Story Grid Podcast
Storygrid logo

Click here to Subscribe in iTunes.

Helping you become a better writer.

Join Shawn Coyne, author of Story Grid and a top editor for 25+ years, and Tim Grahl, struggling writer, as they discuss the ins and outs of what makes a story great.

More at www.StoryGrid.com.

  1. Thumb 1506012066 artwork

    Our Past, Present, and Future

    This is episode 96. We're almost to the two year anniversary of the show. Tim spends a bit of time reflecting on the past, present, and future of the Story Grid Podcast. To share your story, visit storygrid.com/tell

  2. Thumb 1505389553 artwork

    Q&A - Part 3

    Shawn continues answering questions from listeners about genre, the hero's journey, and more. See the questions at storygrid.com/podcast.

  3. Thumb 1504782009 artwork

    Q&A - Part 2

    Tim continues throwing your story questions at Shawn. Submit your questions for future episodes at twitter.com/storygrid. See the questions from this episode at storygrid.com/podcast.

  4. Thumb 1504281442 artwork

    Q&A - Part 1

    A Q&A with Shawn Coyne. Tim took questions from Twitter and Facebook and spends an hour going through them with Shawn. See the questions at storygrid.com/podcast.

  5. Thumb 1503682860 artwork

    Helping Others Become Better Writers

    In this wide ranging episode, Shawn and Tim discuss the best ways to help your fellow writers become better at their craft.

  6. Thumb 1502993052 artwork

    Specificity for Non-Fiction Storytelling

    What does it mean to apply specificity to a non-fiction story? It's a tough thing, especially if you're of the literal persuasion. See Shawn's notes on Tim's introduction at storygrid.com/podcast

  7. Thumb 1501604259 artwork

    The Craft of Non-fiction

    Shawn uses the second draft of Tim's introduction to focus in on the craft of writing great non-fiction. You can read Tim's new introduction and notes at storygrid.com/podcast

  8. Thumb 1501098571 artwork

    Non-fiction Conventions and Obligatory Scenes

    Non-fiction has specific genres, conventions, and obligatory scenes just like fiction, but they are, of course, a little different. Shawn and Tim delve into what it takes to write a great non-fiction book. See more at storygrid.com/podcast

  9. Thumb 1500663892 artwork

    Editing Non-Fiction

    Now that Tim has finished the first draft of his non-fiction book, Shawn starts working with him through editing.

  10. Thumb 1499797476 artwork

    Planning the 2nd Draft

    After a couple months working through the Story Grid tools on Tim's first draft, he's ready to start writing the 2nd draft. Show notes at storygrid.com/podcast

  11. Thumb 1499209938 artwork

    Creating a Story Grid - Part 2

    Tim and Shawn continuing building out the Story Grid Graph to evaluate the first draft. See Tim's Story Grid Spreadsheet at storygrid.com/podcast

  12. Thumb 1498607537 artwork

    Creating a Story Grid - Part 1

    The next step in editing Tim's first draft is to create a Story Grid Graph. See Tim's Story Grid Spreadsheet at storygrid.com/podcast

  13. Thumb 1498097496 artwork

    The Hero's Journey - Moments

    Shawn and Tim continue discussing the Hero's Journey as a tool to evaluate the first draft. Links and info at storygrid.com/podcast

  14. Thumb 1497555372 artwork

    The Hero's Journey - Archetypes

    Shawn and Tim dive into the Hero's Journey as a tool to evaluate the first draft. Links and info at storygrid.com/podcast

  15. Thumb 1496945551 artwork

    Part 2 - The Foolscap Story Grid

    Move from the micro to the macro with your first draft. The Foolscap Story Grid will help you put your entire novel onto a single page.

  16. Thumb 1495920874 artwork

    The Foolscap Story Grid

    After you've gone scene-by-scene through your first draft, it's good to step back and take the macro view of your novel.

  17. Thumb 1495217833 artwork

    Micro to Macro: Editing Your First Draft

    Once you have filled out the Story Grid spreadsheet for your first draft, what do you next? Keep track of all the work at storygrid.com/podcast.

  18. Thumb 1494507981 artwork

    Spreadsheeting the First Draft

    After the first draft is done, it's easy to get stuck on what to do next. Shawn continues walking Tim through the process of using the Story Grid spreadsheet. You can see the spreadsheet in the show notes for this episode at storygrid.com/podcast.

  19. Thumb 1493847302 artwork

    First Draft is Done. Now what?

    Tim has officially finished his first draft... now what? This is where Story Grid really shines... taking your first draft and making it the best it can be. To see Tim's Story Grid Spreadsheet visit storygrid.com/podcast

  20. Thumb 1493214321 artwork

    The End?

    Is this really the end? Tim submits the final 8 scenes of his first draft to Shawn for his feedback. Download Tim's scenes at storygrid.com/podcast

  21. Thumb 1492734088 artwork

    Putting Off the Inevitable

    Have you ever put off writing a particular scene or sequence in your story? Tim faces that this week and Shawn walks him through it. Download Tim's scenes at storygrid.com/podcast

  22. Thumb 1492084511 artwork

    The Race to the Finish

    Tim and Shawn talk through the Ending Payoff, steadily working to the end of the book. Download Tim's scenes at storygrid.com/podcast.

  23. Thumb 1491474016 artwork

    Just Skip to the End

    Tim hits some major road blocks on his story. So what's the solution? Also, an important announcement. Download Tim's scenes at storygrid.com/podcast

  24. Thumb 1490878865 artwork

    Nailing the End of Your Book

    As Shawn and Tim continue discussing the beginning of the Ending Payoff, they venture into a discussion on how to make sure the end of your book pays off everything that came before.

  25. Thumb 1490236507 artwork

    Fear of Your Doing Your Best

    Tim and Shawn keep moving on the Ending Payoff, but also uncover some deeper issues. Download Tim's scenes at storygrid.com/podcast

  26. Thumb 1489604340 artwork

    Beginning the Ending Payoff

    The Middle Build is done. The Ending Payoff has begun. It took Tim four tries to get the first scenes of the Middle Build right. How long will it take him to get the Ending Payoff right? Download Tim's scenes at storygrid.com/podcast

  27. Thumb 1489020467 artwork

    Finishing the Middle Build

    After a long slog and a few weeks off, Shawn and Tim dive into the final scenes and sequences of the Middle Build. There's plenty of good, bad, and "just cut the whole scene." Download Tim's scenes at storygrid.com/podcast.

  28. Thumb 1486648228 artwork

    Character Trumps Plotting

    As Shawn and Tim continue discussing the Middle Build and driving the story with characters or plotting. See Tim's scenes at storygrid.com/podcast.

  29. Thumb 1486077050 artwork

    The Big Middle Build Moments

    There are big moments in every middle build that are extremely important to get right. Shawn and Tim talk through these in this episode. Download Tim's scenes at storygrid.com/podcast.

  30. Thumb 1485461490 artwork

    Correctly Progressively Complicating Your Scenes

    How do you pace your story to keep readers interesting without moving too fast? Shawn and Tim discuss the correct way to progressively complicate your scenes and sequences to write a killer Middle Build. Download Tim's scenes at storygrid.com/podcast.

  31. Thumb 1484852810 artwork

    How to finish your 1st draft

    How to work with a developmental editor and get to a finished, working first draft.

  32. Thumb 1484146529 artwork

    Dialing in the Sequence

    Tim gets much closer with his rewrite of the sequence, but there's still plenty to dial in. How do you identify these moments and how do you make them work? Shawn answers in this episode. Download Tim's scenes at storygrid.com/podcast.

  33. Thumb 1483614617 artwork

    Back to the 5 Commandments of Storytelling

    You have a scene that's not working, but you can't figure out why. What do you do? Shawn takes Tim back to the 5 Commandments of Storytelling. Download Tim's scenes at storygrid.com/podcast.

  34. Thumb 1483018446 artwork

    Starting Your Middle Build

    Shawn gives feedback on Tim's first Middle Build sequence and shares principles on how to do it right. Download Tim's scenes at storygrid.com/podcast.

  35. Thumb 1482418915 artwork

    How Genre Affects Your Story

    Shawn always talks about how important it is to know your genre, but it's sometimes a bit fuzzy figuring it out. Tim is in this spot now so Shawn walks him through it.

  36. Thumb 1481802109 artwork

    Scenes and Sequences for your Middle Build

    The Middle Build is the longest and most complex section of your novel. Figuring out how to plan it and pace it is really tough. Shawn and Tim dive in on how to do this.

  37. Thumb 1481197831 artwork

    How long will this take?

    How long does it take to write a great book? Some writers crank it out in a few weeks. Tim is taking much longer. What's the timeline on books? See the video we reference at storygrid.com/podcast

  38. Thumb 1480541636 artwork

    LIVE with Shawn and Tim

    Shawn and Tim recently spoke at Tribe Conference 2016. This is a recording of that talk. They discuss going pro, the hero's journey, and several other topics. It's a fun episode! You can see the video of the talk at storygrid.com/podcast

  39. Thumb 1479908093 artwork

    What is the Setting for your Novel?

    The 4 questions you have to answer to establish the setting of your novel. Download Tim's world document at storygrid.com/podcast.

  40. Thumb 1479416524 artwork

    World Building in Your Novel

    Tim makes the mistake of diving into his middle build before he's really planned out the world. Shawn walks him through how to do this and what makes a great world for your novel. Download Tim's scenes at storygrid.com/podcast

  41. Thumb 1478748248 artwork

    Planning Your Middle Build

    Once you have a working Beginning Hook, it's time to move into the Middle Build. This makes up 50% of your book and can be overwhelming at the start. Shawn and Tim discuss how to dive in. Download Tim's scene at storygrid.com/podcast.

  42. Thumb 1478197057 artwork

    Finishing the Beginning Hook

    Shawn and Tim discuss the last sequence in the Beginning Hook and getting started on the Middle Build. Download Tim's scenes at storygrid.com/podcast.

  43. Thumb 1477594095 artwork

    Moving from Scenes to Sequences

    Shawn critiques Tim's latest scenes, and how you can move into planning and writing sequences. Download Tim's scenes at storygrid.com/podcast.

  44. Thumb 1476886281 artwork

    How to Write a Great Love Story

    Part 2 on the love story genre. Shawn and Tim dive into the genre conventions, obligatory scenes, and how you can write a great love story.

  45. Thumb 1476319697 artwork

    The Most Important Genre

    If you had to pick one genre to master, what should it be? Shawn answers the question in this week's episode.

  46. Thumb 1475742197 artwork

    Getting the Rewrites Right

    Tim finally nails his scene. What changed? And what is the right process for going from draft to a working scene?

  47. Thumb 1475086821 artwork

    Listener Questions and More Rewrites

    Shawn and Tim answer a few questions from listeners and then dive into more rewrites of Tim's scenes. Check storygrid.com/podcast for a download of Tim's scene.

  48. Thumb 1474519756 artwork

    How to Rewrite Scenes

    How do you take scenes that don't work and rewrite them? Shawn and Tim walk through best practices and common pitfalls.

  49. Thumb 1473773837 artwork
  50. Thumb 1473361050 artwork

    Critiquing Tim's Beginning Hook

    Tim has finished the first 11 scenes of his book -- the Beginning Hook -- and Shawn wades into his critique on where he did well and where he... didn't.

  51. Thumb 1472729757 artwork
  52. Thumb 1472124006 artwork

    The Great Hedonometer

    This week we talk with PhD candidate Andy Reagan who is one of the researchers behind the Hendonometer Shawn and Tim discussed a couple weeks ago. Andy shares where they are at with the research and they discuss the implications for writers in the future.

  53. Thumb 1471532100 artwork

    Turning Pro as a Writer

    What does it take to move from amateur to professional as a writer? Tim and Shawn discuss this in depth and share their experience.

  54. Thumb 1470876727 artwork

    There are only 6 stories

    New research shows there are only 6 stories that every book is based on. Shawn and Tim discuss the implications of this and how it applies to Tim's story.

  55. Thumb 1470252164 artwork

    What Good Editors Know

    A good developmental editor is mentoring an author through their book. That comes with some basic frustrations, especially when the editor is coaching a newbie like Tim. Shawn shares his views on this along with his new math equation... M + TEⁿ = IF.

  56. Thumb 1469707369 artwork

    Calibrating Your Scenes

    How do you get the stakes and tone of your scene right? As Tim begins to understand how to write a better scene, he struggles with going to far. Shawn works with him on how to write a great opening scene that doesn't go too far.

  57. Thumb 1469067507 artwork

    Villains and Inciting Incidents

    Who drives the story? This is a harder question to answer than you think. Shawn and Tim dive deep in this question.

  58. Thumb 1466707744 artwork

    Pub 101: How to Work With Your Publisher

    In this three part series, Shawn and Tim discuss the ins and outs of the publishing industry. Learn how to work with your publisher and market your book.

  59. Thumb 1466542112 artwork

    Pub 101: Finding an Agent and Selling Your Book

    In this three part series, Shawn and Tim discuss the ins and outs of the publishing industry. Learn how to find an agent and sell your book to a major publisher.

  60. Thumb 1466541676 artwork

    Pub 101: Trade vs Indie Publishing and Backstory

    In this three part series, Shawn and Tim discuss the ins and outs of the publishing industry. They share their backstory and answer the question, "Should I indie or traditionally publish my book?"

  61. Thumb 1465672806 artwork

    Special Guest: Steven Pressfield - Part 2

    Learn how to fight Resistance and launch your writing career with the amazing Steven Pressfield. Check out his new book NO ONE WANTS TO READ YOUR SHIT.

  62. Thumb 1465671589 artwork

    Special Guest: Steven Pressfield - Part 1

    Learn how to fight Resistance and launch your writing career with the amazing Steven Pressfield. Check out his new book NO ONE WANTS TO READ YOUR SHIT.

  63. Thumb 1465324623 artwork

    Writing Your 2nd Draft

    Tim and Shawn work to nail down the specifics for the second draft. Narrative device is a big topic along with nailing down the big events in your story.

  64. Thumb 1464866725 artwork

    Getting Your Big Scenes Right

    Is Shawn killing Tim's creativity? This episode starts with that question then moves into deep genre questions and how to use Internal and External genres to tell great stories.

  65. Thumb 1464201037 artwork

    What do your characters want? (plus, Tim gets frustrated)

    This is the first episode that Tim gets noticeably frustrated. Shawn is trying to teach him how to avoid cliches, hit the right conventions for his genre, and make sure his character's motivations are clear. Unfortunately, Tim is having a hard time catching on.

  66. Thumb 1463657996 artwork

    Finding a Marketable Genre

    This is an epic episode. Shawn and Tim talk through finding a marketable genre and how to build a book that fits. Then, once the episode was over, they keep talking with the mics on for another half hour. This is a great behind-the-scenes episode.

  67. Thumb 1463048510 artwork

    Getting Unstuck

    After a week of Tim floundering with his first draft, Shawn starts to rescue him from the pit of despair. Of course, they go back to genre to find the way home. This is a wide ranging episode on how you can start picking up the pieces of your first draft.

  68. Thumb 1462402873 artwork

    The 2 big questions to ask your first draft

    This was a haps episode for Tim. Shawn has now read the manuscript and gives his feedback and next steps. They also discuss the two questions you should ask your first draft.

  69. Thumb 1461810949 artwork

    First draft is done. Now what?

    Tim has finished his first draft and Shawn gives advice on what happens next and what questions Tim should be asking himself.

    If you'd like to read Tim's first draft, you can do that at storygrid.com/podcast.

  70. Thumb 1461332090 artwork

    Can you learn to write better (without trying)?

    Shawn and Tim discuss unconventional ways to become a better writer. Topics include chicken sexing, Deliberate Practice, and many other things. Also, Tim's now trying to track down a cadaver he can use.

  71. Thumb 1460650621 artwork

    How to Write Faster

    How can you get more writing done? Is the "wall" even real or just in your head?

  72. Thumb 1460028929 artwork

    Do you have to be depressed to be a good writer?

    Another wide ranging episode that eventually lands on an important question. Kurt Vonnegut said "You cannot be a good writer of serious fiction if you are not depressed." Is this really true?

  73. Thumb 1459422183 artwork

    When to get feedback from other writers

    A wide ranging episode where Shawn and Tim discuss a new way to think about beginning hooks, the high concept "What if?" pitch, when to open the door and get other writer's feedback, and how the "Power of 10" will help your editing process.

  74. Thumb 1458759877 artwork

    What if my writing sucks?

    It was at 8000 words in that Tim realized his writing was terrible. So how does he keep going? Shawn offers his advice on overcoming this and other types of resistance.

  75. Thumb 1458240133 artwork

    What is the Theme of your Story?

    What is your theme or controlling idea, and how does it help you tell a better story? Tim and Shawn also discuss how to avoid getting caught in analysis-paralysis and how to build your world the right way.

  76. Thumb 1457369629 artwork

    How to plot and outline your story

    As Tim begins to plot and outline his story, he gets Shawn's input on exactly how to do it. This process is filled with potential time wasters and distractions, and Shawn helps Tim avoid them. See Tim's initial outline and other downloads at storygrid.com/podcast.

  77. Thumb 1457030812 artwork

    Creating great writing habits

    How do great writers actually get their writing done? Shawn and Tim delve into this along with combating fear and reaching your goals.

  78. Thumb 1456314026 artwork

    How to Story Grid a Book

    Talking about Story Grid is one thing, putting it into practice is quite another. Tim struggles with applying Story Grid to Harry Potter. In addition, specificity, ins and outs of publishing, and more.

  79. Thumb 1455675076 artwork

    Can I just rip off Harry Potter?

    The Hero's Journey and how it works with Story Grid. The characters and scenarios. Also, how to learn from one book to write your own.

  80. Thumb 1455113104 artwork
  81. Thumb 1453817697 artwork

    Where do great story ideas come from?

    The question every author gets... "Where do you come up with story ideas?" Also, how to write characters that are truthful, even when you can't relate with them.

  82. Thumb 1453580896 artwork

    Better Non-fiction with Story Grid

    Shawn explains how Story Grid can help you be a better non-fiction writer. Also, the editing process and how to know when your book is "done".

  83. Thumb 1453241209 artwork

    How to write a great beginning hook

    How do you write an opener for your book that grabs people's attention and doesn't let go? Shawn shares great insights on this along with how to develop believable characters.

  84. Thumb 1453217626 artwork
  85. Thumb 1453217646 artwork
  86. Thumb 1453217668 artwork
  87. Thumb 1453217680 artwork

    The 8 stages of grief/writing

    How does the Kübler-Ross model from psychiatry apply to your writing? Also, how to develop your characters and applying the Story Grid to non-fiction.

  88. Thumb 1453217696 artwork

    What is narrative device?

    How can narrative device make your storytelling easier? We also discuss the two types of inciting incidents and how the Story Grid applies to he movie Dead Calm.

  89. Thumb 1453217710 artwork

    The Mathematics of Storytelling

    Story Grid Math. How many scenes, words, turns does your book need? Also discussed is the 5 commandments of storytelling and Tim's attempt at a rewrite.

  90. Thumb 1453217725 artwork

    6 questions (good) editors ask

    The 6 questions (good) editors ask and the 5 parts of every story. See the full show notes to download Shawn's critiques of Tim's first scene.

  91. Thumb 1453217742 artwork

    Shawn rips apart Tim's scene

    Shawns critiques (rips apart) Tim's first scene. Along the way, they discuss Agatha Christie, Wes Craven, Hemingway, and Freddy Krueger. See full show notes at storygrid.com/podcast to download and read Tim's first scene.

  92. Thumb 1453217762 artwork

    How not to waste 100k words

    How does The Martian work with The Story Grid? Plus, we discuss how to make sure your story is good before writing 100k words and the difference between Internal and External genre.

  93. Thumb 1453217819 artwork

    How does Stephen King write?

    How does Stephen King do it? Plus, Shawn and Tim talk about flailing as a writer and how good character development is really done.

  94. Thumb 1453217804 artwork

    Diving deep into genre

    Shawn and Tim dive deeper into genre and how to find the best internal and external conflicts. Along the way they discuss the hero's journey, love stories, and a woman from the sea.

  95. Thumb 1453217791 artwork
  96. Thumb 1453217777 artwork

    And that's what life is all about

    How can you become a better writer? Join Shawn Coyne, a bestselling editor with 25+ years experience, and Tim Grahl as they dive into the craft of story telling.

Back Home