The Story Grid is a tool for critiquing and conceptualizing a manuscript. Focusing on the thriller genre and using The Silence of the Lambs as a case study, Coyne lays out a formula for structuring and sequencing an effective story. A literal how-to manual for the thriller writer.
Let me tell you five things that blew me away about his book.
- Coyne spells out the obligatory scenes and conventions that form the backbone of a thriller.
- He provides a page-at-a-glance template for outlining the progression of your story (The Foolscap Global Story Grid).
- He walks you through the construction of a completed Story Grid that tracks all of the unfolding elements of your novel to let you see where it may have gone awry.
- He breaks out the number of pages/chapters/scenes that belong in the Beginning Hook, Middle Build and Ending Payoff sections of a novel (and explains why).
- He analyzes the values that drive the external and internal genres of a story and shows how they interrelate.
And if that isn’t enough, Coyne even gives his stuff away. All of his materials are available as freebies on his website, www.storygrid.com But I may sleep with his book under my pillow and try to absorb all I can. If you are a novelist, you’ll want to check out The Story Grid. And if you write thrillers, you can’t afford not to!