors like Maxwell Perkins is over
  • editing isn’t what it used to be, the shift in the publishing world means that writers need to do their own editing
  • there never was and still isn’t a course to teach editing – an editor has to learn through experience
  • The Story Grid is the culmination of Shawn Coyne’s study of editing – he’s sharing with us his process

My Thoughts

My favorite term so far is, “narrative velocity.” (Ibid,p. 17). Coyne states modern editors are, “addicted to narrative velocity–stories that grab you by the throat and own’t let you go.” (Ibid.)
The book so far is easy to read and understand. I’m looking forward to reading more and I’ll update you on this blog.


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