At the beginning of March I posted about my intent to edit my latest book using The Story Grid. I’m finished with the initial pass at it, so updating my progress.

The first step was supposed to be easy, with estimated completion in 1-3 days. I started summarizing each of the 38 scenes in the book on a Saturday morning, intending to be done Sunday evening. I was on pace to get done within that time frame, but I forgot about a family event and missed my target. Because of work, I didn’t complete this task until the following weekend. As a result, this 1-3 day milestone did get completed until the 9th day.

I needed to make up ground on the next part of process. This process was more involved, looking again at each scene and identifying the main character’s value shifts, polarity shift and the point in the scene where the change occurs. (The post linked in the first paragraph includes more detail.)

This step was estimated to take a couple of weeks, but I buckled down and completed it in four days, putting me a few days ahead of schedule.


The final step is to graph out the values/shifts for every scene in the book for the internal and external story values. The image at the top of this post is what mine looks like.

I came away with two takeaways from going through this process:

  1. I need to lengthen my beginning hook and climax, shortening the middle build. I’ve planned out some additional scenes and information to add in order to help with this. I need to cut 10-15,000 words from the entire book – doing this will help some, but I’ll still need to be adding material at the beginning and end to get the length of each section closer to standard.
  2. In the book’s middle build, I need to make things harder on my main character – sorry dude, things are gonna get tough.

I’m planning to go through the scene word counts after each round of revisions to show where more adding/cutting is needed to come closer to the 25/50/25 standard percentages for opening hook/middle build/climax. I probably won’t produce another story grid until much further along in the process.

I’ll be glad to try to answer any questions, but I highly recommend reading the book as well as the online resources Shawn Coyne has made available. I’ll try to post again after the process is done to let you know if I found it worthwhile.