The Story Grid

I came to this book thus;-

Started writing novels with no structure (pantsing, or by the seat of your pants) and wondered about structure. Wasn't it a bad thing? Didn't people complain that the novel they'd just read seemed to be written to a formulae?

Listening to various 'writers' podcasts and one mentioned 'beats' and writing with structure. Googled a free grid and fitted my already written novel into the grid. It worked. Hooray. Yeah me.

Wrote more trying to fit work into said structure from the beginning but found it restrictive and stifling. Wanted to know more about structure.

Shelled out big bucks for the (large) paperback. Read from cover to cover and it now sits on my bedside table as a reference. (Write 5am to 8am).

Some have said the book contains too much detail. I tend to agree, slightly, especially when it comes to plans that feed into bigger plans. The book is based on film work (Silence Of The Lambs) but is relevant to novel writing, especially thrillers.

My method now is to have the basis of The Story Grid in Microsoft Excel and fill in detail after each chapter. I write, freeflow, not to The Grid, but relating back to it allows some form of structure. (eg. Too heavy in beginning and end with very little middle story.

I've heard successful authors in podcasts say they never look at this sort of grid and I guess we are all different. For me it's a case of picking the best of both methods.


Often I will write a chapter, add the chapter into my grid, realise that there is something missing from the chapter (thrown up by the blank on the grid) and I go back to fix it.

Given what I know, would I buy the book again? Most definitely. If only for the fact that if I get stuck in novel direction I can treat this book as a road map to get me to the next place.

Five stars and big thanks to the author for allowing me more writing enjoyment.

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