We are all Storytellers

I’ve been a storyteller since I was a kid (perhaps “embellisher of truth” is a more accurate description). We had a stand-up Show & Tell in 2nd grade and, well, I was always a Teller.

I would regale my classmates with tales of my adventures on my grandparents’ farm – the soft noses of horses when I fed them apples, my toes nibbled by catfish as I swam in the pond, watching the pumpkins in the patch grow larger by the day.

The thing was, you see, my grandparents didn’t actually live on a farm. They lived in a station house in New Jersey, close to New York City and a long way from the countryside.

But what if they did?

What if?

(I live by those words.)

I made stories out of spelling lists, and spun elaborate scenarios when I played make believe with my friends. As I grew older I filled notebook after notebook with stories. Mostly horse stories at first, but then adventure stories inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia and Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave. I devoured a box of old Conan paperbacks, and visited worlds beyond those when I discovered Heinlein and Asmiov.

Well, that was it. I was absolutely hooked on fantasy and sci-fi.

Later, I was a masterful DM. Almost every weekend for four years I ran a drop-in D&D game with a motley cast of regulars who loved the stories I made up for them.

And I continued to write. Stories flowed from my fingers like a river in the spring. Notebooks turned into computer files and I continued to write. It was my favorite distraction in grad school, and my inspiration seem to run highest when I had a research paper due.

My stories were rich and full of exotic characters and worlds. My friends (even some of my professors) said I wrote well.

Writing fiction was always a hobby for me. An escape from the mundane responsibilities of school, work and, later, family. But as much fun as it was for me, my stories never seemed to roll as well as the stuff I read. Something was missing.

A few years ago, I decided to change that. I started picking apart plots in my favorite paperbacks, seeking the specifics of storylines in movies that sucked me in. I already knew about the Hero’s Journey, and was a huge fan of Joseph Campbell from college anthro classes. I learned about POV, and Swain’s scene and sequel. I created a table that compared different plot structures from a variety of sources (you can find that over in my blog).

Then my writing world changed forever.

I read The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield AND discovered The Story Grid Podcast within weeks of each other.

Mind. Blown.

I followed the Story Grid podcast as East Coast publishing house editor Shawn Coyne led aspiring writer Tim Grahl on a journey from “wouldn’t it be cool–” to scenes that turned and a plot that worked.

Best part about it, they told me how.

And it was simple.

Not easy, mind you. But simple. Pressfield told me what I already knew about the forces of Resistance and why, unless I fought them with everything I had, my writing would always be just a hobby. That’s the hard part. Things didn’t change for me until I faced up to Resistance, knew it for what it was, and determined to fight back..

I decided to “go pro.”

And then, as if those were magic words (they actually are, you know), the Story Grid Editor Certification Program showed up in my inbox.

TL:DR I went to Nashville in September 2017 where I met not only Shawn and Tim (who are as amazing and knowledgeable in person as on their podcast) but 19 other writers drawn by the same call.

I knew from the very first day of that week-long workshop, that this was something Big. It was exciting and scary and amazing, and I learned so much! Not only about improving my own writing, but how to help others make their stories better, too.

Because Story Grid works.

It’s made a difference in my stories. I’m revising the draft of an early novel using what I’ve learned about plot and story, and I’m pretty happy with how it’s going.

I’m so lucky to be a Story Grid Editor, part of an amazing group of people as crazy about story and plot and writing as I am.

I’ve learned about Story Grid directly from its creator. I’ve been coached on how to share the Story Grid method by a successful entrepreneur. And I’m part of an active and engaged group of Story Grid editors always eager to share ideas and help each other out.

I’d love to hear about your writer’s journey. If you’d like to talk story with me,  you can schedule a half-hour call with me. It’s free.  No catch. I won’t try to sell you anything, because everything you need to know about the Story Grid method is already free for the taking on the website and in the podcast.

Tell me what I can do to help you along your own path.

I look forward to meeting you!

 

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