Term 2 Begins


Back to School

I’ve had a great holiday, family, feasting and festivities galore. But this week sees me back at the work.

But I have not been idle over the holiday period. During that time I have consumed most of ‘The Story Grid’ by Shawn Coyne, which arrived just before Christmas. This is a thorough and thoughtful piece of work. Whilst reading this I applauded myself for taking the advice provided in the blogpost that introduced this DIYMA to me, https://wille.org/blog/2019/09/17/syllabus-for-a-diy-ma-in-creative-writing-2019/ , and delaying any significant work on my proposed manuscript. The Story Grid is a distillation of the decades of editorial experiences accumulated by this highly respected editor.


Some may view this book as a ‘formula’ for genre writing, but that is not its origin. The book, and editorial methodology, is a distillation of what makes books in particular genres successful and why. And the book invites you to apply this to your own writing. It also identifies why books which do not ‘fit’ the grid rarely succeed.

There is a significant amount of information about this approach at https://storygrid.com/ I recommend this for anyone struggling with plot, story arc, or a feeling that something is ‘missing’ from their work. It has changed my approach to the work I am undertaking, making me diligent about outlining and the purpose of scenes.


Over the next two weeks I shall be looking at Plotting and Narrative Structure, specifically looking at pacing, reveals and time. This is Class 6 in the Craft Seminar module of Andrew Wille DIYMA syllabus.

I shall be looking at ‘Bitter Orange’ by Claire Fuller through the lens of Michael Hague’s Five Key Turning points concept. But more of that next week.


Current Reading

‘The Fifth Child’ Doris Lessing

‘The Golden Notebook’ Doris Lessing (about a third read)

‘The Story Grid’ Shawn Coyne

‘Writing Fiction’ Janet Burroway Chapter 5/6

‘Hazards of Time Travel’ Joyce Carol Oates

‘Bitter Orange’ Claire Fuller (reread)

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©2019 by Rik Lonsdale