This episode was very eye opening for me. I had seen and studied the Foolscap and even filled it out for my book before the first draft. However, using it as a tool to edit my first draft was totally different.
Each of these Story Grid tools is a new lense to look at and evaluate your work in progress.
[0:00:00.3] TG: Hello and welcome to the Story Grid Podcast. This is a show dedicated to helping you become a better writer. I’m your host Tim Grahl and I am a struggling writer trying to figure out how to tell a story that works. Joining me shortly is Shawn Coyne, he is the creator of Story Grid, the author of the book Story Grid, and an editor with over 25 years’ experience.
In this episode, Shawn and I are actually together in person. He came to Nashville and we spent a day together planning some fun stuff we have coming out in Story Grid over the next year. Then we also recorded this episode live together, so it was a lot of fun. We continued our discussion about the Foolscap.
On the last episode we got about halfway through, and as we continued to work through it in this episode, I really saw the power of this story grid tool and how it can help you see your story in a whole new light. Shawn staying is to always switch between micro and macro views of your story, and so going scene-by-scene was that micro view and doing the Foolscap is a way to zoom out and look at your story as a whole. Really powerful, it really showed some things in my story that need fixing, so I think you’ll enjoy this episode a lot.
Let’s jump in and get started.
[0:01:19.3] TG: Shawn, in the last episode, we started going through the Foolscap For my story. We got through the first section, the global story where we talk about the genres, internal, and external, the obligatory scenes, the points of view, objects of desire, and controlling idea and theme. We started getting into the beginning hook. We’re going to try to pick back up there. To back up, can you just talk a little bit about what the Foolscap is, the point of it, what we’re trying to accomplish, because I went through scene-by- scene and looked at all the five or six different problems of the spreadsheet and I did that to-do list that I’ve continue adding to. Why are we now switching to something that is like the Foolscap?
[0:02:16.7] SC: The Foolscap gives you a global macro view of the story. You can be perfectly fine in the micros scene-by-scene work, but if you don’t step back and take a look at the global story and the global values that are moving. Remember, each scene can have a value at stake the changes, but it may or may not have anything to with the global value at stake at a larger degree.
When you step back and use the Foolscap, you’re taking a very very wide angle picture of the story. For example, when you ask somebody, “Hey, you saw Star Wars. What’s it about?” They’re not going to tell you scene-by-scene what it’s about. They’re going to tell you the global story in maybe two sentences.
The Foolscap gives you the tool necessary to look at the story from that kind of point of view so that when people after they finish reading your book and they ask, “What’s Tim Grah’s book about?” They’ll be able to say, “Oh, it’s about this girl who overthrows dystopian future and in fact she makes it worse.”
That’s sort of the global story that we’re talking about. You’ve got a young girl, was recruited to fight a battle that brings about change in the society. If she wins, the society will change irrevocably. She’s naïve and immature, so she has to go through process of becoming mature as the story progresses. I’m getting off track again.
The global idea is to give the writer a true sense of what the message of the global movements of the story are, so the Foolscap tells you if you’re on track or not and if you’re having difficulty answering the questions that are posed by the Foolscap, and there are probably about 50 questions you have to answer on this page. That will tell you there’s a weakness in your story that you need to go back and pinpoint where you can fix that weakness, where can you make it more clear about the progression of this story.
This is the big bit picture that you have to look at after you’ve gone through your scene-by-scene. You’ve gone through your scene-by-scene and you’ve probably — I would say 90 to 95% of your scenes work. There’s probably a few that are conquers that you have to fix, but you know you know how to write a scene. You’re not going to worry about that so much and you’ve already going through scene-by-scene to find the small continuity problems all those things that you want to do and you’ve added notes to yourself about how you can increase and the better the story settings and things of that nature.
Now, the reason why we moved to Foolscap is now we’re going to tests, did you comply or abide by the conventions and obligatory scenes of your genres. Where specifically did you abide them? If you didn’t, you have to make a note why or when you have to abide them. Then we’re going to go from the beginning hook, through the middle build, through the ending payoff and look at the global movement of each one of those sections to make sure that you’re hitting the plus-minus, minus-plus, plus-minus of the global value as well as the micro values from scene to scene.
[0:05:48.0] TG: Right. That’s the part that as I filled it out I had the biggest trouble with, was the far right columns of the plus-minus of the external and internal values. You want to just jump in to the beginning hook?
[0:06:04.0] SC: Yeah, let’s talk at the beginning hook. Before we do that, let’s really go super global here, and I’m very very pleased that you put at the top of each of the sections; beginning hook, middle build, and ending payoff, the progression that you want to be able to show in each one the sections in terms of value.
The beginning hook, you want to move from life to unconsciousness. What that means is you want to show this is the external value at stake. The external value at stake in the thriller is life-death, and there are two positive, two things about the X-axis; there’s life and unconsciousness. Beneath the X-axis are death, and the fate worse than death; damnation.
At the beginning of this story, our character is alive. She’s full of life. She’s doing her thing. She’s in a — Her life value is pretty stable. By the end of the beginning hook, you need her to be in place of complete and total uncertainty, unconsciousness. Her life has been shaken so much that she is now moved from a positive top life slowly downward to the negative of unconsciousness. Unconsciousness meaning there’s so much going on her world that she can’t really feel stable. She’s unconscious of what’s really going on.
Now, also, because you have an internal genre, the maturation plot, you want this to move — It’s going to start in the negative. Your external is starting in the positive, right? She’s starting with life. The internal starts negative because she’s naïve. In fact, she’s worse than naïve, she believes she’s sophisticated. It’s naïveté masked as sophistication, just like Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice.
Isn’t this interesting? You’re starting your story the very beginning with one value positive, your external value is going to be positive, and your internal value is going to be super negative. That’s really interesting because that’s a character that has two polar opposite things in her characterization.
[0:08:59.4] TG: That’s the tension. We want that tension.
[0:09:02.0] SC: That’s a conflict, right? That’s what conflict is, is when things don’t match.
Now, we’re talking global now. We’re not talking scene-by-scene. At the end of the story, how you want the story to end? This is answered by your choice of genre. This is why genre is important. If you understand your genre, you can answer a lot of questions automatically. In a thriller, if your thriller negatively externally, meaning it does not end with your hero winning. Your audience will be disappointed. It doesn’t mean that the hero’s actions can’t cause something that is worse than the beginning, because that’s what happens in your story. It just means that your hero has to succeed at her external object of desire.
The story, your story, ends positively. Jessie wins, right? Jessie overthrows the tyranny. That’s a win. Now, we know it’s going to start positively, then it’s going to have to turn negatively, then it’s going to end positively, because we don’t want flat line of story. Stories are about change. They start one place, they go another, and they come back.
If you’re starting positively, your story has to dip negatively at the end of the beginning of hook. It’s going to go more negative, more negative in your middle build and it slowly rises into the positive in your ending payoff. If you were to look at the Silence of the Lambs grid, you would see my initial grid, the one, the really down and dirty one that I just — Steve Pressfield asked me one day, “Show me what you mean about this, the physical manifestation of a grid,” and I drew a sign, cosign curve. Starts positively, goes super negative and ends positively. Kurt Vonnegut talks about this in the YouTube videos too.
You know by your choice of genre, the thriller, you’re going to be positive, negative, up to a positive. Your internal genre is a process of maturation. What is maturation? It moves from lying to yourself super negative to being uncertain — I’m sorry. To recognizing your naïveté, to being uncertain, meaning you’re willing to change your point of view to maturation, which is when you understand that the world is a different place than when you initially thought. It moves from super negative up through a positive. It sort of starts negative and it goes sort of like a half of a wave.
Just knowing your genres has given you a lot of story grid information. Now, the purpose of the Foolscap is to check that whether or not you’re actually doing what your genre is required. Let’s go through your beginning hook and see if we begin positively on the external and negatively on the internal and then we’re going to move a little bit more positive on the internal at the end of the beginning hook and we’re going to move to a more negative on the external. Just based upon those two pieces of information, we know about your chosen genres.
The inciting incident of your global story, you say when she has discovered to have a gift, not getting scrabbled, this will be in the prologue.
[0:13:15.2] TG: Yes. As we discussed near the end of the last episode, was like what was the inciting incident. We went back to like, “Oh, it’s actually the whole story began when Jessie was younger and her brother realized the gift that she had.
[0:13:33.6] SC: Let’s talk about that. Externally, is that a positive or negative for the life value of your character?
[0:13:44.6] TG: This is where I don’t understand when you say externally, was that a negative or a positive. I’m having trouble —
[0:13:53.4] SC: Is she alive or not.
[0:13:55.5] TG: When you say positive or minus externally, you’re just — all that saying is is she at the beginning of that curve, which is life. Yes, she’s just living her life. She doesn’t know anything’s different —
[0:14:12.0] SC: It’s actually a positive inciting incident. If you discover that you have a super power.
[0:14:17.9] TG: She didn’t discover.
[0:14:21.4] SC: I know that, but the story — You are the architect of the story. You were looking at it as the architect of the story as you’re constructing it. Your first foundation is a prologue that the reader isn’t going to understand at first, that’s why you put a prologue. A prologue is an action scene or sequence that doesn’t throw off too much meaning but is very mysterious to the reader. It’s a way of looking.
[0:14:54.7] TG: It doesn’t matter if the reader knows it’s positive. As long as it is positive in the story as a whole, then it’s positive.
[0:15:04.4] SC: Exactly, as you —
[0:15:05.6] TG: Because I was thinking like, “Okay, well she’s running through the woods because she almost died.” That’s externally bad is what I was — but you’re saying looking at it as a whole, finding out that you have a superpower and that she can live when everybody else will die, that’s a positive thing.
[0:15:27.6] SC: That is correct. The reason why we’re doing Foolscap is micro-thinking. What you were just described was micro-seen thinking. We’re looking at macro-foolscap thinking, which means we are not worried about the actual scene, that is the inciting incident. We’re trying to qualify what kind of inciting incident is this. If I say to you the beginning of the story begins with a hurricane, and it’s an action store. Is that a positive or a negative inciting incident?
[0:16:04.3] TG: Negative.
[0:16:04.2] SC: Negative. Exactly, and it’s a coincidental inciting incident, meaning there’s no cause for hurricane, it just kinds of happens. It’s arbitrary depending on weather patterns. I know the physical universe, there’s reasons why there are hurricanes, but we as human beings would say it was an arbitrary occurrence.
Jessie’s inciting incident is that she has a superpower. She is immune to death in the alternative world, meaning she won’t get destroyed in the alternative universe like other people do.
[0:16:48.8] TG: Okay, and that’s positive.
[0:16:49.6] SC: That’s is absolutely positive. That is a special gift. Now, is that causal or incidental? Do you know? You don’t necessarily have to know right now, but it’s a good question.
[0:17:03.6] TG: Is it finding out is the incident or just the fact that it’s there is the incident?
[0:17:13.1] SC: Just the fact that it’s there.
[0:17:14.4] TG: I don’t know.
[0:17:15.7] SC: Okay. This is good. This is the way you plan sequels and prequels, because I haven’t seen the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie, be but they planted a special gift in the protagonist, and they planted a possibility that his father was an extraterrestrial who had sex with his mother who was a human being. That’s why this guy has super powers, but he doesn’t know it yet. We don’t know it yet. I don’t even know it yet.
Jessie’s gift could either be coincidental, meaning just a genetic luck of the draw, or it could be because of her lineage. That’s something to think about in the future. When you do an inciting incident, think about how are structuring it. Is this a causal or incidental one? If you don’t necessarily have to make an absolute choice about it, still make a note of it, because when you want to plan something later and your mind is boggling and you go, “What was that inciting incident where I started the whole story. I’m not really sure if I would qualify that as a coincidence or a cause. If it were a cause, then X, I could do X. If it was a coincidence, I could do Y.”
[0:18:45.2] TG: Even inside Guardians of the Galaxy, they make it seem like at first , in the first movie, still, they make it seem like at first he was just kind of abducted and you don’t know why, so it’s incidental. Then at the end, they let you know that, “No, they were sent to pick him up specifically.” Then you know it’s causal.
[0:19:05.4] SC: Right. That’s called a setup and a payoff. That’s what your prologue does to. You’re setting up a payoff later. The only person who knows about Jessie’s gift is who?
[0:19:23.4] TG: The brother.
[0:19:23.3] SC: The brother.
[0:19:24.8] TG: The reader doesn’t know the brother knows that even after reading the prologue.
[0:19:30.5] SC: Of course, not. Yeah. That’s the setup.
[0:19:33.7] TG: Then the internal charge, we don’t really know — I would say the inciting incident —
[0:19:40.4] SC: We know the internal charge immediately.
[0:19:42.7] TG: It’s negative, but she shows that more in the first actual seen than the inciting incident.
[0:19:50.1] SC: Okay, we’re —
[0:19:51.5] TG: Global. I’m looking at scenes still. Globally, she thinks she knows how the world works, the world works this way and she is living inside of the world and she has no idea what’s really happening underneath the surface. That’s negative.
[0:20:08.7] SC: She’s super smart. She’s really good at what she does, so that’s a quality of asophisticate sophisticate. Somebody who’s sophisticated is good at what they do. I might be a sophisticated editor, but I’m not a sophisticated diplomat. You wouldn’t want to put me in a room in Iran with anybody negotiating anything, because I’m naïve. I would ruin it. I would screw it up. You can have a sophistication in a particular arena that can like to you and say, “Oh, that transfers to everything in my life.” She has a sophistication as a hacker, as somebody who’s capable of negotiating the strange world she lives in a way that makes her comfortable and she is better at it than other people. She is naïve. She has a naïveté that masked by sophistication. That’s your inciting incident for the internal genre, it’s negative, it’s double negative in fact, which is good.
Because when we began this podcast discussion, we talked about how in the beginning hook of a thriller, the external should start positively, and because you have a maturation plot, the maturation plot starts negatively. The beginning of Saturday Night Fever, Tony Manero is a mook, is a complete mook that we all know. We know this. This is the guy who works at the hardware store. It blows all these money on Saturday night and then he has start over again in the next week, and he’s going to live that way the rest of his life until something happens to him.
So far so good. We’ve got a positive external and a double negative internal. What you have is listed in negative external and a positive internal.
[0:22:19.8] TG: Yeah, but see, nobody is going to see that because I already changed it on the spreadsheet online.
[0:22:23.7] SC: Okay. All right. Okay, so that’s the global inciting incident, s which is also the inciting incident of the beginning hook. Now, what’s the complication? You say the punishment is the shaming and banishment to the numbered.
[0:22:45.2] TG: This is where we must have stopped in the last episode, because the inciting incident I had was that she refused to go to the capital, and so then the next thing I said — And the punishment for that was the shaming and banishment to the numbered.
[0:23:00.2] SC: No, the inciting incident was when she got caught.
[0:23:03.0] TG: Right, okay.
[0:23:05.8] SC: The complication —
[0:23:07.2] TG: Then as we talked through it, we were like, “Actually, it’s the prologue that kicks off the whole story when the brother finds out she has the power,” because that’s what actually kicks off the whole story.
[0:23:19.5] SC: The complication if we’re going to use prologue is the inciting incident of the story, which I think we should. The complication would be she’s caught something that she thought that she was immune to being caught, so she’s caught red handed as a complication. Externally, let’s evaluate that complication globally.
[0:23:47.3] TG: Globally, if we’re moving to life to unconsciousness, so life to unconsciousness is a negative move. She went from all is well, she’s moving in the world uncomplicated and now she’s caught doing something, so that would be a negative shift. Is the complication for the externals genre necessarily the complication for the internal genre too, or those two different things?
[0:24:16.1] SC: That’s a good question. It’s usually a complication has an external and internal component. The answers to that question is yes, the complication when you’re analyzing the global story, beginning hook, by middle build. Yes, those two should be complementary.
The internal complication for being caught red-handed is actually positive because when she is caught red-handed, it’s going to force her down path that will reveal the truth to her.
[0:24:59.5] TG: This is one of those things where like it’s —
[0:25:03.3] SC: If you’re an alcoholic and you hit bottom, it’s negative, but it’s also a positive internally.
[0:25:09.8] TG: I was going to talk about my kids getting disciplined. For them, externally, it’s a negative, but it’s a positive because it’s teaching them how to — so when I’m looking at her, her getting caught doing this action that is just reinforcing her mass sophistication is now calls that into question, which externally hurts her, but internally starts putting her on the path towards maturity.
[0:25:41.3] SC: Exactly. Your external is starting to move downward, your internal is starting to move upward.
[0:25:50.4] TG: It’s the shift. First, the inciting incident is where we’re beginning. On the internal, she begins double negative, but in the complication it starts to shift positive.
[0:26:04.1] SC: Yes.
[0:26:06.0] TG: Now, we’re at the crisis, so I put the crisis as — when I was putting this together, I went back and looked at you Foolscap for Silence of the Lambs, in Price and Prejudice and tried to kind of — Because you did different things and different ones slightly different, so I tried to put in here, because you can either have best bad choice or irreconcilable goods.
I put best bad choice is the crisis of the beginning hook is does she stay with the numbered and people keep getting hurt while being loathed by the numbered once they find out that she’s going to leave, or go to the capital where she’s terrified to go, because that’s where her brother was lost.
[0:26:50.3] SC: yes, the crisis of the beginning hook. Does she stay with the numbered which will be negative and for innocent third parties, or does she go to the capital where it’s going to be even more negative for her and she’s even unsure of what effect that will have on third parties. She either has a choice between double negative or a negative and a possible positive.
[0:27:21.3] TG: A question mark.
[0:27:22.3] SC: Yeah, right. The reason why we don’t mark whether that’s a positive or negative in external and internal columns — You have an N/A there and I guess you did that because that’s what I did on the —
[0:27:36.1] TG: Here’s of my understanding of it is that nothing has happened yet.
[0:27:40.9] SC: That’s correct. She hasn’t chosen.
[0:27:42.5] TG: Right. Having a choice is not negative or positive, it’s once you make the choice what happens.
[0:27:50.8] SC: There has to be a choice. A lot of people like to write things where nobody chooses anything, and that’s not a story, that’s something else. That’s boring. Those things don’t work and stop doing them, who is ever continuing to write things where nobody chooses them.
Anyway, the he best bad choices is crisis. You could also look at it in terms of irreconcilable goods. This is the thing about best bad choice irreconcilable goods is that depending upon the nature of the fallout of the complication, you kind of see somebody’s choosing , “This is going to be bad for me, but worse — It’s going to stop worst things from happening.” That’s a best bad choice. Irreconcilable goods means, “This will be good for me and not good for anybody else.” It’s sort of looking at the glass of water half full or half empty.
[0:28:55.6] TG: Going back to the complication, this was one thing — Because between the complication and the crisis is like nine scenes of other progressive complications in the beginning hook. When you’re filling out the Foolscap, are you just looking at the first complication this starts to throw the world out of kilter?
If we think about Lord of the Rrings and Frodo and all —between him having to choose whether or not to take on the challenge of taking the ring and leaving the Shire, he came into contact with the ring but then there is all these other little ones where the first —You’re just looking at the at the first complication that starts to throw the world off balance. Is that what you’re putting on the Foolscap?
[0:29:42.7] SC: Okay. Here’s is something that will confuse you even more.
[0:29:45.4] TG: Awesome.
[0:29:46.0] SC: Are you ready?
[0:29:46.4] TG: Yeah.
[0:29:47.3] SC: The way I would look at complication in the beginning hook that you want to focus on is the call to action in the hero’s journey. Call to action in the hero’s journey is call to adventure. This is what they call it. What Joseph Campbell call it. Call to adventure is when the hero is told, “Hey, you need to leave and go do something for the good of everybody else.” They go, “No way. I’m not going to do it.”
[0:30:17.8] TG: I have that pretty explicitly in that scene where he’s like, “All right, you’re going to leave and you’re going to go to the capital.” She’s like, “No, I’m not doing that.”
[0:30:27.5] SC: That’s right. She refuses the call, which is absolutely aligned with the hero’s journey, which is why we talked about it for about seven of these podcasts interviews.
[0:30:38.5] TG: Yeah, and we’re going to talk about it some more.
[0:30:39.6] SC: We will talk about it some more, because you wouldn’t do what I call the hero’s journey check as part of an editorial process, and that would be after we finished Foolscap stuff. Anyway, the complication in the beginning hook that gives rise to the crisis is the call to adventure.
[0:31:00.7] TG: I feel like I said the same thing in a different way, which is basically the first moment where their world starts to get kicked off kilter, because the whole point of beginning hook is to shove them into the new world, and so — there’s a moment where normal world, normal world, and then it just starts to get kicked up.
The fact that she got caught and she’s put into a bad position, all of a sudden her world —
[0:31:29.2] SC: Shamed and cut off.
[0:31:31.5] TG: That’s the next complication. The first one was just the fact that she got caught. That’s what we put in here, because she obviously has been stealing from a longtime. The fact that she got caught, it’s like now she already can’t go back to how things were before. Once they’ve gotten that call to adventure, they can never go back to a time where they weren’t called to adventure.
I got the crisis. Now, we’re on to —
[0:32:03.4] SC: That’s an irreversible complication.
[0:32:06.7] TG: Being called to adventure.
[0:32:09.6] SC: You can’t go back from being called to do something. If somebody says, “I need you to pick me up at the airport at 4 o’clock,” and you say, “No,” and it’s past 4:00. That’s an irreversible decision.
When you’re called to action and you refuse the call, that call to action doesn’t go away. It sits inside of your stews. That’s the crisis of the beginning hook; do I stay or do I go. Should I stay or should I go.
[0:32:40.2] TG: Right. Now, we’re in the climax. The climax is the decision. The crisis is the choice and the climax is the decision, right?
[0:32:53.2] SC: Yes. It’s the question and then the answer.
[0:32:56.5] TG: Okay. Will she stayed with the numbered or will she go to the capital and then the climax is she decides to go to the capital which — In this is where I don’t know externally — I would say that’s negative.
[0:33:13.2] SC: Is her life more threatened now that she’s decided to leave the safety of her ordinary world and the knowledge of her — She knows what she’s in for at home, right?
[0:33:24.2] TG: Yeah, even if she’s a part of the numbered, she at least knows —
[0:33:26.5] SC: Right. She knows what she’s in for.
[0:33:28.4] TG: It’s negative.
[0:33:29.6] SC: it’s negative, right?
[0:33:30.9] TG: Okay, once again this isn’t scene-by-scene. This is me as the storyteller looking at the entire story and it’s like, “Yes, if she had stayed with the numbered, she would have been safer than what she put herself into by agreeing to go to the capital. So it’s negative. All right, so I had positive. We’re going to switch that.
When she decides to go to the capital —
[0:33:52.8] SC: Is that good for her internally or not?
[0:33:56.3] TG: Yes, it’s good for her.
[0:33:57.7] SC: Yes. When you decide to do something, you decide to go on a diet. Externally, it sucks. Internally it’s good, because it teaches you discipline.
[0:34:10.9] TG: Then, the resolution is Jessie goes to the capital.
[0:34:17.3] SC: The resolution of it is something that you want to make a note of that, because often what you want to do in the resolution of your beginning hook is to tweak it so that it complicates it a little bit. You know what? Let’s not get into that now. Her decision, the resolution is that she’s actually accepted and she goes to the capital.
[0:34:45.9] TG: The resolution is what happens is the result of her making the decision.
[0:34:51.8] SC: Yes.
[0:34:52.1] TG: Okay. What happens as a result of her making a decision is she’s taking to the capital, which is negative and positive. Okay. Again —
[0:35:04.9] SC: Let’s check our work here. Now, we can check our work for it. In the thriller genre, at the beginning of the beginning hook, things are okay. It’s positive. At the end of the beginning hook, it moves downward, negative. What do we have? We have positive at the beginning and negative at the end.
In a maturation plot, we start double negative sophistication mask by — Naïveté masked by sophistication and positive relieve where that character is now on a path to truth. Now she is.
[0:35:45.6] TG: Okay. I’m one of those people that if you take a personality test, you look at it and you’re like, “Well, it’s really easy to now read into it that that’s what I am.” It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s like tarot card.
As somebody that — it’s great having you here having this discussion and you point out these things. If I know going into this, okay, she supposed to be going from positive to negative in the external genre. Am I going to be able to catch when I don’t actually make that switch in my story? Am I going to see it and b like, “I know it’s supposed to go negative, so I’m going to like read it as if it would—”
[0:36:31.4] SC: That’s possibility, you can lie to yourself that way, and the only thing I can say to that is that the more you write the more you won’t allow yourself to lie to yourself, because what often would happened in this case is that this is what a lot of writers will do, instead of them accepting the call to action, they’ll just complicates something more. They’ll just keep the complications running in the ordinary world and it doesn’t move.
[0:37:02.3] TG: It never climaxes.
[0:37:04.3] SC: The story stays in the same universe.
[0:37:09.8] TG: That’s what I was doing in the ending payoff. I kept writing more scenes and more scenes and more scenes so I never actually had to finish, and you’re like, “Okay, stop complicating. It’s now time to actually breach the end.”
[0:37:26.3] SC: If you find — This is why we have I have so many multiple layers of looking at the story, s so many different tools. It’s to safeguard you from lying to yourself. If you look at it from three different points of view or four different points of view or however many it takes, you’re ability to live to yourself will fall, because I’ve brought up the hero’s journey. Now, I meant to talk to you about the hero’s journey check in the next episode and we will do that, but the hero’s journey would stop you from making that mistake, because you’d be like, “She’s still in the ordinary world. I got to get over to the extraordinary world in the middle build. Oh! Dammit! Oh, okay. Then I didn’t really resolved this. I really didn’t have an irreversible crisis,” blah-blah-blah-blah.
[0:38:22.3] TG: All right. Middle build.
[0:38:25.1] SC: The middle build is also the big fat section of the book, it’s 50% of the book, and so this is where a lot of people can just fall by the wayside.
[0:38:37.7] TG: Yeah, which I tried to do several times writing this.
[0:38:41.8] SC: All right. Let’s just — Again, let’s check the value. I think we skipped over that. Did we move from life to unconsciousness, like sort of being pushed out of your comfort zone in kind of a daze for Jessie. I think we did.
[0:38:58.8] TG: Yeah, I think I did that well with how hard it was on her to be put into the numbered and then how bad it got with the numbered. She was never able to rest.
[0:39:09.0] SC: Right. She’s a little unconscious and fuzzy. That’s where our beginning — Our middle build begins with her unconsciousness. So it’s negative as supposed to the beginning of the book, but it’s still not negative. It’s still in the positive arena, quadrant, yeah. We want end the middle build in death. She has to face death.
[0:39:41.1] TG: Then, did we move from naivete mask to sophistication to just naivete. I would say we did because she knows now at this point she doesn’t understand everything was going on, but she still does not understand what’s going on.
[0:40:02.1] SC: She still has an internal confidence in herself that, “Okay, as a numbered, I’m not so great, but if I get back into my sweet spot of sophistication, hacking, I’ll be cool.” She’s still naïve.
[0:40:19.5] TG: Even I put that scene in there where she starts to get comfortable with the numbered, like she starts figuring out the system inside the numbered, but then that gets turning out in whack too.
[0:40:33.0] SC: Right. Yeah, she’s not as fully confident in her sophistication and she’s naïve now. She is recognizing that she is out of her comfort zone, and that is naïveté knowing that you don’t know. That’s actually uncertainty, but we’ll keep going.
We did accomplish those goals. Now, let’s look at the middle build globally now. That’s 30 scenes, or 25 scenes. Does it begin in unconsciousness? Does it end at death”
[0:41:15.9] TG: Are you asking me that now?
[0:41:17.3] SC: I’m asking you.
[0:41:18.3] TG: Yeah, because she dies at the end.
[0:41:20.9] SC: At the beginning of the inciting incidents for the external, when she arrives at the capital, what is the charge?
[0:41:34.4] TG: Okay. Let’s go back — The beginning hook started — We started with a charge and then the other three were the changes to that original charge, right?
[0:41:49.2] SC: The other three —
[0:41:50.3] TG: The inciting incident was the charge we began with and then the complication climax of resolution was a change to that original charge, right?
[0:42:02.7] SC: The complication — Yes. Yeah.
[0:42:06.2] TG: when we look at the middle build, am I saying what was the change since the resolution of the beginning hook or what are we starting at.
[0:42:15.6] SC: No, we’re doing at the resolution of the beginning hook. At the end of the beginning hook, the charge of the external genre is negative.
[0:42:26.5] TG: Yeah, it’s moved from — It started positive in the inciting incident, then it went a little more negative, a little more negative, a little more negative, a little more negative. When we look at the value shift to the inciting incident and middle build, are we staying we’re starting? We’re starting still the positive quadrant, but are we asking where it’s moved since the end of the beginning hook?
[0:42:51.6] SC: Since the end of the beginning hook.
[0:42:53.8] TG: Since the end of the beginning hook, it’s moved negative because now she’s not just going to the capital, she’s actually in the capital, which means she’s in more danger.
[0:43:04.6] SC: Yes. There’s another way to look at it too, and this is something that you might want to take a note on or not. It’s your decision. One of the ways to — You know how they always say, to undermine the reader’s expectations.
[0:43:22.8] TG: Zig when you’re supposed to zag.
[0:43:24.6] SC: Right. This is now an opportunity for the inciting incident of the middle build — What is the inciting incident of the middle build right now? She gets to the capital.
[0:43:35.7] TG: And get shown around.
[0:43:36.4] SC: Gets shown around. Is there a way to make that, and we expect her to be scared. What if when she gets there, it’s actually increases her external value, her life value? She’s actually better off at the capital.
[0:44:02.8] TG: According to the curve, I’m supposed to keep making her go down until —
[0:44:09.1] SC: Yes and no. Yes and no. You don’t want her to go so high that it overshoots, or actually you could. The point is is that you have a heartbeat.
[0:44:24.4] TG: Is it like —If you had a client that was an investor guy and he wrote this thing about how average is abnormal. If you look at like an investment portfolio over 10 years, you gained 10% over that time or whatever. Any given year, not one single year, was it actually 10%? It was an average. It’s like little ups and downs, little ups and downs, but if you look at it as a whole, it’s moving in a general direction. You’re saying, like to pop it up, only to crash it back down.
[0:44:59.8] SC: Yeah, if you look at the story grid for Silence of the Lambs, there’s a lot of jagged pits and valleys —That’s what I’m talking about, and that is how a writer can create narrative drive. If it’s so smooth —
[0:45:13.2] TG: It’s so predictable.
[0:45:14.8] SC: It’s so predictable. You might want to make a note that when she arrives, her life value is actually, “Wow! This is even better than I thought it would be. Incredible.”
Internally, if that is what happens, then that would be a negative.
[0:45:41.9] TG: Right, because then she’ll get more comfortable.
[0:45:42.7] SC: Exactly.
[0:45:44.0] TG: Right now, though, as written, starts negative because — Him, Az, showing her around, is kind of scary, because it’s fast, here’s all the danger. I can’t believe you don’t even know this stuff, they didn’t tell you anything. They just dropped you in here. Because it’s putting her more negatives — It’s creating more external pain, it’s creating more positive change, because we only create positive internal change when bad things are happening. Right now, it’s negative external, positive internal.
[0:46:18.6] SC: Yes. What I’m suggesting is you might want to consider switching them, and the way you switch that is by changing the scene to make it in Hunger Games when she gets on the train and they have this incredible food that she’s never seen, there’s all of these stuff, she get great dress. She’s got all kinds of intentions she never got at home. She’s better off on that train going to die in the Hunger Games then she ever was at home. It’s confusing, right?
[0:46:47.6] TG: Right.
[0:46:48.4] SC: When Jessie goes to this capital, she’s expecting it to be like a penal colony. Instead, it’s actually, “Oh, wait. Do you want a steak? Do you want a milkshake? Are you hungry? Can I—” People waiting on them hand and food, treating them like Gods. That can be kind of cool.
[0:47:12.1] TG: We’ve got the inciting incident. The complication is where it starts to throw the world out of whack again. The inciting incident is she gets shown around the capital and is dangerous. I put the complication was when she burns down the tower in the first severing, because that’s the first time the world of the capital gets thrown out of balance, because if she had just — When we are writing those scenes, you’re like, “You can’t write it so linearly where she goes into the severing and she just wins.”
Then we came up with the idea of like, “Okay, what if she just opts out of the whole thing by burning down the tower so that nobody wins.” My thought was that’s the complication because that’s the first moment where life in the capital gets thrown out of balance.
[0:48:10.7] SC: Yeah, it’d agree with that, and it’s irreversible. Opinions of the people will not be changed because of that action that she took.
[0:48:20.1] TG: Externally, not looking at the scene, I would say that’s a positive shift because she gains power externally and she wrestles back some control that was being taken away from her by doing that. If she had just played along with the game, she wouldn’t have gained and powers. That was her way of trying to pull back some of her power.
[0:48:47.2] SC: I would say the opposite. I would say that her life value is worse, because she’s going to suffer the consequences of —
[0:48:58.0] TG: Again, I’m looking at it from her perspective. I have to look at it from this — The globe —
[0:49:01.3] SC: You had to look at it from the global architect perspective.
[0:49:05.0] TG: Right, because the result of that was she was put in more danger. That’s where she gets.
[0:49:09.6] SC: Exactly, more danger. More danger negative.
[0:49:13.2] TG: All right. Then the internal charge is positive, because —
[0:49:19.1] SC: Usually, if ideal situation is that they’re mirrors. Actually, not mirrors. They’re opposites.
[0:49:25.5] TG: It’s cheating to say, “This is negative, so this must be positive. We have to know why it’s positive.”
[0:49:31.0] SC: No. We have to think of why it’s positive internally.
[0:49:32.8] TG: If she’s moving from naïve to uncertainty — It was naïve of her to think that she could control the gave control the game by just throwing it out of balance, and so when the president brains her back in, she’s now once again more uncertain about how everything works, because she thought I can wrestle control.
[0:49:50.7] SC: She’s moving closer to the truth. Think about is she moving closer to the truth or further away from the truth?
[0:49:57.8] TG: There’s this —My wife and I have been watching Handmaid’s Tale. Hulu is really really good, but there’s this one scene where — I’m going to try to encapsulate this quickly. She’s in this house that she’s basically just like a sex slave in this house, and the man is in control of the house and she’s only supposed to interact with him once a month when he has sex with her to try to get her pregnant.
He starts inviting her into his inner sanctum and the play Scrabble together. It’s a spoiler alert after. He’s inviting her in, inviting her in, and then there’s this moment where she thinks that she can control him. She starts trying to seduce him and he’s like — And he lets her clothes. She has to ask for permission. He said, “Yes,” and then he’s like, “Kiss me,” and she kissed him. He’s like, “Kiss me like you mean it,” and so she doesn’t, and then he kicks her out.
She was trying to seduce him to pull the power back and he turned it around on her. It was like, “No. I’m still in control of this situation.” That’s the same idea here were she was trying to pull some of her power back and she never had the power in the first place. She was naïve thinking she could get the power and now she’s even more uncertain of how any of these work.
The crisis of the middle build is best bad — I put best bad choice. She can play the game for real and probably die, or keep up her petulance and Ernst and Alex will get hurt along with herself, I should have in there. I have her crisis is, is she going to play along or is she going to keep being petulant and fighting it?
[0:51:58.4] SC: To be petulant would be good for her, because maybe it will eventually get her out of the place, but it will be bad for Ernst and Alex. That’s also your reconcilable good. It’s good for her. It’s not good for her friends. It’s also a best bad choice situation. So it’s okay to look at these crisis from either irreconcilable goods or best bad choice, because you can use the language either way, in most cases. Some are just really obvious that weren’t any other parts.
My only point is that there has to be a choice. There has to be a question. There has to be consequences for the actions. It cannot be all good or all bad. There has to be shades of gray of consequences in your crisis, or it’s not a crisis. Should I have chocolate ice cream or a vanilla ice cream, is not a crisis, or I get ice cream, they get nothing. That’s a crisis.
[0:53:08.1] TG: I’m looking here, I have that as the crisis. I have the climax if she decides to play the game in the second severing but ends up losing, and then the resolution is her brother saves her. I think we talked about that at some point because she was facing death at that point. If she had gotten beat in the severing, she would’ve died. Then I skipped the whole second half of the middle build.
[0:53:35.4] SC: I would go to the under the middle build. It’s after — The second severing is the moment when she ships from naïveté to uncertain cognitive dissonance. Remember, she freaks out in the severing and then — What’s his name? Randy comes and saves her.
It ends with her deeply in uncertainty. She doesn’t know what’s going to happen at the end of the middle build. In fact, she’s dead.
[0:54:13.0] TG: Into the middle is after the third severing.
[0:54:17.1] SC: What’s the crisis that — I think you still have the right crisis here, but the resolution is not that she ends up losing. She ends up dying. The climax is that she chooses to play the game straight. The resolution is she dies. Does that end negatively externally?
[0:54:43.5] TG: A little bit. All right. When she plays the game straight, does externally go positive?
[0:54:53.2] SC: When she plays the game straight, no, it goes negative. If she’s going to play it straight, she’s in deep danger. The more she plays this game, the greater the chances of her dying. As the architect of the story, she’s just this little character running around on top of your tabletop.
[0:55:16.4] TG: Then what’s happening if I’m looking now, she plays the game straight, so she’s been more danger but that means internally she shifted to where she’s caring about other people instead of just herself, so that’s a positive change. The resolution is she dies, which is externally bad, but internally she gave up herself to save other people. Is it a problem that all I’ve — Maybe we already discussed this with how my —
[0:55:48.8] SC: She doesn’t really die, by the way.
[0:55:52.1] TG: My line is extremely though, because I have a positive external at the beginning, the inciting incident and the beginning hook and all I’ve had is negative since.
[0:56:03.6] SC: Yes and no.
[0:56:05.2] TG: Okay.
[0:56:08.0] SC: Globally, your global look at your story, your Foolscap is going to looks smooth, because you are skipping over those jagged peaks and valleys scene to scene, right?
[0:56:22.6] TG: That’s where I compare it to the value shift column of the spreadsheet. I remember — I have it here, but my value shifts, my polarity shifts scene-by-scene in the middle build are pretty negative to positive for two scenes and a positive and a negative. Those are like jagged. The Foolscap, I’m moving.
[0:56:48.5] SC: You’re looking at it very globally. It’s like when you were talking about the financial advisor and they said if you look at your investments and you look at it globally, you see a nice little rise, right? But if you look at it — The more points of data you get, you get jagged. The spreadsheet gives you the jagged and your Foolscap gives you the smooth. Get it?
[0:57:13.3] TG: Yes. It’s okay that you’re smooth. In fact, you want to be smooth. Do you want to go through the charges for the climax?
[0:57:24.7] TG: Yeah, please.
[0:57:26.0] SC: She decides to play the game straight.
[0:57:29.7] TG: Yeah, we talked about that.
[0:57:30.9] SC: That’s a negative externally and a positive internally. What about the resolution? She goes to it —
[0:57:41.9] TG: Dies, so that’s negative.
[0:57:45.0] SC: Death like limbo. Externally, it’s a negative. Internally, it’s a positive.
[0:57:54.2] TG: Because she’s going to — Because she sacrificed herself.
[0:57:58.5] SC: Yes.
[0:58:01.1] TG: Okay. I feel she did move from unconsciousness to death and she did move from naïve to uncertainty.
[0:58:09.8] SC: Let me ask you this fun question. Where is the “all is lost” moment?
[0:58:17.0] TG: I’m cheating a little bit because you told me that a few weeks ago. It’s where she’s lost the second severing and she’s just sitting there waiting to die.
[0:58:26.2] SC: That’s right.
[0:58:27.1] TG: That’s when she realized she has zero control of what’s going on.
[0:58:30.6] SC: The All is Lost moment is when you have internal and external genres at play like you do. Your All is Lost moment is moment when —
[0:58:41.1] TG: The lines intersect.
[0:58:42.5] SC: Close, or the internal is at its lowest.
[0:58:47.6] TG: It’s always when they switch from — That’s when it crosses the line, so we’re not — She’s now moved from negative to positive internally but she’s over that line. That’s the all is lost moment.
[0:59:04.0] SC: No. That’s a good question.
[0:59:07.2] TG: What I’ve always seen — As I’ve learned story grid and then watched movies, it’s the moment where the protagonist or hero changes internally but still doesn’t get it. I’ve brought up the Family Man, that movie that we watch every Christmas where he finally realizes that the life he has now in this new world is better than his old life, but he still tries to go back and get his old life, because he still thinks he can get the best of both worlds. He’s still missing out on something.
He changed to where now he’s no longer selfish. From selfish to unselfish, but he still doesn’t fully get it until the end of the movie.
[0:59:55.6] SC: Right, he’s bargaining with his reality.
[0:59:56.9] TG: Yeah. That moment is where she finally realizes she has no control over what’s going on, but she still hasn’t fully gotten the full ramifications of what’s going on.
[1:00:11.2] SC: That’s right.
[1:00:14.7] TG: If you’re saying the X-Y axis, because she has to move from naïve, which is below, to uncertainty which is above. The moment she slips over the X axis from negative to positive is the All is Lost moment right in the middle of the middle build.
[1:00:14.7] SC: Right. When you can no longer sustain your worldview, you either have to go up or you just flat line.
[1:00:43.6] TG: Okay. Now, let’s do the ending payoff which has to move from death to damnation and uncertainty to maturation/sophistication.
[1:00:58.6] SC: Right. When I say death to damnation, it just has to bring in the realm of damnation. It doesn’t have to end on damnation. It has to progress to the point of confronting damnation. Get it? Because a thriller is not going to end on damnation because then it’s a bummer and nobody will enjoy it. The character flirts with damnation, unless it’s a story like Angel Heart which I published years ago which became a movie, it was called Fallen Angel and the character becomes damned at the end of the story. It’s a great ending.
[1:01:41.2] TG: Okay. Has to flirt — There’s a possibility of damnation.
[1:01:45.0] SC: Yes, exactly.
[1:01:47.3] TG: Really, the movement is death to damnation to life.
[1:01:53.3] SC: Yeah.
[1:01:53.2] TG: Okay.
[1:01:54.5] SC: That’s the double ending.
[1:01:56.4] TG: Okay, that I don’t have yet. The inciting incident I have, Randy is released from his prison to train the [inaudible 1:02:06.4].
[1:02:08.4] SC: Is that positive or negative externally for Jessie?
[1:02:12.4] TG: Positive. Externally, that’s negative. Again, Jessie thinks that’s positive but it’s actually negative.
[1:02:20.2] SC: Yes.
[1:02:21.1] TG: Okay.
[1:02:24.2] SC: Because who lives to make her a slave.
[1:02:26.8] TG: Right. Then, internally, since it gives her a brief feeling that naïve —
[1:02:34.7] SC: She’s going to discover the truth of her brother. That’s positive. She’s going to have to face. It’s like when that monster is released from the cage. You now have to fight the monster. You have no choice. He’s literally released from his cage. She thinks that’s a good thing because he’s a really smart scoundrel villain, but it’s actually going to threaten her life and her threaten her moral and ethical life too, her soul. He’s going to threaten her soul. It’s positive because she gets to defend her soul. She gets to mature and come into her own. She gets to express her gifts.
[1:03:24.9] TG: Again, if I’m going from Jessie’s point of view, it would be positive external and negative internal because she feels a little safer. Since I’m standing back and looking at it, I’m like, “This is bad for her, but it’s getting her one step closer to maturity. Okay.
[1:03:44.1] SC: You’re the parents.
[1:03:45.7] TG: Man! This is tough for me to see it from that point of view. I don’t know why. Complication — This is where knowledge is given to Jessie that changes her view of Randy. This is where — I forgot how I did it.
[1:04:04.9] SC: She discovers that Randy tried to have her body cremated when she knows that he knows that she can survive this stuff.
[1:04:11.0] TG: Right. Externally, if I’m looking at that, that’s a positive shift because it gets her closer to life, because now she sees that. Internally, that’s also positive.
[1:04:33.1] SC: Yeah. This is the moment when she seizes the day and she understand she’s no longer naïve. She can understand that somebody can seemingly be nice but also be a horrible bastard too. It’s like really nice people who are horrible, because all the really nice clerks at Auschwitz.
[1:05:04.5] TG: The crisis is best bad choice, or I have best bad choice. She can side with her brother or she can work against it.
[1:05:14.5] SC: Yeah, where it could be your reconcilable goods. It would be good for me to be number two under my brother, and I have so much power, but it would be bad for everybody else. What’s the climax?
[1:05:25.9] TG: She decides to circumvent Randy’s plan.
[1:05:29.4] SC: Externally, is that good for her or bad for her?
[1:05:33.6] TG: That’s bad for her.
[1:05:34.4] SC: So, it should be a negative.
[1:05:35.5] TG: Right. Because she’s going to die as a result. But it’s a positive because she’s sacrificing for the good of others. She’s making her more maturation.
[1:05:48.0] SC: That goes to your — to your controlling idea; Justice prevails when heroes recognize true family and sacrifice for them. This is literally the ending payoff.
[1:06:01.3] TG: Then, the resolution is that Jessie destroys the grid which externally — This is part of my problem that I realized is I did not make people’s life in the city as bad enough in the book, because it’s almost like she saved them from something that they didn’t want to be saved from or didn’t really need to be saved from, because they were kind of fun.
When she destroys the grid, externally —
[1:06:32.8] SC: This is why this is such a good thing to do, right? Because now you have to think about —
[1:06:40.5] TG: Because if life was actually — If I hadn’t made life really bad in the cities, destroying the grid — In the Matrix. Destroying the matrix is obviously good for humanity so they’re not trapped. Where in mind, they kind of like being trapped.
[1:07:01.2] SC: They don’t care who’s ruling.
[1:07:02.9] TG: They know they’re trapped and they don’t mind so much.
[1:07:06.7] SC: Right. If you kept it the way it is, thematically what you’re saying is that she, Jessie, comes to the realization after she’s crown queen at the end of the story. That the population really doesn’t care that she’s queen or not. There’s all kinds of ironies at play. She doesn’t feel comfortable being the leader, but now she is a leader. If you make it really cartooningly at the beginning, which could be a great choice, then it’s very clear that she has done a good thing for society. She’s pulled all of the yolks off of the proletarian — Now, everybody can have their own thoughts.
[1:08:03.0] TG: Which was what I wanted was I wanted the ending to be where people were freed from tyranny but down in a way where the tyranny kept them safe.
[1:08:17.1] SC: Right. There will be — This is like whatever happens — This is like what happened in Egypt during the era of Spring. There’s so much exaltation when they overthrew the leader. What’s his name? Mubark? Anyway, then after, they’re like, “Now, what do we do? There’s no one to hate anymore. How do we hold elections?”
Then it became very very strange and there is a rise of militant ISIS negative forces.
[1:08:54.6] TG: That’s what I’m going to do in the second book, is like —
[1:08:58.7] SC: You could end this with exaltation. She’s overthrown the bad negative forces and then you end it ironically where they turn to her and go, “Jessie, what are we going to do?”
[1:09:16.5] TG: Yeah. Maybe when she goes back home at the end, there’s a parade in her honor and people are like throwing flowers on the ground and then she gets to wherever she’s going and she walks in and that’s where they explained to her how bad everything is about to get. They say, “What are we going to do?” She’s like, “I don’t know.”
Everybody is praising her externally, but they don’t realize they are two weeks away from everything falling apart.
[1:09:42.7] SC: That’s maturation, by the way, is when you have the courage to say, “I don’t know.”
[1:09:50.5] TG: That’s the last line of the book.
[1:09:52.2] SC: I love it. I think it’s great.
[1:09:54.0] TG: Okay. Assuming I make that fixed, destroying the grid is a positive thing and it’s positive for her too. It’ll be double, positive external, positive external.
[1:10:09.6] SC: It is a positive-positive, but it’s also — It’s an ironic ending too, because the way you’re constructing it is that the resolution — The final resolution of the story is ironic. She’s caused a great positive thing that has massive negative undertones, which is an ironic ending, which pushes people into this sequel.
[1:10:32.8] TG: Okay.
[1:10:34.1] SC: That’s how your story structure to program a sequel into your storytelling. Is you don’t resolve all the conflicts at the very end of the story. You resolve a lot of them, enough that people are satisfied. They’ve gotten their big hero at the mercy of the villain scene. They’ve gotten a lot of action. They’re exhausted, but there’s the promise of future stories.
[1:11:02.0] TG: It’s like Star Wars where they destroyed the death star but not the empire.
[1:11:06.2] SC: Right.
[1:11:09.5] TG: I have my Foolscap. We have gotten through this. It only took us two hours. What’s next? What do I do with this, I guess? Do I do anything with this, or is this like — Do you had me do the spreadsheet, do the to-do-list, “Okay, set that aside. Now, let’s do the Foolscap.” Do we set this aside and go to the next thing and then look at them all at once later?
[1:11:34.6] SC: What you’re going to do with this is the first thing you’re going to do is go through your obligatory scenes and conventions on your Foolscap then go to your spreadsheet and pinpoint each scene that answers those questions; where are the red herrings? Where is the speech and prize of the villain? You’re going to make a note in each one of those scenes where those things are, and then you’re going to evaluate whether they’re good enough. Is this clear? Is this hero at the mercy of the villain scene clear? Could it be better? How could I make it better? Did I put in this? Are there clues?
Then you’re going through your beginning hook, your middle build and your ending payoff and you’re going to through each of those scenes that you pinpoint here where you have the big complication scene. How I can reinforce this scene so that it’s very clear that this is a huge scene? Can I amp up what’s going on here?
[1:12:44.0] TG: Right, because one of the things we talked about when we’re going over the controlling idea theme is since the theme is justice prevails when heroes recognize true family and sacrifice for them, and then that was what we brought out of what I originally wrote was true family is not blood, is those that are there for you in your toughest times and you must be willing to sacrifice everything for them.
That means, early on, I was like, “Hey, that means in these early scenes, I need to really amp up the fact that her dad is not trustworthy and her mom is not going to take care of her, because that’s my controlling theme. Every time I get a chance to take that from a five to an eight, or a seven to a 10, I need to take that opportunity.
[1:13:23.6] SC: Exactly. You make notes in your big global note.
[1:13:27.0] TG: Yeah, my giant to-do-list.
[1:13:30.5] SC: After you do these big big moments —
[1:13:33.8] TG: I take this Foolscap to basically add to my to-do-list that I created in my scene-by-scene take. Okay. I can work on that.
[1:13:46.9] SC: Yes. Then I always jump like another stage later, but the next stage is similar to what we’ve done with the spreadsheet and with the Foolscap and that’s to look at the hero’s journey. What you’re going to do is use the 10 to 12 major movements of the hero’s journey and check your manuscript and make sure that you have — I’m talking about things like; have you established the call to adventure? Have you established the gatekeepers? Have you established trials and tribulations? Have you established the extraordinary world?
I think because we talk so much about it throughout the process, a lot of that stuff you have already baked into the story — There’s a point where the hero has to figuratively die. Yeah, you literally have your one dying. That shouldn’t be such a — We’ll go through that next week. We’ll go through the hero’s journey checklist, and then you’ll go back to your spreadsheet and you’ll highlight each of the scenes that abide the hero’s journey checklist. Then, after that, we will do the graph.
[1:15:10.1] TG: Okay. Sounds good.
[END OF EPISODE]
[1:15:10.8] TG: Thanks for listening to this episode of The Story Grid Podcast. For everything Story Grid related, check out storygrid.com. Make sure you pick up a copy of the book and sign up for the newsletter so you don’t miss anything happening in the Story Grid universe. If you’d like to check out the show notes for this episode or any past episodes, all of that can be found at storygrid.com/podcast. If you would like to reach out to us, you can find us on Twitter @storygrid. Lastly, if you would like to support the show, you can do that by telling another author about the show and by visiting us on iTunes and leaving a rating and review.
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