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In the Writers’ Room this week, Valerie and Leslie find out whodunit and how in the Core Event of The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie. The 1942 Cozy Mystery features a classic "summation gathering" scene when Miss Jane Marple reveals how she discovered the killer’s identity. We're focusing on scenes this season because scenes are the basic b…
 
In the Writers’ Room this week, Valerie and Leslie look at internal conflict and character revelation in a Turning Point scene of Sue Monk Kidd’s 2002 Worldview Story, The Secret Life of Bees. See how quiet moments can lead to scenes with big impact. We're focusing on scenes this season because scenes are the basic building blocks of story. To be a…
 
In the Writers’ Room this week, Valerie and Leslie unpack the many points of conflict from different perspectives in the Core Event of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. The 2015 Psychological Thriller culminates in an extended Hero at the Mercy of the Villain scene that features a “Tug of War” where life hangs in the balance. Learn about unre…
 
In the Writers’ Room this week, we listen closely to the “I Have a Voice” scene in the 2010 film The King’s Speech. The Oscar-winning story was directed by Tom Hooper from a screenplay by David Seidler. The scene in the spotlight today delivers the middle build climax of this Performance Story by “poking the bear.” But that’s not all it does. Don’t…
 
We slide into the Revolution Scene in the Writers’ Room this week as we analyze the 1911 novella Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. We look at the difference between cautionary and tragic tales and discuss what The Hunger Games and The Accidental Tourist have in common with Ethan Frome. This season we're analyzing scenes from novels, short stories and f…
 
This week we face the Hero at the Mercy of the Villain in the Writers’ Room as we analyze the core event of the 2005 novel Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling. But that’s not all! In addition to analyzing this excellent example of a “chase scene” in an Action Story, we discuss set pieces, emotional connections, and how to hide a …
 
It’s time for the Big Showdown in the Writers’ Room this week as we analyze the 1953 short story “3:10 to Yuma” by Elmore Leonard. This season we analyze a scene from a novel, short story or film because scenes are the basic building blocks of story. To be able to write a story that works, you must be able to write a scene that works. Click here fo…
 
It’s the Big Choice plus perspective in the Writers’ Room this week as we analyze the 1961 short story “ I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olsen. Each week this season, we'll analyze a scene from a novel, short story or film because scenes are the basic building blocks of stories. To write a story that works, you must be able to write a scene that wo…
 
It’s the victim at the mercy of the monster this time as Valerie and Leslie analyze the 1843 Horror story “The Tell Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe. This season we're analyze a scene from novels, short stories and films because scenes are the basic building blocks of story. To be able to write a story that works, you must be able to write a scene th…
 
What makes a great lovers meet scene? Find out when Valerie and Leslie analyze the turkey curry buffet scene in Bridget Jones’s Diary, the 1996 Love Story by Helen Fielding. This season we analyze scenes from novels, short stories and films because scenes are the basic building blocks of story. To be able to write a story that works, you must be ab…
 
In this episode, Story Grid editors Valerie Francis and Leslie Watts introduce the new Story Grid Writers’ Room. Each week this season, we analyze a scene or short story to get to the bottom of how to write scenes because to write a story that works, you must be able to write scenes that work. Click here for the full show notes.…
 
It’s 30 minutes of deep insight as Valerie Francis and Leslie Watts bring you a bite-size episode on analyzing a scene, with an example from Marriage Story. Here on the Roundtable we're dedicated to helping you become a better writer, following the Story Grid method developed by Shawn Coyne. In these episodes we bring you some shorter solo articles…
 
Gaze into the pensieve to learn the secrets of point of view and narrative device in the 2005 novel by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The Roundtablers also discuss the 2009 film of the same name, directed by David Yates from the screenplay by Steve Kloves. Each week one of the Roundtable team—Valerie Francis, Kim Kessler, or …
 
Uncover the secret to integrating framing stories with The Imitation Game. The 2014 film was directed by Morten Tyldum from the Oscar-winning screenplay by Graham Moore. It’s based on the 1983 biography Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges. Each week one of the Roundtable team—Valerie Francis, Kim Kessler, or Leslie Watts—aims to get to the bot…
 
Core events, mini-plots, and nested stories are on the menu this week as the Roundtablers analyze the 1991 film Fried Green Tomatoes, directed by Jon Avnet from a screenplay by Fannie Flagg and Carol Sobieski, based on Flagg’s 1987 novel, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. Each week one of the Roundtable team—Valerie Francis, Kim Kessle…
 
Gain a new perspective on history and point of view as the Roundtablers analyze E. L. Doctorow’s 1975 novel Ragtime. The 1981 film based on the novel was directed by Miloš Forman from a screenplay by Michael Weller and Bo Goldman. Each week one of the Roundtable team—Valerie Francis, Kim Kessler, or Leslie Watts—aims to get to the bottom of a speci…
 
Make your way from coast to coast and from beginning to end as Valerie takes us through the three-act structure of Noah Baumbach’s 2019 film, Marriage Story. Each week one of the Roundtable team—Valerie Francis, Kim Kessler, or Leslie Watts—aims to get to the bottom of a specific story principle by analyzing a film, novel, or short story. The rest …
 
Warm up and get your dancing shoes on for the Core Event of Center Stage. This 2000 Performance genre film was directed by Nicholas Hytner from a screenplay by Carol Heikkinen. Each week one of the Roundtable team—Valerie Francis, Kim Kessler, or Leslie Watts—aims to get to the bottom of a specific story principle by analyzing a film, novel, or sho…
 
It’s 20 minutes of insight this time as Kim Kessler chats with Anne Hawley about the power of past and present. Here on the Roundtable we're dedicated to helping you become a better writer, following the Story Grid method developed by Shawn Coyne. In these episodes we bring you some shorter solo articles and interviews on topics that interest us as…
 
This week the Roundtablers look to The Great Gatsby, the 1925 novel of disillusionment in love by F. Scott Fitzgerald, to find out why the story endures. The team also examines the 2013 film adaptation directed by Baz Luhrmann from a screenplay by Luhrmann and Craig Pearce. Each week one of the Roundtable team—Valerie Francis, Kim Kessler, or Lesli…
 
This week, Valerie drives home the importance of a compelling middle build in the context of the film Baby Driver. Don’t get away without hearing the Roundtablers’ take on this 2017 film written and directed by Edgar Wright. Each week one of the Roundtable team—Valerie Francis, Kim Kessler, or Leslie Watts—aims to get to the bottom of a specific st…
 
It’s manners and mores this week as the Roundtable team examines the 1992 film adaptation of E. M. Forster’s 1910 novel Howards End. The adaptation was written by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and directed by James Ivory. Each week one of the Roundtable team—Valerie Francis, Kim Kessler, or Leslie Watts—aims to get to the bottom of a specific story principl…
 
Here’s a preview of what the Roundtablers are getting ready to bring you in Season 7. Listen as Kim, Valerie, and Leslie each reveal their Season 7 focus and their first story pick. Each week one of the Roundtable team—Valerie Francis, Kim Kessler, or Leslie Watts—aims to get to the bottom of a specific story principle by analyzing a film, novel, o…
 
It’s 30 minutes of insight this time as Leslie Watts and Shelley Sperry bring you a bite-size episode on Big Idea Nonfiction. Welcome to the Bite Size Edition of the Editor Roundtable Podcast. Here on the Roundtable we're dedicated to helping you become a better writer, following the Story Grid method developed by Shawn Coyne. In these episodes we …
 
It’s 20 minutes of insight this time as Kim Kessler and Anne Hawley bring you a bite-size episode on the power of past and present with stories that include dual timelines, onstage events in the present and the past that, together, to create a rich global story arc. Here on the Story Grid Editor Roundtable we're dedicated to helping you become a be…
 
It’s 20 minutes of deep insight this time as Valerie Francis and Shawn Coyne bring you a bite-size episode on short stories. Welcome to the Bite Size Edition of the Editor Roundtable Podcast. Here on the Roundtable we're dedicated to helping you become a better writer, following the Story Grid method developed by Shawn Coyne. In these episodes we b…
 
It’s 20 minutes of insight this time as Valerie Francis and Leslie Watts bring you a bite-size episode on Big Idea Nonfiction. Welcome to the Bite Size Edition of the Editor Roundtable Podcast. Here on the Roundtable we're dedicated to helping you become a better writer, following the Story Grid method developed by Shawn Coyne. In these episodes we…
 
We journey to the riot-torn streets of Kano, Nigeria this week as we analyze Anne’s short story pick, “A Private Experience,” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Each week one of the Roundtable team—Valerie Francis, Anne Hawley, Kim Kessler, or Leslie Watts—aims to get to the bottom of a specific story principle by analyzing a film, novel, or short story.…
 
The Roundtablers try to figure out what’s good storytelling and what’s just Robin Williams this week as Valerie pitches the 1993 comedy Mrs. Doubtfire in her quest to understand how society itself acts as a force of antagonism. The film was directed by Chris Columbus from a script by Randi Mayem Singer and Leslie Dixon, and based on the 1987 middle…
 
In a rare convergence of taste, all four Roundtablers loved this week’s story, Brooklyn, and derived masses of actionable story advice from it. This 2015 film was directed by James Crowley from a screenplay that Nick Hornby adapted from Colm Tóibín’s 2008 novel of the same name. Each week one of the Roundtable team—Valerie Francis, Anne Hawley, Kim…
 
The Roundtablers find more cloud than silver lining in this week’s entry, as Kim looks at establishing life values in your opening scenes with Silver Linings Playbook, both the 2008 novel by Matthew Quick and its 2012 film adaptation by David O. Russell. Each week one of the Roundtable team—Valerie Francis, Anne Hawley, Kim Kessler, or Leslie Watts…
 
It’s wet, it’s wild, and it’s decadent this week as Leslie leads the Roundtablers through Kelly Robson’s Nebula-award-nominated novella, “Waters of Versailles,” a status story with a fantasy historical setting in the French court of the 18th century. Each week one of the Roundtable team—Valerie Francis, Anne Hawley, Kim Kessler, or Leslie Watts—aim…
 
Anne's short story choice this week might be a little too short. Join the Roundtablers as they hash out the issue with Elizabeth Gilbert's famously reduced "Pilgrims" (1993). Each week one of the Roundtable team—Valerie Francis, Anne Hawley, Kim Kessler, or Leslie Watts—aims to get to the bottom of a specific story principle by analyzing a film, no…
 
It’s 20 minutes of insight this time as Valerie Francis and Leslie Watts bring you a bite-size episode on character development. Here on the Roundtable we're dedicated to helping you become a better writer, following the Story Grid method developed by Shawn Coyne. In these episodes we bring you some shorter solo articles and interviews on topics th…
 
Valerie leads the team into the dystopian future of 2019 to examine the forces of antagonism in Ridley Scott’s 1982 science fiction noir classic, Blade Runner. Loosely adapted from Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the screenplay was written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples. Each week one of the Roundtable team—V…
 
It’s 20 minutes of deep insight this time as Anne brings you a bite-size episode on how, after writing for five decades, she has finally learned to write. Here on the Story Grid Editor Roundtable we're dedicated to helping you become a better writer, following the Story Grid method developed by Shawn Coyne. In these episodes we bring you some short…
 
It’s 20 minutes of deep insight this time as Valerie Francis and Leslie Watts bring you a bite-size episode on why you need a masterwork. Here on the Roundtable we're dedicated to helping you become a better writer, following the Story Grid method developed by Shawn Coyne. In these episodes we bring you some shorter solo articles and interviews on …
 
It’s 20 minutes of deep insight this time as Valerie Francis and Leslie Watts bring you a bite-size episode all about the progressive complications and escalating stakes of Whiplash. Here on the Roundtable we're dedicated to helping you become a better writer, following the Story Grid method developed by Shawn Coyne. In these bite size episodes we …
 
It’s 20 minutes of deep insight this time as Valerie Francis and Leslie Watts bring you a bite-size episode on how to analyze a scene. Here on the Roundtable we're dedicated to helping you become a better writer, following the Story Grid method developed by Shawn Coyne. In these episodes we bring you some shorter solo articles and interviews on top…
 
It’s another wintry story this week as Leslie continues her exploration of POV and narrative device in Alice Munro’s 1999 short story “The Bear Came Over the Mountain,” and Away From Her, the 2006 Sarah Polley film adapted from it. Each week one of the Roundtable team—Valerie Francis, Anne Hawley, Kim Kessler, or Leslie Watts—aims to get to the bot…
 
The Roundtablers take on a whole new question this week as Anne starts her study of how modern short stories work. We analyze Arna Bontemps Hemenway’s 5200-word tale of love and war, “Wolves of Karelia,” published in August, 2019 in The Atlantic. Each week one of the Roundtable team—Valerie Francis, Anne Hawley, Kim Kessler, or Leslie Watts—aims to…
 
Valerie bangs the drum this week for the importance of powerful forces of antagonism as the Roundtablers examine 2014’s Whiplash, written and directed by Damien Chazelle. Each week one of the Roundtable team—Valerie Francis, Anne Hawley, Kim Kessler, or Leslie Watts—aims to get to the bottom of a specific story principle by analyzing a film, novel,…
 
This week, Kim takes a close look at The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, in order to study how a story’s life values are established in the beginning hook. This 2018 film was directed by Mike Newell from a screenplay by Don Roos, Tom Bezucha, and Kevin Hood. It was based on the 2008 novel of the same name by Mary Ann Shaffer and Anni…
 
It’s a wonderful look at Point of View and Narrative Device this week, as Leslie opens Season 6 of the podcast with It’s a Wonderful Life. This 1946 perennial holiday favorite was directed by Frank Capra, and written by Francis Goodrich, Albert Hackett, and Frank Capra. The screenplay was based on the short story “The Greatest Gift,” originally pub…
 
Here’s a preview of the winning hand of stories the Roundtablers are getting ready to bring you in Season 6. Join us for Episode 0, when the team bids farewell to Jarie, and Anne, Kim, Valerie, and Leslie each reveal their first movie of the season. They’ll talk about why they chose it and how their Season 6 focus will help them in their own writin…
 
It’s 20 minutes of deep insight this time as Kim Kessler brings you a bite-size episode on the truth behind Conventions and Obligatory Scenes. Welcome to the Bite Size Edition of the Editor Roundtable Podcast. Here on the Roundtable we're dedicated to helping you become a better writer, following the Story Grid method developed by Shawn Coyne. In t…
 
It’s 20 minutes of deep insight this time as Leslie Watts brings you a bite-size episode on how to choose your point of view. Welcome to the Bite Size Edition of the Editor Roundtable Podcast. Here on the Roundtable we're dedicated to helping you become a better writer, following the Story Grid method developed by Shawn Coyne. In these episodes we …
 
It’s 20 minutes of chat and fun this time as Kim Kessler and new Story Grid Certified Editor Danielle Kiowski bring you a bite-size episode on what it’s like to become an editor. Welcome to the Bite Size Edition of the Editor Roundtable Podcast. Here on the Roundtable we're dedicated to helping you become a better writer, following the Story Grid m…
 
It’s 20 minutes of deep insight as Valerie Francis brings you a bite-size episode on the Beginning, Middle and End of a story. Here on the Story Grid Editor Roundtable Podcast we're dedicated to helping you become a better writer, following the Story Grid method developed by Shawn Coyne. In these episodes we bring you some shorter solo articles and…
 
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