“Was there some fundamental want or need that human beings desired or required to survive a hostile environment? And could that want or need be fulfilled by simply following the behavioral prescriptions inherent in a compelling story?” – Shawn Coyne, Why Love Rules
Source: What It Takes: Why Love Rules
In the first of six guest posts about Love Story in Steven Pressfield’s blog series, What It Takes on stevenpressfield.com, Shawn Coyne introduces the use of genre as the lens through which to view the writer’s craft of Storytelling. His method is both enlightening and accessible, a powerful tool to guide any writer, editor or, in my case, audiobook narrator in delivering compelling Stories, Stories that “work.”
The building blocks that make Story work vary from genre to genre.
Shawn Coyne is an editor, literary agent, co-writer, and ghostwriter with twenty-five years experience, including the Big Five publishing houses, independent publishing, and Hollywood.
In this series of guest posts, he examines the craft of telling Love Story from the primordial ooze of human emotional need to the themes, conventions, and obligatory scenes that define the Love Story genre, make us feel its special magic, and keeps us coming back for more. This is not simply a breakdown of the modern Romance novel, but rather a close examination of the functional elements of any Story that “concerns romantic love, which is love with the possibility of sex.” That is Love Story and its three sub-genres, Obsession, Courtship, and Marriage.
Shawn Coyne’s book, The Story Grid, is his contribution to the editing craft, for which there is no course of study, no degree, no training ground beyond apprenticeship. In it, he shares his deep knowledge of the building blocks of Story and how to break a Story down into all of the functional elements that make it “work”.
As an audiobook narrator, I have begun using The Story Grid to analyze the Story before recording it. This helps give me a more intimate connection to the Story and an awareness of how the author uses their building blocks to construct the Story and convey its controlling idea (theme). I want to understand how and why the author’s execution of the building blocks makes their Story work. My goal is to tell the Story that the author intended for the reader to the listener, to faithfully tell the story that was written for the eye in a way that is most satisfying for the ear.
What Are Love Stories For? By Shawn Coyne
What I Mean by Love Story By Shawn Coyne
Love Story Cheat Sheet / Controlling Idea By Shawn Coyne
Love Story Cheat Sheet / Obligatory Scenes By Shawn Coyne
Love Story Cheat Sheet / Conventions By Shawn Coyne